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A golf lover's Christmas wish
By John Moody

What if Santa were a golf pro, or at least an expert, a golf guru of sorts? What if you wrote him your Christmas wishes for this holiday season? What if right after he read your letter, he had a big, hearty laugh at your expense? And then, what if he wrote you back? The whole exchange might go something like this.

Dear Santa:

I am a golf nut, certifiable, totally. Let's get right to it, big red guy; I've got a number of things on my list this year that I think will put my game right over the top. I'm one of these guys who has a lot of ability, a lot, really I do. I shoot mostly in the low 100s, but if I could just get a break here and there I could be tour material. Seriously.

Let's face it, the guys on tour are so spoiled. If I could play on courses as well-groomed as the ones they play on, I'd be playing for money, too. No big deal. Heck, every putt of mine would go in, too, if we could get our greens here on the prairie to Stimp at 11.

First off, I could really use some new head covers - not for my woods, but for my irons. I had some color-coded ones that I was really proud of, but I think some of the kids working in the cart barn stole them right off my clubs last summer. Word is they filled 'em up with mud and sunk 'em to the bottom of the pond on No. 13. Punks.

My revenge will come when I dump my big-shot sales job to go PGA-ing my way around the world. I'll have a closet full of shiny shirts and double-knits before you know it. When I get my fake Rolex and a pinky ring, the big-haired babes will come running. There'll be no coming back to this outpost.

OK, I'm gonna need one of them swing sticks; you know the kind that you swing over and over to get your plane just right and your elbow in the right spot. I think that's what they do. Or do they just make you strong? Anyhoo, I think that's how Vijay went to the top ... swinging one of those big dudes.

Another thing that's really cool is one of those drivers with a mini hedge trimmer on the bottom. I could get myself in some long grass and get myself right out again. The boys would never even notice, not the way they hit the light beer every round. Of course, once I'm on tour, that'll have to go, but it's a means to an end.

What do you think about a Segway for my golf bag? They cost several grand. That's a lot of cabbage, I know. Maybe we could go halvsies on it. Hey, it would get me out of the cart and walking again. Did I mention I'm about 62 pounds overweight? I don't think it hurts my game, though, kind of centers me, really. I've been driving the ball on average about 237, so I'm not far from where I need to be.

Any thoughts on the hottest putting aid I've seen in years? It looks like a pair of handcuffs that fits around your forearms. If it doesn't fix my putter problems, maybe I can use it to torture a couple of rivals in my group, attach it while they're snoozing between shots late on the back nine.

Also, I like long tees, really long tees. You got any that are knee-high? It'd be less distance to bend over, which would save my back for lengthening my drives.

Maybe as a stocking stuffer I could have one of those handheld ball-finding gizmos? I hear they work better than a bird dog scouring a thicket for rooster ring-necks.

Anything you might be able to send my way to give as gifts to my kids would be greatly appreciated. Annika May and Lonnie Lee Tiger sure love golf like their dad. My ex isn't too happy about that, so bring it on.

Very sincerely yours in golf,

Slamming Stan Hackett

Springfield, Ill.

Dear Slammer:

What a charming note.

Give it up, brother. Not your job; you'll want to keep that. Give up your dreams of the pro tour and just enjoy the game. Here's a couple of tips from the old North Pole pro that have helped my game.

Hire a caddie - sounds like the walking would do you a lot of good, and you'll introduce a young kid to the grand game.

Hire a local PGA professional to help with your game. They're fonts of knowledge, and they're almost always good guys and gals.

Get a driver you can count on with a loft and a shaft that you can handle. You don't need a 7-degree/X shaft, brother.

Get yourself a good wedge game. That comes with hours of practice. You'll especially want to learn how to hit your sand wedge with confidence from everywhere. Remember, those short shots are worth the same on the card as the long bombers from a mile out.

Lastly, and perhaps most important of all, my well-fed grasshopper, get yourself a putter you love. A putter you love ... now, who on God's green golf course could ask for anything more?

Warmest regards, be seeing you soon.

Santa "Long Ball" Claus


Story published Friday, December 5, 2008 ( Volume 3, Number 7 )

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