Swinging off the golf course

Ever pretended to swing a golf club at the pub? Ever swung one on the side of a freeway?

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Inside Golf where Michael Green writes a monthly column.

Tiger Woods BosphorusThe sun had barely risen before we were out of the house and on our way to play golf. Not being the morning type I can distinctly remember still feeling half asleep and being blinded by the sun peeking over the top of the Adelaide Hills as we turned on to the freeway.

Golf is one of the few things I’ll get up early for, so you can imagine my disappointment when the old HG Holden my uncle drove at the time ground to a halt within a few hundred metres of the freeway exit to the golf course.

Few HG Holden’s were still on the road this day in the mid-90’s and with good reason. As classic as these old cars were, modern cars are far more reliable, and probably a better choice for getting from point A to the golf course.

Unable to restart the car, and in an age before mobile phones, we sat and waited – hoping that one of our playing partners would notice our absence and double back to pick us up.

It was at this point I saw my first real, honest look at the golfer in the wild. We all know how a golfer behaves on the golf course, but dressed to play outside of this environment was as unknown to me as Africa was to Livingstone.

With the clock ticking closer and closer to our tee time, and no sign of any rescue team, my uncle calmly opened the boot, took out both sets of golf clubs, fished out his 8-iron and started warming up by making a few swings alongside the busy freeway.

I can only imagine what commuters on their way to work must have thought of this, but I can remember my thoughts clearly: What is he doing? That must have been a really poor tee shot?!

It turns out this wasn’t a rare phenomenon and I’ve witnessed the remarkable display of golfers practising their golf swings in unusual surroundings many times since. Only last week, I arrived late to pick up a friend for a round, only to find him on the side of the road warming up with a pitching wedge.

I’ve always felt a little awkward about putting on such a display in the wild. I feel uncomfortable enough wearing golf clothes in public let alone making a few swings with a golf club.

But for some reason I’ve felt uninhibited making a golf swing with an imaginary golf club at home, at work, or even out at the pub. In fact, I’d argue that watching two golfers discussing their golf swings at the pub is one of the greatest sights in world sport.

Just merely seeing a golf course brings on a golf swing with an invisible golf club. I used to walk past a golf course on my way to work and didn’t realise I did it until a friend pointed it out one time.

But the real beauty in the golf swing with an invisible golf club is exactly that; it is a thing of beauty. It’s always a fine-looking golf swing that feels like you’re swinging the golf club like Adam Scott.

There is no chunk off the turf or shank off the hosel to distract you from making one of the finest golf swings going around. It feels superb and with a bit of imagination you can almost see the golf ball compress itself on the face of the club and zip it’s way down the fairway.

Or freeway, whatever you fancy.

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