Morning Bytes | How I got the golf habit . . . er, addiction

Posted: April 13, 2007

My name is Frank, and I'm a golfaholic.

This is odd because I have no game. I slice more regularly than Ron Popeil. I've hit more skulls than Oscar De La Hoya. I've done more misreading than Larry Mendte.

And yet I am powerless in golf's interlocking grip.

I spend the days between rounds in painful withdrawal, craving another tee time or a pair of FootJoys. I'm in a state of constant denial, lying to my wife that the only reason I golf three times a week is because I'm writing a story on poa annua.

Anyway, I believe I've finally hit rock bottom.

Just days ago, I narrowly avoided arrest as I cruised North Philadelphia's Badlands in search of a Pro V1. Last winter, I nearly overdosed, playing 108 holes in three days. They say that when they found me, I was unconscious and muttering "flat plane from shoulder to ball."

I know exactly when this addiction was born. My father, you see, was my enabler.

When I was 14, he let me caddy for him at Cobbs Creek. When we got to the 17th hole, a secluded par-3 with an elevated tee, he allowed me to play the hole. I took out his 3-wood. That's when it happened.

If only I had done then as I have done ever since, launch a pathetic slice into the woods, I might have been spared this lifelong misery. Instead, I somehow landed the ball on the green. Worse, I two-putted for a par.

Days later, a neighborhood friend and I were teeing it up at Karakung. I don't remember much about the round other than my cholesterol-like score, which was still less than the number of balls I'd lost on the first hole alone.

No matter, soon I was feeding my habit at Paxon Hollow Golf Club two, three, four times a week. I went from a starter set to Pings to TaylorMades in the blink of an eye. I'd take money from my mother's purse and head for some seedy driving range.

Over the years, I've kicked the habit from time to time. Once a decade or so I yield to the hopeless reality of my bogeymania and Nixonian swing and melt down the clubs. And when the kids were growing up, I was simply too busy to jump off the wagon.

But now the monkey is back. I'm lost again in the addiction's hazards - not to mention its ponds, woods, creeks and traps. If I don't get help soon, I might wind up in Pinehurst or, worse yet, Myrtle Beach.

So, please, if you know of any local Golfers Anonymous chapters, let me know.

I'm willing to turn to a higher power.

Like maybe an r7 driver with a 425-cc clubhead that offers exceptionally high MOI and consistently long, straight results.

Grampa Greg. Ohio State's Greg Oden plans to reveal whether he'll declare for the NBA draft as soon as he gets a flu shot and returns from a bus trip to Atlantic City.

NASCAR note of the week. Driver Rex White, a NASCAR star in the 1950s and 1960s, on his learning on the job:

"I learned about how to set chassis up, gear ratio, how [to] get around racetracks, travel, sleep in the car, sleep on the ground."

He's right. These wimpy drivers today wouldn't know how to sleep on the ground if it weren't for the formal classes they take.

Phillies fodder. More pointless early-season musings:

Charlie Manuel hasn't gotten any smarter, or thinner, over the winter.

Note to Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino: Don't be afraid to drop a bunt once a millennium.

I like Gary Matthews, but the guy has more trouble with names than Buddy Ryan.

Did anyone get the license of that auto that was shining its headlights on Geoff Geary in Monday's eighth inning?

Cheap tix, good crowd. The Cleveland Indians played home games this week 400 miles from home, in Milwaukee.

They charged $10 a ticket and were anticipating crowds of 1,000 or so.

Yet on Wednesday, their game with the Angels drew 19,031 fans, a total that was better than crowds that night in Atlanta (15,631), Baltimore (13,288), Pittsburgh (9,959), Toronto (15,218) and Florida (10,883).

Price your product right and people will come.


Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com.

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