Constantly looking for an edge when it comes to the game of golf, I turned to the Internet for help. One can find an inordinate amount of information on the web.
Whether it can help my game or not is certainly open to question, but the knowledge can't hurt. The fact it comes from the Internet means it has to be true, right? As the commercial says: uh, bonjour!
I decided to look up golf terms hoping I could find something to improve my game.
Many of the terms were familiar, a few not so much. Here then, are some of the terms I stumbled across.
On the first site I found, the first term on the list was "aiming" and it came with a definition.
Aiming: The act of aligning the club face to the target. Now, right off the bat I found something that might help. Who would have thought that trying to aim for the cup would be a good idea?
The only sport I heard the term aiming used in was bowling. A buddy of mine would order a cold one and call it "aiming" fluid. I'm not sure it helped that much, but he smiled more after several servings of the stuff. Given that I am apt to rant and rave occasionally on the golf course, I think I will give aiming a shot. The club face thing, not the fluid!
Borrow: The amount of break a player allows for when hitting a breaking putt. I have heard of this term. Invariably we never allow for enough borrow on putts. Maybe I should borrow someone else's putter or an eraser for my pencil. Hey, there are a lot of ways to improve one's score!
Coefficient of Restitution: The relationship of the club head speed at impact to the velocity of the ball after it has been struck.
I constantly monitor the coefficient of restitution while playing golf. Well, I would if I knew what the heck the term means. Seriously, does anyone have a clue? It might possibly mean that you should swing real hard. OK, I can do that.
A former major league player once was asked why he swung so hard at pitches. His response? "In case I hit it." That seems pretty coefficient, don't you think?
Duck Hook: A shot that flies sharply from right to left for right-handed players, usually hit unintentionally, since it is difficult to control.
I was fine with this definition until the "usually hit unintentionally" popped up. We have all hit duck hooks, but I have never seen anyone try to hit one intentionally. I don't know how you do it on purpose, but then again I can't hit any kind of hook intentionally.
What I really want to know is if the term comes from the flying bird or is it from people diving out of the way when a player hits one. If you know, let me know.
Fried egg: The slang term for a buried lie in the sand.
We all have seen this situation, although I'm not so sure the term is slang. Why I have heard this lie called by several other names is not necessarily printable in a family newspaper. I would prefer my fried eggs to be on my breakfast plate and not in the bunker!
Groove: A description of a swing that constantly follows the same path, time after time.
If this definition is to be believed, I never have been in a groove on the golf course in my life. Same swing. Constantly. Time after time. Yeah, right.
Lag: A shot (usually a pitch, chip or putt) designed to finish short of the target.
I have been a lag putter for my entire golfing career. The difference is that it is not by design. I generally just don't hit it hard enough despite the old adage that 80 percent of putts left short don't go in. Despite the math shortcomings of the adage, I'm from the school of thought that would suggest that a similar number of putts that go 10 feet by don't go in also!
Spoon: A term for a 3-wood that is seldom used.
Actually, I use the term often, just not while golfing. Though I generally use a fork for eating my fried egg, I could make do with a spoon!
Waggle: A motion or several motions designed to keep a player relaxed at address and help establish a smooth pace in the takeaway and swing.
Two golfers come to mind when I think of the waggle. The first is Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard used to waggle so many times before hitting a shot it became comical. Do you remember when he played in the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black? He waggled so many times that a gallery member finally yelled "just hit the ball" causing a bit of a scene. The fan was out of line, but Sergio has reduced the number of waggles dramatically since then, keeping the game moving along nicely.
The other golfer who waggles is yours truly. I too have cut back on the number of waggles and for a similar reason. One of my playing partners once called my waggles cute. That was enough for me to reform.
The last term on the list was "yips," a word that most golfers are familiar with. The definition went like this: "A condition, generally believed to be psychological, which causes a player to lose control of his hands and club. This generally occurs when putting or in the short game, but it can also affect people when hitting a tee shot."
Bernhard Langer went through a battle of the yips which seemed to be cured when he went to the long putter which is soon to be banned. Kevin Na had the yips on the tee a couple of years ago. He actually got so nervous on the tee that he would swing the club two feet over top of the ball like a baseball bat. He also seems to have conquered the yips.
In Great Britain the condition is referred to as the "twitchies" but then again the Brits refer to a golfer's score as level par. Actually I think I get the "twitchies" from time to time. I take care of the problem by eating. Wait a minute. I might be thinking of the munchies!
Whatever, I have to go. I'm thinking of a fried egg
Al Stephenson is The A-T's golf columnist
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