I went bird hunting last week in the Texas hill country with my wife, and I was struck once again, just as I was when I went skiing for the first time last year, by the similarities between golf and everything else in the universe.
I experienced the tension that all novices feel when they find themselves thrust into the company of experts, such as my wife, who could shoot the balls off a running ferret at 100 yards, and Butch , our guide and instructor for the hunt. I was armed with my new 20-gauge gas-powered Beretta 3-shot special as we set off into the long grass in search of lunch. I must admit, I felt an almost primeval sense of power at the thought of actually eating what I was going to kill.
After two hours of loud banging and cursing, it became apparent that I was going to enjoy a lunch consisting of one empty Dr. Pepper can, and the hindquarters of an English pointer called Rodney. The birdlife of the area was so safe from my advances that at one stage a hen pheasant actually tried to build a nest on the end of my barrel. It was embarrassing, and I was starting to think I had more chance of killing a bird by throwing one of the dogs in the air when an elderly chukar died of natural causes in midair right in front of me, getting me off the schneid.
Then Butch gave me a lesson. Wouldn’t you know it, but my weight distribution was all wrong, my stance was constipated, and knock me down with a feather, but I wasn’t following through either! All of these are things that have been wrong with my golf game from time to time!
Just like a golfer that has been set straight, I shot much better that afternoon, killing a dozen or so birds, and almost bringing down a Southwest Airlines jet.
Just like a golfer, the following morning, I couldn’t have hit a flying heifer with a blunderbuss.
On a completely unrelated note, I have to admit I’m feeling a little nervous about this Thursday night’s Late Night Show, at the Phoenix Open, as I have just shot my first ever nude scene. The problem is, I was in the shower with Peter Kostis. No big deal you might say, these are the zeros. (I don’t know, but somehow that doesn’t sound as good as the nineties.)
Now, I’m pretty secure in my masculinity, but after doing this scene, I was seized by an urge to fluff up the pillows in my room and change all the window treatments. I was able to quickly exorcise the demons though, by lighting a fire on the carpet and painting a few bison on the walls. I’m fine now … honestly.