CALGARY, Canada -- When professional athletes are in their off-season they are rewarded with an opportunity to take some time off, reflect on their accomplishments, and do drugs unimpeded by the watchful eye of the media. Interestingly, it is the athletes that continue to practice their skills, as opposed to those who put on aprons and make heroin pies all day, that seem to further their careers. Golfers, especially those living in colder climates, can learn from this.
Due to Canadian winters having somewhat of a satanic nature, people living in the Great White North are forced to abandon the golf courses and take refuge in their igloos or frozen mud huts. It is in these dwellings where evil will battle righteousness. The golfer who chooses to learn will be ready to emerge from his hollow and beat the ever-loving corruption out of his opponents when spring arrives.
The next obvious question then, considering that the ground is frozen 50 feet deep and polar bears are lurking around every corner, is how are we supposed to learn better golf or maintain our skill level in this unbecoming environment? As you'll soon see, there are ways.
We all know that eating too many seals, caribou, or ice otters in the off-season can expand the after dinner roll(s). However, most of us would rather stick our lips on a frozen sign pole than pass up on that second pail of whale blubber. The key to coming out of hibernation and wielding your clubs as if you never took a break requires working in harmony with the excess weight. You can turn your lardage into yardage. The best technique for doing this obligates you to spend many hours in front of the mirror examining and getting comfortable with your rounditude. It is only then that you will be one with your body, thereby granting you the mental fortitude to be one with the ball.
Ice fishing is a close relative of golfing. Similar attitudes, grips, and liver conditioning fundamentals are paramount in both activities. Catching a six-pounder warrants a celebratory spectacle that corresponds to making a birdie. Also, an interlocking grip on the fishing pole has been known to protect the fingers from frostbite. And finally, fermented beverages are known to be an integral component of each sport. Go ice fishing and reap the rewards of a great sport that so wonderfully parallels the game of golf.
When a snowbound golfer picks up the clubs for the first time in spring, a horrific feeling takes control. The clubs feel foreign. They are not friendly, and they treat him that way. Stay friends with your clubs all winter. Use your three-iron to clean up Fido's regurgitation. Use your six-iron to swipe away moldy taco chips on the rug. Use your nine-iron to turn the TV on and off. Use your wedge to open and close the lid on your toilet. Whatever you do - don't reject your clubs or they'll reject you.
Take a righteous approach this winter and dedicate yourself to improving your game. When the snow melts and your house with it, it is a glorious opportunity for you not only to showcase your beautiful physique, but your athletic prowess as well. Just make sure you clean your clubs first.
December 4, 2002
Andrew Penner is a longtime member of the Canadian PGA. Author of "One Flew Over the Caddyshack," he also writes for a number of magazines throughout Canada and the U.S.
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