On the Course: Off course, all day | AspenTimes.com

On the Course: Off course, all day

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” From optimism to dejection in 1.2 seconds. My rela­tionship with golf is as frustratingly simple as that.

I was all smiles as I walked from the driving range to the first tee Sunday at the Aspen Golf Club. A minor swing change had me feeling comfortable and confident with every club. As I teed up my ball, one of my playing partners pointed out the ideal part of the fairway from which to attack the green.

He should’ve saved his breath. Sec­onds later, I awkwardly drew the club back, struck the ball and watched as it darted to the left, clipping three dif­ferent pine trees before coming to rest in the rough. I hope no rare birds were nesting nearby.

In one fell swoop, my balanced swing had disappeared. I looked like someone using every muscle in their body to cough up a chicken bone lodged in their trachea.

It gets worse. It always gets worse.

My second shot veered to the left once again, and when I finally spotted the ball, it was resting on an adja­cent Aspen Junior Golf practice green, a few feet from a group of startled youngsters. One man jokingly suggest­ed I “Pick a hole and putt out.”

Instead, I took a drop and, with the group watching my every move ” they were either teeming with curios­ity or they accurately sensed that their lives were in dan­ger should they turn their backs ” I managed to find the actual green some 30 yards away.

Here are a few more highlights (or low-lights) from an afternoon spent embarrassing myself and making a mockery of the game of golf:

– In an attempt to channel my inner Phil Mickelson, I eyed a clearing between two imposing branches and attempted to punch a shot through. My ball drilled a tree trunk, bounced backward and landed at my feet.

– One of my drives on the back nine landed on High­way 82. ( If anyone finds a Titleist 2 by the roundabout, I’d like it back.)

– I lined up a putt 5 feet from the cup, pulled the put­ter back and through, then watched hopelessly as the ball screamed past the hole and nearly trickled off the green. I went on to four-putt. My playing partners had another laugh at my expense. I decided I have about as much touch as an ax-wielding lumberjack trying to play a Steinway.

– I attempted a chip over a small body of water on 18, but the ball struck the hozzle and made a splash land­ing. I go on to record an eight for the hole and a 108 for the day ( that’s 69 cents a shot). On the bright side, you get more for your money when you put up bowling score-like numbers.

– I decided I’ll spend next Sunday on the couch ” or some place far from the junior



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