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Bad days of golf better than work

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But today it is anything but sunny. Outside it is dark, dismal and pretty darn desolate, which means it feels a lot like home.

And while the rain has yet to fall — at least not on the ninth fairway, which is visible through the dining room window — this temporary break from the normal scorching climate has given me the opportunity to pen this little ode to golf, an endeavor I have blistered my hands raw pursuing over the past 72 hours or so.

My Lord, I can be positively wretched on the golf course. If I’m not finishing my swing and pushing the ball off to the right, I’m hooking the club to such a degree that my Strata makes like a crescent moon veering strongly to the left.

Golf may be the most evil creation of man. The hours upon hours of practice it takes to hit even a respectable shot should be reason enough for those of you out there reading this, but who have never played a round, to forget ever trying the damn thing. Then again, here I am lamenting over the game as if it were the single most profound experience in my life.

And those of you out there unfortunate enough to actually know me, yes, it probably is.

It’s sad but true.

As I was saying, about once a year I gird up the courage to board an airplane, albeit with a little help from some friends, and take the three-hour flight south to really hit the links, cocksure every time that this year I will finally prove to my father — and myself — that I can indeed play this game.

It was my father who introduced me to golf. While I scoffed at the idea of playing such an elitist game where swearing is frowned upon, as a rough and rugged football player during my high school years my interest was peeked seeing my dad get positively bitten by the golfing bug.

And in my fervor to emulate my father, I took to the game like a fish to water. Well, maybe more like a fish to vodka, meaning the fish may look fine initially, but given a little time things are going to go bad.

I hit some good shots while I was first learning the game, shots I can still remember to this day. I hit this one 9-iron over water to an island green at a place called Broken Sound that was a thing of beauty, beauty because not only was it the best shot of my young golfing life to that point, but it also was closer to the pin than my father’s own shot hit from relatively the same distance.

Shots like those are few and far between in the early going, but like the man says, “It’s the good shots that keep you coming back.”

And I have, again and again.

Golf isn’t cheap, either. Despite the increasing popularity of the game, thanks largely to guys like Tiger Woods and less-than-brilliant individuals such as myself who like chasing little white balls higgledy-piggledy all over manicured lawns that would be better served growing wheat for the starving and huddled masses teaming at our shores, golf thrives.

Poor economy? Heh, I don’t think the golfing industry has felt the hit and that’s because as infuriating and pointless as the game ultimately is, golf rules, baby!

Just before I came to Florida, I played 18 holes with my best buddy and father to my two adorable godchildren, Greg, the former lead singer of a heavy metal band who now runs a machining factory.

Well, after just nine holes with Greg, I was ready to quit the game for good. I couldn’t hit a solid shot to save my all but forgettable life, and trying to putt was like trying to hook up a DVD player and VCR while incorporating a satellite system and video game unit. That ain’t easy, and it sure ain’t pretty.

But as luck would have it, I played well enough on the back nine to start me thinking that yes, yes indeed, I can play this game and play it well.

So as I boarded the plane, groggy and a little worse for wear, I was confident enough to think that my father, a declared six-handicap, might get a game out of me.

But I am sorry to report, 18 practice holes followed by 36 in the company of my father has only proved that while any dumb sports writer can hit a few good shots, he can’t hang with a serious golfer, not when there is money on the line.

Spotting me one stroke a hole, I hung tough for about 12 or 13 before my father, perhaps sickened by the thought of having to swallow the slightest bit of pride, started to spank my Italian-Cuban butt the rest of the way to win handily, even with the 18 strokes I was spotted.

Afterward, in a heartfelt father-son moment reminiscent of Ray Kinsella asking his departed dad to have a catch in “Field of Dreams,” my pop extended his hand to the 18th green, smiled and said, “A case of Coors Light will do just fine.”

So I am a few bucks lighter in the wallet, my pride wounded a wee bit and perhaps a little more grounded. But there is always tomorrow. And if the sun clears and the wind is right, I might just catch him on an off day.

Of course, I’d probably have better luck trying to fly back to New York using nothing but the power of thought.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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