What kind of golf nerd are you (part 1)?
by Quincy Adams Wagstaff, Ph.D
Nerd: an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit.
Hello. My name is Quincy and I am a Golf Nerd.
Golf is a selective addiction. While it has been known to interfere with work, breakup couples, and ignite anger and depression, it can also be healthy for the individual, as it brings pleasure into life.
In these articles, I’ll use the term “Golf Nerd”. A Golf Nerd is an avid player who identifies strongly with one aspect of golf and devotes excessive amounts of time, thought and physical activity pursuing their interest.
There is no guarantee that the time spent engaged in any aspect of golf addiction will improve the golfer’s score or skill set. In fact, we find that becoming a Golf Nerd often prevents game improvement. Has anyone really gotten better by trying a different swing, or swings, every time they play?
The list below shows many (but not all) of the Golf Nerd subsets with a brief description of the affectation. In future issues, I will write about individual subsets using the stories of real golfers and the experiences they’ve had living their obsessions.
In Part 2, I will make myself the guinea pig. I have three categories in which I’m a Golf Nerd. The first on the list is one of the three and what I will write about next. I invite any readers to contact me with their stories of Golf Nerdism at QAWPHD@aol.com, and I will relay your experiences for the entertainment of others’.
The Perfect 14-Club Correlation – The player believes that by choosing the correct combination of woods, irons, etc. he will come up with the 14 clubs that will produce the best score for a particular course. This is one of my nerdisms. I choose my 14 from two drivers; four fairway woods; three hybrids; a specially made driving iron; 10 irons (1-pw); eight gap/sand wedges; four putters and a left-handed six-iron. I’ve used all 32, and will carry 19 when playing a practice round or strange course.
The Putter Paradigm – The belief that every putter has a finite number of “sinks”. The more putters one accumulates, the better one will putt.
Wedge World – Grinding wedges to specific curves, angles and bounce in the belief that they will chip and pitch like Phil Mickelson.
It’s Not How You Play, It’s How You Look – The golfer falls in love with the beauty of the shape, color and finish of the club. 16-handicaps playing no-offset muscle back blades make up a big portion of this category.
DRACULA (Design, Routing, Architecture, Construction, USGA standards, Layout, Agronomy) – The rabid study of all things that go into designing, building and maintaining a golf course. This is often followed by a spirited verbal battle, with biting comments, over a course’s quality. Usually several people are sucked into the discussion.
Statistics – Believing one’s success can be boiled down to mathematical analysis. Tony LaRussa, after seeing the movie “Moneyball” was asked how he decides which parks he positions Lance Berkman in right field and which in left. His answer was, “We measure the amount of territory between the foul lines and railings. Then we measure the distance from the foul pole to the deepest part of right and left center. We take into account the height of the fences and divide those numbers by b.s. Then I put him wherever I want.”
The Club Savant – Knows all the technical aspects of his clubs. It doesn’t help.
This One Time at Band Camp – This player never stops talking about past shots.
See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me – “You’ve got to try this driver. It feels so pure.” “How do you hit it?” “Okay I guess”
I Don’t Believe in Santa Claus, Winter Rules or Playing it Down – Two opposite types of players. One plays preferred lies at Augusta National in April. The other won’t move the ball during a rainy winter in Portland.
The Hawk and the Tiger – Assumes the on-course persona of one of these players. Be vewy, vewy quiet when playing with these types.
Swing Thoughts and Theories – Have you ever read “The Golfing Machine”? He has, multiple times, plus every other instruction book or magazine article ever written. Blessed with a great memory, this player has the same odds of producing consistently great swings as hitting the lottery.
Training Aids – Owns them all. Mostly to add distance. If you totaled the guaranteed gains, he’d drive it 1,200 yards.
The Distance Trollop – Manipulates loft, hand action and brute force to hit the ball further. “Did you see that? That seven-iron must have gone 200 yards.” “You know you’re right. It’s 30 yards left of the green, way past the pin and if the lake on the next hole hadn’t stopped it, it might’ve gone 220.”