Warning signs were everywhere | VailDaily.com

Warning signs were everywhere

It was the kind of thing that happens to other people, not me.

I’m lucky enough to sit comfortably on the sidelines most of the time, watching sad and unfortunate events for others unfold before me with distressing regularity. But as they do not affect me directly, I relegate the sights to one of pity and compassion.

“Better him than me,” I have somewhat sheepishly admitted behind closed country club doors on more than one occasion.

But not this time.

Nope, this was different.

After almost 25 years of escaping the inevitable, I was forced to accept the reality that not only COULD it happen, but it actually DID happen, and way beyond the shadow of any doubt, it happened to me.

Yes, I actually signed up for golf lessons. Two and a half decades of swinging, cussing, adjusting, swinging again, cussing some more, adjusting some more and, well, as you can clearly see, I needed help.

I showed up 10 minutes early for my first lesson one day last week in order to impress my bought and paid for “Golf Pro,” who raised his head between practice swings, looked in my general direction, and said, “You should have been here 20 minutes ago to get warmed up.”


After smashing a 7 iron for 200 or so yards, presumably for my personal benefit, he then asked me to do a few practice swings with my wedge to show him what I have developed over a 25-year hacking career of divot digging.

I instead offered to pass along my skills learned for the ancient Scottish art of ball searching.

He didn’t laugh.Beginning with my well-rehearsed stance, ball placement and grip, I proceeded to whack a few of those little white puppies straight down the line, pausing only to snicker at my obvious lack of need of instruction for that particular club. I looked up to see a very serious face attached to a well-shaven head that was traversing slowly from left to right and back again in unbearable repetition.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk” was all I heard for what seemed like 10 minutes of cricket chirping and otherwise total silence.

“Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is wrong, wrong, wrong.”

Okey-dokey, so this is why I was here. I could accept that.

I also had to admit that making different adjustments for every single shot and every single club under every single circumstance did indeed promote more constant adapting than Vail merchants have excuses for lower sales figures.

So, maybe he was right, but I felt obligated nonetheless to at least feebly attempt to explain myself.

“But …”

“No buts! Just shut up and listen.”

Well, there was certainly no argument over who was in charge, now was there?

“Me customer, you hired gun.”

My word play on “me Tarzan, you Jane” was trying to establish some sort of repartee worthy of the situation. After all, we’re all friends here, right?

“Me Golf Pro, you dorky little middle-aged white boy with bad haircut swinging big stick at little ball like girlie-man.”

Call me short and sarcastic, but don’t call me stupid. I knew when to shut up.

After a few more swings with a few different clubs, accomplishing little more than new ways to verbally outwit one another, we finally reached the point where all golf instruction should really start.

“This,” he said holding up a brand new, shiny Nike, “is a golf ball. The object of this game is to S”

And thus the real lesson began.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net

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