Friday, November 5, 2010

Garage Golfing

Some time ago I had this terrific idea on how I could create a mini-driving range in my garage. I had seen the idea done before at a golf shop in the Bay Area where they hit real balls with real drivers against a wall lined with mattress-like material. The balls hit the soft stuff and the balls simply died. I actually woke up one day thinking that there's really NO reason why I couldn't do something of the same right in the ole garage. The idea continued to build as my creativity worked imagining that I could simply use a large fishing net, some string and an existing tee mat that I use outside in the summer when driving whiffle balls. I sped home from work, left my truck parked outside and began stringing up the large fish net to the garage ceiling, the 67 Classic Mustang front drivers side wheel spinner and its antennae, a ladder and a 2 x 4 board. For the ball-collection base I used an old fitted sheet, thereby making a safe haven for the balls when they died on the net. Beth wondered if she should put her Camry outside, but we (other friends and my son arrived on the scene) assured her that "...we've been golfing long enough to be able to hit a net from 3 yards away!"

We had been golfing for a little over 6 months.

After setting up the netting and getting out my clubs, I was thinking that I need some practice on the new 3 wood that I just purchased, but my son talked me down to a 7 iron for warming up. This turned out to be a very good piece of advice. One of the distinct advantages of the newly designed "garage driving range" was that one could literally watch the garage TV whilst practicing driving a ball! The netting was about 5 feet in front of the TV and we were watching the Simpsons. My son even commented "...just aim for the TV" as we could see it through the fish net. How cool!

I started with my 7 iron so as to 'feel out' this new driving range. I think I was a bit too excited and put a bit too much on the first drive. The ball struck like a lightning bolt under the 2 x 4 anchor, peeling like thunder through the netting and careened under my work bench at a velocity of around 98 MPH. Not good. Well at least I missed the TV and the dent in the dry wall can hardly be seen since it's behind my workbench. Next I secured the 2 x 4 anchor with more nails, which I knew would solve the problem of low flying shots.

I never thought of slices, however.

The next shot was a slice totally missing the netting and fired through my tools, hitting the peg board and knocking off several bags of cement screws. My son was there dying of laughter watching all of this so he tried a few shots and they were ok. My confidence was re-built so I tried another shot with my 7 iron. This shot was really not nice. Never mind that the ball bounced back from the net and almost killed me, I nearly wrapped my Calloway 7 iron around the nearby ladder on my follow through stroke. I had inadvertently moved a bit too close to the ladder. My coach tells me to follow through on my swing, yet I think he's making the assumption that I'm playing outside in the clear of any ladders. The ball actually ended up flying very fast under the 67 Mustang making very nasty sounds as it was losing its energy on the undercarriage of the car and careening over the perfectly finished paint job.

We sold the car shortly thereafter. And it had nothing to do with my golf game.

I never imagined that I could lose golf balls in my garage, but to this day 12 of my new Top-Flite balls are somewhere in my garage. We decided to migrate to the whiffle balls, which would be an order of magnitude safer. Not so. Let me just say that a whiffle ball traveling at over 100 MPH in a garage can be very dangerous and damaging. I really believe that the dents in the Camry can be pounded out with minimal effort and the broken light fixtures are not that expensive. The group was choking up with heinous laughter by now so I decided that I had done enough damage for the evening and that I should just wait until the weather clears and golf on a real golf course.

While we all had a good laugh, I learned a very good lesson tonight; effective garage-golf may be more expensive than simply going to the driving range!

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