It’s been a while since I did a couple of things — play golf and drink whiskey — and lately I’ve been gettin’ a hankerin’, as we say down here in Texas, to do one of them again. The thing is, one of them will really hurt me and the other will definitely kill me, so I’m thinking the former might be a better idea. Yeah, I know, it’s genius.
Now, I’m not talking about trying to play the Champions Tour or anything psychotic like that, it’s just that now and then I’d like to be able to hit the links with a couple of pals and listen to the bastards laugh at me trying to play golf again. You know, just like old times. But the first thing I’ll have to do is get this pesky left arm and shoulder of mine back into some kind of working order, because on the very few occasions when I’ve tried to make a full swing over the last several years, it has hurt like hell for days afterward. Truthfully, the real reason I’d like to play again is because of all the Improvised Explosive Days of Golf I run for my Feherty’s Troops First Foundation. That’s right, I run them — I don’t play in them.
I mean, picture this: I’m out there watching combat-wounded kids playing golf and trash-talking. Most of them are missing legs or arms, are filled with shrapnel and have nerve damage or have been badly burned and are seriously depressed, often with traumatic brain injuries for good measure. And I don’t play because I have one arm that doesn’t work properly? It occurs to me that I am being a total man-gina about this arm thing. Maybe I should try to figure out a way to swing a golf club again without bleating like a sheep and collapsing like a deck chair on my follow-through.
I need help with this, but Hank Haney couldn’t fix Charles Barkley, and I couldn’t do it to my baby girl’s favorite uncle, Peter Kostis. David Leadbetter charges too much, and I can’t bear to see myself on video — so there goes Sean Foley — so it seems obvious to me that I have only one option: Butch Harmon. OK, so he’d probably yell at me a lot and make me rub his feet, but I’m married, so I can take that. The hard part will be figuring out a way to swing with a bent left arm, two left shoulders, no ulnar nerve and a very small ball bag — no wait, things have changed since I last practiced. Players don’t need ball bags any more, it’s all range balls! Hey, I’ve already solved one part of the puzzle!
Before anyone writes in to suggest some kind of corrective surgery, let me make one thing clear. No one, not even the famous Dr. M.D. Scripps-Hazelden-Mayo-Freud-Spock-Kevorkian-Gupta is going near either my brain or my arm with a knife, fork, spoon, ladle, scope, chainsaw or stirrups of any kind. No thanks. After my first of three bicycle accidents — in which the left side of my head and my left shoulder, ribs, lung, and arm were flattened, separated, broken, punctured and pureed — it took more than six months to save my arm, which, while it dangles relatively uselessly compared to the right one, is still there, hanging off what’s left of my left shoulder, exactly where I intend to keep it.
No, Butch will have to devise a novel way for me to swing, or invent some kind of strap-on device to hold everything together on my backswing, and retrieve anything that might wander off on my follow-through. I’ll take responsibility for any impact that may occur, for which I already have a cunning plan involving a kind of weapons-grade clenching that McCord used any time he got near the lead of a tournament. The hardest part of the whole thing may not be finding a coach, but a physical therapist who will be willing to go in and rub out the inevitable buttock-knots that will undoubtedly occur. Maybe that famous doctor could recommend someone…