Saturday, April 21, 2018

Chapter 22 of Bad Golf Made Easy and/or Funner - Singular Achievements and Shooting Your Age

22) Singular Achievements and Shooting Your Age

Speaking of singular achievements, good golfers can chase a hole-in-one their entire golfing life and not get one. It took me about 55 years to get one. My regular playing partners have at least 7 among them which irritates me to no end. One got two in the same week on two different continents. I see stories about 10-year-old kids getting one on the first round of their lives. I want to hunt them down and run them over with a golf cart. I’ve seen ugly holes-in-one where players mishit their shots and roll and bounce the ball onto the green and it somehow hits the pin and drops in the hole. The mother of a former girlfriend did that. I think I missed the green with my shot I was so rattled. Holes-in-one are most often gotten on par 3 holes. But holes-in-one have been recorded on par 4 holes and even par 5 holes. A hole-in-one on a par 5 hole is called a condor, and as you might imagine is quite rare and almost always involves cutting the corners of a dogleg over trees to accomplish. A great deal of skill is required for any of these, as well as considerable blind luck. By the way, for a many years the world record length for a straight-line hole-in-one was from Omaha, Ne at Miracle Hills Golf Course: it was hit by Robert Mitera on October 7, 1965, at the Miracle Hills Golf Club in Omaha, Nebraska. Mitera used his driver to ace the 10th hole from 444 yards! Mitera couldn't even see the flag from where he teed off. He only realized he'd aced the hole when he arrived at the green and another golfer told him his ball was in the hole. According to Golf Today’s web page, “a condor was scored without cutting over a dogleg by Mike Crean at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver, Colorado, in 2002, when he holed his drive at the 517 yard par-5 9th.” This is longest straight line hole-in-one on record now and was aided by the altitude and thin air of 'mile-high' Denver.

A double-eagle is also a quite rare bird, called an albatross. That’s a 2 on a par 5 hole. The odds are about 6 million to one on that. Unlike Samuel Taylor Coleridge's “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” in which shooting an albatross leads to great misfortune, the one I shot lead to no misfortune, and in fact, I won a couple of bucks on it. I shot my albatross years ago at Benson Golf Course in Omaha, the par 5 11th hole, using a 3 wood and 7 iron. I must have hit the ball much farther back then. I knew I hit a good second shot but didn’t see it go in because of sun’s glare off the brown, shiny grass. As I approached the green, I mentioned to my playing partners that I had hit a good shot but that I couldn’t see it anywhere. “It was going right at it,” I said. One of my playing partners, Ray, I think, checked the hole, and there it was. When we play that same hole, I will often ask my playing partners who were with me that day if I ever told them the story of that shot. I think I’ve asked them that at least a hundred times since then. They never tire of it, I’m sure.

Shooting your age is another rare feat. One internet golf site says the odds are 1 in a million which is about six times more likely than the double-eagle. Only the best golfers in their primes can shoot a 68, for example, and that is usually in their younger years. For a 68-year-old to shoot a 68 is quite an accomplishment. It’s all about where physical golf skill and actuarial tables intersect on a line graph. For example, a score of 130 is very achievable by even the average duffer, but living to be 130 in order to do that is not nearly as easy. Virtually any old 160 old grandmother in good physical condition could do it. Ages 72-80 seem to be the most likely range of the intersection of good health and good scoring for a good golfer.

According to an internet golf records site, a guy named Bob Hamilton, the 1944 PGA Championship winner, shot his age of 59 at Hamilton Golf Club in Evansville, Ind., in 1975. “The oldest golfer to shoot his age was 103-year-old Arthur Thompson of Victoria, British Columbia. Thompson was playing the Uplands Golf Club in Victoria when he accomplished the feat in 1972.” And finally, T. Edison Smith, of Moorhead, Minnesota, shot his age an amazing 3,359 times before dying at the age of 98 in 2012. He apparently golfed a lot.
I’ve shot my friend’s age with a 71 last year, but I was 66, and it was my friend who was 71, so it didn’t really count. I’ve shot the temperature many times before on 75 or 80 degree days. The best score I ever had on a full-sized 18 hole course was a 67. I am now 67. Therefore, shooting my age now seems a possibility. I will sometimes play the senior tees which would seem to be my best chance to do this in the next few years. I figure I’ve probably got maybe 10 to 20 years years to accomplish this depending on mortality factors. My dad lived to be 89.

The most important elements in this probability equation is play lots of golf and don’t die.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The late afternoon of my life

I was writing an email about availability for an event and observed the difference between "afternoon" and "after noon." The former suggests a several hour block of time, and the latter suggests a point in time after which I'm available with no limit on the availability, that is, no end time. "Afternoon" ends at 6 pm. "After noon" never ends unless one suggests an expiration date of twenty-four hours when the nuances start all over again. And then I contemplated whether there is a difference between "anytime" and "any time." Again, there does seem to be a difference with the latter being a more specific point in time. The first seems to emphasize "any" and the second seems to emphasize "time."

In speech, though, it seems these nuances would be more difficult to interpret in that there is perhaps only the slightest difference in accent, or timing, or breaks between each word, or slightly longer puffs of air after the "t" in "time." And since both "r" and "n" are voiced in both "afternoon" and "after noon," they glide into each other continuously with no break. Further, we'd probably say "I'm available after noon" and "I'm available in the afternoon" reinforcing the difference in meaning. However, "I'm available any time" or "I'm available anytime" are written the same and sound nearly the same with just an ever-so-slightly stronger "t" on the "any time."

It should be noted that the one word formulation, "anytime," does not appear in English until the 1926 in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, according to Grammarist, and is used as an adverb and cannot be used with a preposition like "at," so "at any time" would be required, according to Grammarly. "Anytime" does appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, but the earliest noted usage was 1932 in a William Faulkner novel, Light in August, xv., 341 - "If you want to get to Jefferson anytime soon, you'd better go to town and hire a car." "Afternoon" and "after noon" both appear in the OED with their first written usage dating from the 1330s although standardized spelling was a later development. "Afternoon" also has metaphoric associations - "I am in the late afternoon of my life."

“Anymore” and “any more” is another interesting pair. In the latter “any” is an adjective modifying “more.” “Anymore” is an adverb, and first appeared in the 14th century, as in “I don’t like you anymore.” If you said, “I don’t like you any more,” a possible conclusion is you don’t like me any less either. It’s is rather neutral and it might very well be that you still like me. However, if you say, “I don’t like you anymore,” that’s the kiss of death. You have lost a friend. That translates to “I don’t like you at all now.”
In written English, the space between the words, or lack of space, determines which is the intended meaning. In spoken English, it is a combination of context and accent. If I ask you, “Do you like me any less?” and you say “I don’t like you any more” the context suggests you still like me but I’d better not push my luck. If you say “I don’t like you anymore,” the “a” is accented heavier than the “m.” If you say “any more,” then there seems to be a stronger accent on the “m.” Yogi Berra is famous for saying, “It’s too crowded; nobody goes there anymore.” I’m going to dig more into this sometime when I have some time.