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I know there have been several books written about the Zen of golf.  I admit that I have not read any of them. This is merely my humble take on the spiritual refractions in the practice of the game.  I have been watching a lot of golf lately.  The new season has just begun. And it is Masters Week. That means Spring is upon us!

One of my favorite things about golf is that it is usually set in very beautiful places. Though I may have to rethink that as I saw a documentary recently called, “You’ve Been Trumped,” about how Donald Trump raped an amazingly beautiful coastline in Scotland.  Ever see “Local Hero”?  That was the spot, but there was no hero in this story.  If Donald Trump was seriously running for president, this documentary would’ve sunk his campaign without hidden cameras.

But I digress.  The best golfers are the ones that have a solid stance and an easy swing. Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer said you need to swing your own swing.  I think that means it should be comfortable for you.

Comfort is the secret, I think.  You need to roll with the prevailing winds.  Weather is an important aspect of the game.  The way the wind is blowing can have a definite impact on the game.  Fighting against it does no good.

It is also, perhaps, largely about clearing your mind.  Very often the announcers will talk abut how a golfer, probably thinking about the mistakes he made on the last hole, stiffen up.  Sometimes they are anticipating a hole coming up. Or remembering their defeat the previous year.

There is a certain golfer.  I won’t offer names. He is a good looking man and a pretty good golfer.  But, alas, some of the reason for his success, besides his rather well-proportioned body, is the fact that he appears to have very little going on in his head.  That lack of actively-charged brain activity has helped him, I believe, to focus in on the present and move more easily.

As soon as you start to stress about something, your swing, the weather, the score . . . you tighten up.  I’ve watched golfers find themselves in the most difficult situations and come out well.  As long as they are able to get a decent stance and swing loosely, without limitations, they can get themselves back into play.  Without it, they continue to make mistakes.

The best way to play golf is with a quiet mind, focusing on the present moment, feeling the way the wind is blowing.  Finding a balanced a stance, checking out the lay of the land and deciding how you want to play it.  And then swinging loosely, your swing, easily, but with intention.  Good rules for life!

For all you golf lovers out there, here’s a radio script from one of my father’s broadcasts.  There is no date on it, but I’m guessing it had to be in the 60’s.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Once Over Lightly with Alan Scott ~

I sit before this typewriter bug-eyed in awe unabashed, contemplating in cold blood the idea of attempting a paean to a golf score of 62. Jack Nicklaus did it in a practice round tuning up for the Open at Baltusrol in Springfield, N.J. If you are a golf nut as I am you will understand and endorse. If not, I can but hope that you are close enough to one who shows signs of galloping golfomania to be at least indulgent.

Sixty, by gum, two (if you don’t dig golf I will try to explain with this tenuous understatement ) is quite a score. It has never been done before at Baltusrol. It is an average of 3 and 4/9 strokes per hole if you must know. When your friendly neighborhood golf goof foams at the mouth and says “sixty two” in hushed reverential tone you will wonder that he can do it. There isn’t a soft poetic labial anywhere in the words. In fact, “sixty two” lends itself rather to being hissed through clenched teeth. But as a golf score, light comes through it as through stained glass windows and there is organ music in the background.

And there is magnificent drama in the incident. IT DIDN’T COUNT! It is tragedy such as only a Shakespeare could assess in his iambic stride.

How do you find something analogous in the Human Adventure?

The actress who weeps real tears for the camera in a scene which is headed for Oscarville just as an extra kicks over a prop. The UN Delegate who quotes Liviticus with telling effect only to discover that the television cameras have cut away for a station break. These marks of tragic irony pale . . . all of them, pale . . . when measured against the record-smashing round of 62 just BEFORE the Open BEGINS.  Stacked against the figure of Jack Nicklaus, King Lear is Laughing Boy.

There is only one who stands in the league with him. It is a salesman named John P. Altemus. He had a hole in one on the thirteenth at Main Line and turned ashen and trembled. He was supposed to be out making calls and the hole in one had to be hushed up to save his job.

In the quiet hours I will raise my glass in silent toast — and I trust you will join me — to John P. Altemus and Jack Nicklaus.

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