The final installment of Gilagolf’s The Species of Golfers series.
11. The Joker
The Joker is everyone’s favourite species of golfer. Except when you are betting. Here’s a guy that understands one of the core fundamentals of gilagolf theory: No matter how many times we practice, we will still suck. It’s a fact. Unless you are a pro, or someone who’s striving to be a pro, you will come to a day when you just plain suck. Look at Tiger at Quail Hollow. He sucked. So, as a golfer, you respond by:
a) Furiously tomahawk your clubs on the ground and spout the most flowery language possible to everyone and to the sky
b) Laugh it off, implement gilagolf theory that we all suck, and play better.
It is proven when someone plays without pressure of performing well, he plays better.
Characteristics: The Joker has a gift of looking at golf and not taking it too seriously. They can range from really lousy players; or some pretty good ones, but who don’t get too worked up when he shoots a quintuple bogey in a par 3. They are invariably relaxed and they are prone to chatter. They are the Freddie Couples of your group, where they will laugh at themselves and laugh with others.They are not so worried about the golf game itself, they are more concerned with the overall group fun that everyone has. They are masters of positive thinking and will try everything on the course, including hitting a ball embedded under a waterfall or going for an impossible one-on just for fun. They are also unpredictable, and often throw the more serious golfers off with their antics, if they are not reigned in or managed properly. While generally popular, the Joker can be a downright distraction, especially when he squats and clucks like a chicken in celebrating his birdie putt.
What to do if you have one in your flight: When you have a joker, you generally have lots of fun. Even when the course is crap or the weather is storming or when the sun is slowly peeling the skin off your back and boiling you; the Joker remains a Joker and you get your share of laughter. Enjoy the ride, especially when he shanks his ball and murders a caddie, or his clubs fly further than the ball, or when he topples into the water trying to hit an impossible half sunken ball: prepare to be entertained. Be careful if you are taking up a bet with a Joker on your side. His plus can be a negative when he starts playing like an idiot and going for the impossible shots when you are 3 down 3 to go and playing for RM1000. You will wish you can carve his brains out with a rusted 3 iron. They are generally poor gamblers, but they are the best to bring along if you have beginners or you just want to have a general good time.
What to do if you are a Joker: Be who you are. Golf needs people who doesn’t get too angry over a bad shot. We need less Tiger Woods primadonas out there who curses and cusses etc. We need people who can joke around, see the game for what it is (a pain in the a$$ that for some reason we keep playing), and know that golf can be a game of fun and not intimidate first timers. Be the golf evangelist, never make fun out of malice, and bring the game to all those who says golf is for stuffy, old, overweight idiots or for a black guy who has a hot wife, yet goes after old looking pornstars.
We need to bring back the positive image into the game, dude!!
12. The Hacker
We leave this species to the end, because this species is the most important one in the golf ecosystem. The Hacker. The beginner. The newbie. The Sui-Yee. We need to respect and take care of this species because they are the most vulnerable species ever, without which, the race of golfers will not survive past 2012. Hackers can come in different age, size, shapes and gender. Hackers can be new to golf, or they can be guys playing for x number of years but still suck. Look at Charles Barkeley. He’s the God of Hackers. In fact, every hacker has a picture or a wooden carving of Sir Charles with his amputated half swing and retarded follow through in his golf bag.
Characteristics: A hacker is anyone who plays more than 110. A semi hacker can be a guy who can’t break 100. Either way, these guys are charting their way through the golf world and they need good mentors, friends, and people to encourage them. After all, we were all once hackers. A hacker is generally very positive about golf, even though he’s found digging his own grave in the sand bunker or 6 putting from 6 feet…because a negative hacker will drop out of the game in a second. Hackers do not usually have a good grasp of their own skills, and always think they can easily hit the ball 250 meters and carve a sharp draw to land softly onto the green and spin back. When that obviously does not occur, they shake their heads and try again. And again. And again. The learning curve of hackers is severely limited by his extremely vivid imagination of playing like the black guy who has a hot wife, but goes for old looking pornstars.
There’s also a sub-species of negative hacker. These are guys who have been playing lousy golf for so long, they have lost their lustre and pride for the game. They are still hackers, but they are very depressed because they suck and they don’t know how to improve, or how to stop the game. It’s quite rare, but I’ve seen people who play week in and week out, horrendous golf and they keep saying, “I HATE this game! GOLF is stupid! I am going to quit!!!” But they are still there, for some weird reason, unable to stop playing the game that causes them so much pain: like a loveless marriage, or a plastic surgery gone wrong. Beware of the Negative Hacker. They are the only known species that will depress the Joker, so imagine what he will do to you!
What to do if you have one in your flight: Treasure the hacker because they carry the future of golf on their shoulder. They can be golf’s biggest supporter, especially if they are encouraged and given the proper training. Never destroy their spirit. Give tips at the right time (please do not be a cock-talker) but otherwise, let them enjoy the game, for all the pain and sorrows it brings, and the joy of hitting their first straight drive, or sinking a long putt. The best is to pair them up with a Teacher, or a Joker; never a Cock-Talker, never another Negative Hacker. You need to manage them though. Teach them the rules, the ethics. Especially if they are playing so slow, or end up looking for their RM1 ball like they are diamonds. Give them the ground rules: Keep up and we will all have fun. Nobody likes a hacker who takes his hacking so seriously that we have 20 flights piled up behind waiting for him to finally hit the darn ball. This includes hackers who take 45 seconds from address to actually hit a ball. I know one personally, and his personal best was one minute before he hit. He took 3 practice swings of practice swings! He’s practice swinging his practice swing!! WHAT?!? We managed to hurry him up by threatening to run our buggy over his balls. Not his golf balls.
What to do if you are a Hacker: If you are a hacker, the best advice is to keep up. Most golfers don’t mind if you suck, because they also suck now and then. It’s only when you suck and play golf like you’re playing for the Masters tournament. There are hackers who read putts like Jim Furyk (darn slow), but when asked why they hold the putter in front of them (plumbing), they have NO IDEA. They also don’t know why they squat here and there, because if you’re hacker, listen: THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE, JUST HIT THE DANG BALL, YOU IDIOT. Everyone hates a hacker who thinks he’s a Player. Other than that, if you are a Negative Hacker, do the world a favor and hide your head in the first toilet you find…you’re done with the game. Golf doesn’t need people who hate the game, we have enough haters already who says Golf is not a sport.
Otherwise, for the Hacker, welcome to the wonderful world of Golf and may your stay here be filled with birdies and eagles!