Long time golf pro, Grover Bullin of the Wilson ( N.C.) Country Club, had a pat answer when asked about the weather: “If it rains it’ll be a dry rain.”
Part of joining the ever present “old geezers” golf group at any club is listening to tales of geezers past. Or passed. This one comes from STAR HILL down on our coast in North Carolina. It was “…told for the truth.”
Two “super seniors” played almost daily together. They rarely spoke. Both had senior health problems. One had narrowly escaped earlier cardiac failure.
The guys in the pro shop swore they made no comment about the steady rain as they paid up and headed to the tee.
One of the two recounted the scene later. After a few holes the two hit tee shots in opposite directions. As he approached his next shot the witness said he heard a harrowing sound from his playing partner. When turned he saw him clutch his chest and fall to the turf. The stricken player was barely audible, yet trying to speak. Putting his good ear close to victim’s mouth, the survivor swore he heard the final words: “You can have my rain check”.

High Handicap Geezer Golf

I’ve “earned my letter.”   And, thankfully I can play golf for fun.   Fun is the operative word.   Golf can be maddening.   Someone said “…golf is not a game, it’s a disease.”   Another suggested we make prisoners play.   I have felt like sitting down on the course and crying.  With the goal of making the game fun for us guys (not you “low to scratch” PLAYERS)  here a a few ideas:

– Upon my arrival home after a golf day, my wife asks “…how did you play”?   My answer is usually something like this: I played ok except for (pick one) a few bad holes, a triple bogey, one damn hole, etc.   My guess is a lot of hackers have admitted the same or similar summations.

– The big problem is MEDAL PLAY.   This requires you count all strokes on all holes.   MATCH PLAY allows you to play hole by hole, thus alleviating that lingering memory of the unwanted “snowman” or 8 on a par 5. I   guess being a tennis coach affects my thinking.    No matter how bad you are playing you still have a chance.   Where would you be without the second serve?

– Borrowing from education, why not “grade on the curve”, or throw out one bad hole (or one per side”).   Count it ( or them of your choice) a par, and move on.   I’m calling this game CULL/ THROWAWAY/DOTS   Someone told me there is a variation of this that has been played by others, trying to stroke their crushed egos…

Dots is a game for those of us who like bets.
1. Assign a monetary value to each “dot” (SAY 25 CENTS PER DOT) and dispense dots accordingly:
2. HOLEY:   You, or your team win that particular hole.
3. POLEY:   For a made putt longer than the flag pole.
4. GUACAMOLE:   Make par or better with a Hispanic worker in sight
5. NASCAR:   Par after hitting a cart path.
7. SANDIE:   Make a par out of a sand trap
8. GREENIE:   Closest individual to the pin on par 3’s…(option: if no one is ON the green, then GREENIE goes to the closest to the pin)
9. BARKIE:   Par after hitting a tree.
10. FRINGIE:   Make any shot form off the green.
11. CARRYOVERS:   Bet (or HOLEY) continues if no one wins the hole…example: No one wins hole 1, hole 2 is worth two dots, etc.
12. EAGLES:   Four dots
13. Holes in one:   Ten dots
14. Doubles eagles:   Fifteen dots

1. Quitting:   Twenty dots
2. SNAKES:   Three putts or more–2 dots
3. UNFORCED WINDY (Swing an d miss the ball)
4. PECKER SHOT:   Failure to get to women’s tee
7. FLAG STICK:   Carry the flag off the green
8. LEAVE CLUB:   Must be after teeing off on next hole

  • “…Every now and then a blind hog finds an acorn”, or anything close.
  • “I pulled (pushed it)” on a short putt.
  • Wimpy cussin
  • “…Be the right stick”
  • “Blew by you”

11. Being further away on your second putt
12. Back to back shanks
13. Hitting the wrong ball



My 2014 New Year’s Eve Resolution  (see #1 below or blog 84) was not easy. I have tried more clubs designed for 2nd shots than the average golfer has putters.
Next I tried an alternate technique that worked in a new way. (see #2 below, or blog 108).
And then I figured a way to improve my scores by 5 shots. ( see #3 below, or blog 118),

(1) And that, “…one man, scorned and covered with scars–still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach ” (my words substituted) MY QUEST OF BEING ABLE TO HIT A DECENT

(2) February 4, 2015 by ethomasparham

Gorgeous early February day at the beach. Decided to dust off the clubs. Star HILL Golf Club lot was full. Usual grim faced old timers in our group. I decided not to worry too much about my quality of play. Between #15 and #16 I had an epiphany! I realized it was an unusually beautiful winter day. And, that (1) I was playing OK.
I can’t advise anyone much about golf. At best I’m now hoping to get in a golf quote book. My secret to enjoying playing golf? Quote:



The JPD’ tee boxes are 400 yards closer. You have to be 80 to play JPD at our club. I have arbitrarily equated my golf age as 89. 75 in years plus 14 operations.

1. Nobody cares 2. I don’t have to try to hit 220yd shots, 12 times a round. 3. It is easier. NOT EASY, STILL. 4. I can get on in regulation fairly often 5.It is much more fun.

Golf should feature “Ability Tees”, not age, sex, etc. Play from where your ability allows you to have fun. Some folks are old at 20. Some not so at 70.
Four tees for men, one for women? Sorenstam,etc. from the same tee as a 10 year old girl, or begining woman?


A friend of Mike Tyson’s  noticed the boxer’s new years eve resolutions listed “to quit smoking”.   “But, Mike,  you don’t smoke” he questioned.   Mike said “… you need some easy ones on your list.”

Today is January 1, 2014.  I have one resolution for this year,  but it is not an easy one.  I have leaned on the song,  MY QUEST for lyrics that describe my concerns:

“an impossible dream”

“an undefeatable foe”

“unbearable sorrow”

“arms too weary”

“no matter how helpless””march into hell”

In hope that one day , “,,,my heart will lie peaceful and calm, when I am laid to rest”

And that, “…one man, scorned and covered with scars–still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach ”  (my words substituted) MY QUEST OF BEING ABLE TO HIT A DECENT SECOND SHOT ON THE GOLF COURSE!!!

P.s.  If “mulligans”  are allowed as a local rule,  that rule should include allowing the player to defer their mulligan to that damned second shot.


Gorgeous early February day at the beach. Decided to dust off the clubs. Star HILL Golf Club lot was full. Usual grim faced old timers in our group. I decided not to worry too much about my quality of play. Between #15 and #16 I an epiphany! I realized it was an unusually beautiful winter day. And, that (1) I was playing OK.
I can’t advise anyone much about golf. At best I’m now hoping to get in a golf quote book. My secret to enjoying playing golf? Quote:

Trustworthy Tools

NAMING HIGH HANDICAPPER’S GOLF CLUBS:   Many golfers have given pet names to their golf clubs.   Most are people happy with the club.   Here are the names I have chosen for mine:

SCHIZOPHRENIC (the driver),
THE INFIDEL ( 3 wood),
BLUE MOON (5 wood),
AWOL (5 iron),
NEIL YOUNG, whose nickname is “shaky”–6iron,
ONCE (7iron),
CUR (a stray dog) is the 8 iron

I use three clubs as wedges:  The 9 iron, the pitching wedge, and the sand wedge.   Their names in order are HAPLESS, HOPELESS, and HELPLESS.  My putter I call CRENSHAW, in the name of sarcasm. ..There, you traitorous fourteen villians, I feel better.


The forehand Roger Federer hit on the second match point in the US OPEN quarter finals was stunning. About like a golfer hitting a 3 iron 225 yards into an 8 ounce paper cup. For the Masters title! This man is a gift, in any number of ways. Tennis and life!
Number 25 of my articles, Hackalooski, defines a poor golfer telling a good golfer how to play. Article 9 (Tennis Tactics: The Circle Stinger) suggests that Nadal’s ripping, left-handed, topspin forehand, hit from within the “circle”, gave him a play that even the world’s greatest player couldn’t withstand. Both Rafa and Roger knew that this “laser”, relentlessly hammered at even a great backhand, is deadly.
Mickey Lolich was a great Detroit pitcher. When asked why his yearly win/loss records changed drastically for the better (from about 18/17 to like 24/6) he replied “…I learned how to win when I didn’t have my BEST STUFF”. There are days when singles tennis players are like “singular” pitchers. This appeared to be true with FED in both the quarters and semis. Admirably, when asked to explain his remarkable improved recent play, he did not excuse his earlier play as affected by a back injury. He could have.
With the greatest respect for this man, I do have a HACKALOOSKI. One hears all kinds of theories on “big points”, “break points”, etc. As a college coach one of the “points” I stressed were “ahead points” “The hardest time to play is when you are ahead”. College kids had the flaw of poor focus, particularly on 40-15 and 30-love points. The same is true of being up a break. Killer instinct sounds evil, but not in tennis. When college doubles changed to an 8-game pro set, we all watched in amazement at game leads of 7 to 4 and 6 to 3, that were frittered away.
HERE IS THE HARD PART. I think Fed plays these situations and points somewhat loosely. If there are statistics available on his playing of these points, I would bet his percentages would be less on these points.
Particularly in tight matches.
The game is evolving. In earlier articles I have noted some observations: The JOKER’S great groundstrokes can keep Rafa out of his “circle”, 2. Dropshots are more and more common and successful (but not against Monfils), and 3. There were all kinds of 2014 US OPEN matches that exhibited the evolving ability of men and women to hit quality groundstrokes with wide open pace, on or near the line. Kei Nishikori against Warinka and Djokivic. Nuff said!

Letter to the USGA

77 Liberty Corner Road
PO Box 708
Far Hills, NJ 07931-0708

Attention: Marcia Luiges (Women’s Committee)

Having coached tennis for forty years, and being a high handicap golfer, I tend to compare the two games. My wish is to offer some hopefully constructive criticism to golf.

Suggestion one: Confront your two biggest problems, someone in front of you and someone behind you. The ability of players and the difficultly of the course are the main variables in delaying someone or waiting for someone. Europeans require certification of ability to play. Yet in America, we have one hundred plus scorers teeing up from “the tips”. Shouldn’t people play further up to play faster?

Why not? For example, if you shoot a certain certified score, you play from that tee. Many average males could play from the senior tees and still shoot 110. Why do men have 3 or 4 tee positions and women only 1? Shouldn’t pro women play from different tees than beginning women? Having a foursome of different teeing starts will take little extra time comparatively. Maybe golf shouldn’t have “seniors” or “women’s” tees at all but tees determined by ability.

From what I have heard, many golf courses are struggling to make it financially. Maybe this is why so many rangers are hesitant to confront slow players. My guess is the opposite; if the pace were better controlled, business would pick up.

Speaking of golf’s other struggle, finances, perhaps more “women-friendly” courses would be helpful. Who better than women to grow the number of paying customers during the week. Yet it appears that golf shoots itself in the foot when it comes to encouraging women’s play. Women’s college golf is begging for competent women players. Scholarships are waiting due to Title IX. When the “macho” guys complain about women, it runs them off. Many women are self-conscious about having people wait, particularly if they are forced to play from unrealistic tees. Private, public and municipal facilities might well create a real booming market for women by:

1. Encouraging them
2. Teaching them
3. Designing women-friendly courses
4. Blocking time periods for play and instruction

Anyone in the American Tennis scene in the last thirty years has watched women grow their tennis population at an amazing pace.  In the Southern US, Atlanta, Georgia started a tremendous boom in women’s league play. ALTA (Atlanta’s League Tennis Association) formed teams of women at different levels of play. That has blossomed at a rate and quality that one could hardly imagine. One of their strokes of genius was to attach USTA (United States Tennis Association) membership to league play eligibility. This had a tremendous impact on national level membership and provided substantial funding and influence. Another significant by-product of league play was the influx of dedicated and qualified women into leadership roles in tennis. This bled over into areas other than league play as well such as administration, junior tennis, state, district and national influence, etc.

In conclusion: Ability tees will speed up play. Golf should hammer out the details, for example:

Possible Golf Course Design:
No Men’s, Women’s or Senior tees. Six Ability tees. Players play from where their         handicaps qualify them to play.

Tee            Par 3 (yards)               Par 4            Par 5
1.                     200                           400                525
2.                     120                           350                490
3.                     140                           325                465
4.                     110                            300                400
5.                    100                            275                 370
6.                     90                              250                320

First, Second and Third Approximate Shots (yards)

Par 3, as above

Par 4                         Par 5
1. (300-100)        1. (300-160-65)

2. (240-110)        2. (240-150-100)

3. (210-115)         3. (210-150-105)

4. (180-120)         4. (180-120-80)

5. (150-125)         5. (150-125-75)

6. (125-125)         6. (125-100-95)

Couldn’t current courses redesign themselves to fairly standard and friendly tee distances? (see chart above)

Couldn’t golf “meccas” like Myrtle Beach, Florida and California not design a course more inclusive of compatible to women? (see chart above) If there are 100 for men in an area, why not one for women?

In the future, why not design courses with women in mind? (see chart above)

My guess is that this kind of thinking has been kicked around among your organization. I have no “axe to grind”. You may use or disregard this letter any way you see fit.

“And if you play golf, you are my friend.”
-Harvey Penick


Tom Parham


As a career coach I picked up a lot of tennis balls. Frequently I wondered about “a better mousetrap”. The ball rack was the first common solution, then the tubes. A bunch of campers picking them up for you isn’t a bad idea. But you have to put up with some complaining.
I often thought I could design a teaching court with a series of angled boards (or the like). Pop the ball up at the slightly inclined board till it drops the balls off into an ally, one half declining downhill to the left, the other half to the right. A container in a hole below ground level collects the balls, which you lift and pour into your shopping cart. High tech worries? Nope, unless gravity goes awry.
Somebody beat me to the next one: A slower moving ball. No-brainer for youngsters. As a matter of fact, you can take it further and use balloons. Children at a very young age can learn to track a balloon. And with  practice, they can learn tactile hand usage and learning to bend their arms while collecting the slow moving toy. Careful, though, with balloons and little ones.
I really feel like I mishandled The SENOR. This was a simple tee shirt designed with various food residue spottings, strategically located on the shirt. While the standard Senor would feature mustard, catsup, coffee stains, beer splotches, pizza drippings etc., there would be room for creativity, ethnic venues, and so on. How bout the Mexican (salsa, quacamole, chips, bean drippings). the Italian with spaghetti dangles, oil and vinegar, three wine spots, burp-ups, and such. The French, the Afro, even the veggie. With a label  advising, “no wash, no worry.”

Golf got me thinking.  That distance to the bottom of the hole after a rare made putt got shortened by the putter suction  cup.  Wish I’da  done that one.  What pride.

Toughest part of the golf day?  Getting my left sock on.  I dealt with shoe tying with  velcro shoe “laces”.  Miami here I come.   Pedicure for the toenails around the corner?

Don’t tell about the next one.  Duck Dynasty’s Si Robertson gets the next call.  A  blend between  a child’s clicker toy and Si fine tuning a device, hidden of course, that sounds like a golf ball going into the cup.   Then, the circumstances perfect (or, the others not close by or where they see, yet hear—the “putt clicker”.  Followed by the old coach shouting,”…damn, I knocked in another gagger!” Nirvana.

If I could pull that off just one time, that may be my masterpiece.

But The Senor wasn’t bad.