“Gambling is part of the game. It always has been and it always will be.” – 1993 PGA Champion Paul Azinger
Yes, the week before the New Year is a time for reflection, but it is also a time to look forward. In other words, this is a week for self-examination.
In my particular case, I would say that 2018 was a very good year for me personally. My entire family is healthy. My 1-year-old granddaughter is a joy. I have a great group of friends. The KC Chiefs finally have a franchise quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
On the other end of the self-examination spectrum is my golf game. There were a few specific highlights – great fun with my partner, Craig, in our club’s senior member-guest; a trip to Ireland for an unforgettable six rounds; four “miracle” rounds in the 70s; a nice bounce-back round (a both-balls-count 9-over 149) with my partner Peter in our member-member, and a swing thought from our head pro, Andy Fisher, that continues to consistently give me a little more distance (When Andy was standing right behind me, he said: “Turn your shirt buttons toward me.”)
We all play golf for a combination of reasons, including the physical and mental challenges, being outside, the beauty of a great course like ours and, of course, the competition. There are various types of competition.
- You are competing against yourself in an ongoing effort to reduce your handicap. (This year I started as a 13, went down to an 11 for about two months, then I slumped back to a 13.)
- You are competing against the golf course. As 1930 Grand Slam winner Bobby Jones said, “The toughest opponent of all is Old Man Par. He’s a patient soul who never shoots a birdie and never incurs a bogey. And if you would travel the long road with him, you must be patient, too.”
- There is tournament competition where you are going up against the field in a variety of formats.
- And finally, there is the weekly betting format when you are playing with your friends for a few dollars.
There are lots of betting golf games, but regardless of the specific format, weekly golf demands putting a few dollars on the line. I can’t imagine playing “just for fun.” As fellow club member, Bill Gilbert was famous for saying, “Any bet is better than no bet.”
How much you bet is really irrelevant at my club. After comparing cards, it’s not the amount that matters, it’s whether or not you are “taking in” or “paying out.” Betting is action, but more importantly, it creates interaction among friends. (“Did you really birdie No. 14?” “I still can’t believe I three-putted 18.”)
This past year I kept a log of my golf bets. If you ask almost any golfer about betting, he will say, “I probably broke even this year – give or take a few dollars.” Well, I wish I could say 2018 was a break-even year for me! In 81 “friendly” club rounds this year, I lost $214.50.” Given the fact that I won $39.50 in 2017, 2018 was a VERY BAD YEAR!
I have a couple of excuses for this year’s poor showing, but primarily I blame the pairings. My partners simply failed to overcome my mistakes.
However, I am bound and determined to be a winner next year. I will do so by taking lessons regularly, spending more practicing my short game and becoming more upbeat. For 2019, I resolve to be our club’s Tony Robbins with thoughts like: “The path to success is to take massive determined action.”
2019 Here I Come!
If weather makes it impossible for you to play this weekend and you are in need of some action, then take Oklahoma and the 14 points against Alabama and get all over Clemson giving the 12 ½ against Notre Dame! My Chiefs will win and COVER the 13 ½ against Oakland.
Bet Away! Happy New Year!