This past week I decided to hit a small bucket a practice balls at a driving range on my way north to visit my mother. For the purpose I took five clubs out my bag - PW, 8, 6, 4, & 3-wood - and put them in the back seat of my car. I also took my golf shoes. Thus armed I arrived in the early afternoon Wednesday and proceeded to hit the ball as poorly as anytime in my life this side of the age of twelve. I was awful. I started looking around to see if anyone was watching. It was embarrassing.
I did not really expect to hit the ball well. All I wanted to do was to get a bit back in the groove having not touched a club in about eight months. But there was no groove to be found. I hit them thin and fat, high and low, left and right. One eight-iron looked suspiciously like a sh_ _k. It was as if my mind and body were paying no attention to each other. When I slinked back to my car I considered that it had finally happen, I had completely lost my golf mojo, and it was not coming back.
On my return trip I again passed that driving range. Impulsively I decided that I had not had my fair share of self-abuse. So I turned around and paid another six dollars for a small bucket of balls.
This time from the first shot I knew something was different. As I proceeded all the shots were solid. My eight-iron was flying about 160 yards, high and straight. The six-iron was longer. The four-iron flew like I was hitting my driver. Spooked, I stopped after about half a bucket and sat down. What was different? I had made a small adjustment in my stance based on something I saw in Tiger Woods' set-up at the British Open. Was that it? There was only one way to test that idea, go back to the stance I used three days earlier.
But I didn't. Veterans don't tempt the golf gods. I returned to finish off that bucket, almost every shot as well struck as I can manage.
As I walked back to my car I could be heard saying, "What the hell was that all about?"