Ass-hole in One: A Golf Story
By Craig Casaletto
Sometimes life lessons come from the most unlikely places. For me that place was golf. For those who have no interest or knowledge of the game.. it seems very simple in premise….hitting a small (not moving) white ball with a stick into a small hole.But I can assure you that this “simple” game is fucking humbling.
I am not sure exactly how I got into the game, but i’m pretty sure it had something to do with hanging with the fellas and drinking beer. Just like with anything, the more you do something, you either get better or you just get addicted, sometimes both. When I started playing, no one told me what to expect, so naturally I thought the more I played the better I would get…wrong. If I bought better clubs…I would hit the ball straighter and farther…wrong.
I figured that practice makes perfect…so I went to the range and slowly became a driving range super hero. I couldn’t fail.. on the range I could hit a Bona Mop off the tee 200 yards. But for whatever reason, as soon as I got my ass back to the course, I lost my shit. Couldn’t hit a thing, ball, after lost damn ball.
I remember this elderly guy I once played with who drove to the first tee with his Handicap flag, American flag and New York Giants flag attached to his cart, smoking a cigar, while eating a hot dog. He out drove me by a solid 80 yards.Im not sure he was going to survive the round, but he could tell everyone, before he passed, that he kicked my ass.
Then there was my biggest pet peeve, the pretentious “I’m serious about this game” golfer guy. This guy arrived at the course dressed like a pro, with the best clubs in his bag and an ego bigger than Mount Everest. This guy was a plain ole asshole and you could see it from a mile away. He thought that he was better than he actually was and made a point to tell you about all the exclusive courses he played and the various country clubs he belonged to. I would take great pleasure in watching some of these guys self destruct. I would find myself yelling “noonan” (Caddyshack reference)in my head hoping he would cork screw himself into the ground and sometimes it happened, which made my four hour nightmare more tolerable.
This game became a damn tease-fest, I would shit the bed the whole day and hit a great shot or have great hole just before I finished, which was enough to keeping me coming back…but I never learned. I later self-diagnosed myself as insane after a trip to Doctor Google.He told me that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result was the definition of insanity.
So there it was, I must be insane, but before I gave up completely and started scrapbooking, I was encouraged by one of the most important people in my life to change my perspective.That my golf fix was not at the range or with the local pro, but in my head.This came after I intentionally snapped the shaft of one of my clubs after shanking a ball into the woods. By the way, golf clubs, especially graphite one’s, are meant to flex, which makes breaking one of them sort of an accomplishment…I was pissed.
So against the advice of Allen Iverson(Former Pro Basketball Star), I started to practice…. changing my thoughts.The more that I shifted my perspective on what my expectations should be and just focused on enjoying myself and playing with some good people, the better I became. Now I wasn’t pre-car accident Tiger Woods better, but I could now give the elderly guy in the golf cart a run for his money.
Yes.. golf helped me shift my perspective, but it didn’t stop there, I used the same practice at work and with my kids (which are a lot more stressful than golf) and it worked. I would be a hypocrite if I told you that I didn’t regress sometimes, but consistency is key. You just have to keep working and use your failures as fuel for success.
Now fast-forward to today, I don’t play golf as much as I used to but when I do, I enjoy it a lot more. I usually laugh a lot, play some good holes and don’t sweat the final score too much. Even the pretentious golf guy is more tolerable, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t yell in my head during his back swing….”noonan !”.