GIMME A BREAK

Ken Hoffman on the worst part of golf, and why he's never playing again

Ken Hoffman has played his last round of golf due to one infuriating tradition. Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas Las Colinas

Originally appeared on CultureMap

 

I was on vacation last week and, well, that’s the last time I’m ever playing golf.

It’s not that big a deal, chances were pretty good I was never playing golf again anyway.

Somewhere around the fifth hole last week, it all came back to me. Golf takes too long. Too expensive. I have to drive a half-hour to get there. The shoes. The waiting on every hole. The it’s not really exercise. Looking for lost balls.

This time something new made me crazy.

I was playing with two guys who happened to be pretty decent players. They were shooting mostly pars and bogeys.

According to their scorecards, that is. 

Every time they knocked the ball to within four or five feet of the cup...they picked it up.

“Put me down for a par.”

Finally, I just asked, in an annoying, lecturing sort of way (it’s a gift I have), why are you picking up your ball instead of putting it into the hole?

It’s a “gimme,” they said.  “That’s how golf is played.”

It is? Why? I watch golf on TV. I’ve seen pro players miss putts shorter than what you’re picking up.

I’ve heard all the excuses for gimmes in golf — No. 1 being it speeds up play.

Exactly how much time do gimmes really save? Maybe 15 seconds? If they’re so easy, finish the hole. I’ll wait.

I don’t believe that gimmes are gimmes, especially for everyday weekend players. A 4-foot putt can be tricky business. Don’t tell me you shot 82 if you picked up 15 putts during the round. Not when Ernie Els misses putts that you supposedly never miss. 

Why wouldn’t a golfer want to complete the action of putting the ball in the cup? You do all that work of getting the ball close — and then you pick it up? Where’s the fun in that?

In what other sport do players stop short of completing the action? If LeBron goes into for an uncontested dunk, does he pull up before reaching the hoop and say, “It’s a gimme. Put me down for two points.”

LeBron James misses dunks. Again, YouTube it.

If Roger Federer is at the net for an easy overhead smash, does he let the ball drop and say, “Put me down for 15-love?”

Roger Federer misses easy shots.

Baseball players have to touch all the bases after hitting a home run. It’s the natural rhythm of sports.

You’ve got to close the deal. That’s why we keep score. In everything. If I’m having dinner with someone and we both order the fish...I check who got a bigger piece. That’s who won.

The two guys I played golf with picked up the ball on practically every hole. They said, “It’s a social game, a gentleman’s game, we’re being friendly.”

Then why are you keeping score? “There is no way that you would have made every putt you picked up as a gimme.”

At that point I was a barbarian. “Sorry if I offended you,” one of them said. “I was just trying to move us along faster.”

Don’t give me that. There’s no one behind us. Take your time.

You know something, never mind. Go ahead, pick up your ball. It’s a gimme that I’m done with golf.

---

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome