Originally published in my column at worldgolf.com – some poetry for hackers.
The air is crisp. The wind is still. The golf clubs are shiny.
I break the silence with a clean thwack and watch as my ball flies with purpose across a bright blue sky that seems to serve only as a canvas for my stroke.
The ball bounces and rolls through the dew, smudging the immaculate fairway before it settles in the middle. I trace its line with my steps as if following a shooting star. My feet press my signature into the grass.
I choose my next brush and again interrupt the quiet air to apply another stroke. For a moment the line is lost as the thin application takes an imaginative path.
From an unplanned perspective I mask out the grainy shoreline that guards my focal point about 40 yards away. I hear encouragement in the waking song of a bird. This is my specialty. This is my bread and butter. I scrape a chunk of butter and hear the songbird laugh.
Five feet closer than I was, the hue increases in intensity. My focus gets so sharp that it blurs, and I nearly take the skull right off the ball with my passionate flair. The line I produce has such speed that it threatens to leave the floating canvas, but it comes to rest near a dried red border.
My golf ball looks comfortable, resting its sore head in a soft depression as it tries to hide among the long reeds and clumps of soil. A roadrunner stares into my soul from the edge of the tulles. From this angle, I am offered another pristine beach that demands to be left unsullied.
Shunning artistic convention, I defiantly pollute the beach with my next stroke. I look back toward the tulles and see the arrogant roadrunner walking slowly away.
These sands are so beautiful they really shouldn’t be so close to the green. As I step into my new medium, I notice its morning texture and decide on my stroke technique. Two strokes later, I smooth the sand’s surface, trying to re-create the groundskeeper’s magnum opus, and ascend to the silky green palette, now splattered with my own gritty handiwork.
I admire the curves and slopes from all angles before going back to the deckled edge where my ball is perched. I imagine a 25-foot arch painted from my ball to the hole; I intend to glaze it with my next stroke. As I carefully apply it I am immediately aware that a lighter touch would have made a more appealing picture. I watch as its path exposes previously unseen slopes.
Appreciating the nuances I missed, I study the area again to prepare for a smooth, 10-foot brush stroke. My amateur eye is revealed as I again fail to connect the dots and my line ends inches from the hole.
I swiftly complete the connection.
As I walk toward the next frame in this outdoor museum, I tally my marks on the last and announce quietly to the ether my double-digit result:
I must be imagining the mockingbird repeating it back to me again and again: 10, 10, 10.
To avoid a messy composition I try to suppress all the swing thoughts bubbling up as a result of that 10. Forget the golden sections. Forget the rule of thirds. Forget atmospheric perspective. Keep the focal point.
Another day of happily embracing the gestalt theory is underway.