How To: Hit Yourself In The Face With A Golf Ball

Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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68 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    Right between the g-d eyes too!

    Excellent drive!Report

  2. Murali says:

    Don’t you use a wood for driving?Report

    • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Murali says:

      The short answer is: yes.

      The longer answer is: but, sometimes you don’t tee off with a driver, even if the hole is one that might be long enough to justify a driver’s use. However, sometimes accuracy is of greater issue than distance, which is where clubs with slightly more facial loft (the part of the club that actually makes contact with the ball) than a conventional driver are chosen. These are generally known as fairway woods, but sometimes players like to use hybrids, or driving irons, or irons.

      Another shorterish answer might be: yes, but I’d never hit a driver from where I hit the driving iron from originally, because that wouldn’t be safe at all.Report

  3. I could do that safely, because my slice is so bad that I’d hit the neighbor three doors down.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      My friends joke that I am so bad at golf I could find the water hazard on a driving range.

      And due to visiting a driving range not long after heavy rains, I did in fact shank it so bad it went into a ditch filled with water.

      I have, more than once, hit the ball only for it to land behind me. (Thanks tree! Thanks decorative rock feature!). Thankfully, I have not yet injured myself playing golf — but I also gave it up some time back, so I think I just never put in the hours necessary.Report

    • Boegiboe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      I took a semester of golf in college. We practiced driving on this really long field that had trees along the right side, 40-50 yards away. We were hitting the balls so they would fly parallel to the treeline. When I tried this, the ball disappeared from sight, and a few seconds later we heard the “tok” of my ball hitting the trees. From the sound, it was clear that my ball had traveled further perpendicular to my attempted drive than along the correct direction.

      I have not golfed at all since finishing that class.Report

  4. Burt Likko says:

    Fantastic wound. Too bad you have to be the butt of your own joke to tell the story of how you got it.

    I didn’t like using my hybrid for a second shot, until I did. It was that first pure shot I got with the new club, you know how good that shot feels, how beautiful the ball looks in the air, how happy you are when you clear the hazard and it bounces, once, twice, on the apron, and then rolls up onto the green and holy crap you got on in two on the longest hole on the course. The pride. The satisfaction you get when you turn to your buddies and say, “Yeah, I think that’ll play.”

    So while I admire your cojones for fearlessly attempting a one-iron, I’m getting pretty fond of this hybrid trend, so give it a shot there, @arnold-palmer!Report

  5. Damon says:

    I’ve never understood the desire to put a small ball into a small hole on a field of grass. I’ve watched it occasionally on TV and been mildly interested.

    Tennis, on the other had always held more attraction. Of course, when I grew up watching it, the ladies were skirts, so there was the added benefit of seeing their legs. Pervy, but I am a dude.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Damon says:

      I too am fortunate enough to lack the golf gene. It turns out I find target sports generally uninteresting. I dabbled in archery in college, but didn’t take it very far. Fencing was more fun, but that is hard to do casually. It is a bit like chess. I am strictly a wood pusher, and at this point not even a good one. At one point in my life I thought I might want to get serious about chess. Then I looked into what it would take and realized that I didn’t want to devote my life to it. I respect the guys who do, but unless you can’t imagine being as passionate about anything else, the cost-benefit ratio sucks.Report

      • Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        Chess is a goddamned boring game.
        I know game designers, and they can’t stand playing chess
        [and when they do, they start trolling the opponent, because it is Just So Easy in chess — “But you made a non optimal move!?!”]Report

        • Glyph in reply to Kim says:

          For such a boring game, it sure has been around a long time and seems to occupy a lot of people who have brainpower to spare.Report

        • Chris in reply to Kim says:

          I know game designers, and they can’t stand playing chess

          She said, revealing that she knows no game designers.Report

          • Patrick in reply to Chris says:

            Oddly enough, I’ll (partially) go with Kim on this one.

            There are three types of game designers: those that try to make every game into some variant of chess, those who try to make a better version of chess, and those who dislike chess.

            Chess is a combinatorics problem, and not a particularly interesting one, iff’n you ask me. Not that anybody did.Report

            • Kim in reply to Patrick says:


              Nobody feels the need to think that checkers is some grand intelligence test, or just more than a simple game that’s fun to play.

              If people would stop taking chess so seriously, I swear I’d (mostly!) stop ragging on it.Report

            • Chris in reply to Patrick says:

              It remains perhaps the best medium for studying expertise in the wild, so to speak, in part because there are so many experts, but also because it’s complex enough to have plenty of variance between novice and expert, and confined enough to be able to evaluate performance quantitatively with relative ease.Report

              • Kim in reply to Chris says:

                A rather good point, and one that hadn’t crossed my mind.
                On the continuum of novice to expert, where the hell do you put a troll? Someone who deliberately makes non-optimal moves in order to distract and force errors from their opponent?

                I’m not sure you can even really say that they’re playing the same game as everyone else… [Chess takes itself rather too seriously, doesn’t it?]

                [Of course, were this poker, of course trolling’s allowed — even encouraged, and considered the mark of a good player.]Report

              • Chris in reply to Kim says:

                Chess trolls?Report

              • Kim in reply to Chris says:

                Yes. Not half as wicked dangerous as political trolls, of course, as Chess is, after all, just a game.

                [This may fall under the category of “get certain people bored enough and they will troll you for the amusement value alone”…]Report

      • Damon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        Now, I could get serious about some “target” sports, but sadly, I lack the cash flow to support multiple ownership of machine guns, the high cost of ammo, etc., otherwise, I’d be out in the desert blowing stuff up with my russian tank, my quad four ww2 anti aircraft machine guns, and my grenade launcher.Report

        • Kim in reply to Damon says:

          It’s relatively cheap to own a bunker full of guns, if you simply call them inventory.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

          Of course, owning & firing small mortars & canons is pretty easy & remarkably free of regulation in most places.Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Damon says:

          As a teenager I lived in a Marine town in the Mojave Desert. Going out into the boonies with guns and blasting away was considered a perfectly reasonable recreational activity. Then when I was in college, whenever I got wind that the ROTC was going to go on a field trip and shoot M-16s (or one time an M-60) I was right there. (They let random students go along, presumably regarding it as marketing.) So don’t get me wrong. I enjoy things that go bang. What red-blooded American doesn’t? But actually trying to hit something specific? And spending time practicing to get good at it? This doesn’t do it for me. Other people enjoy it, and good for them. My hobbies are considered eccentric and uninteresting by many people, so who am I to judge?Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            I’m actually pretty good up to medium rifle range, but long range requires more practice than I have time or range for.

            Personally I just like hitting things that give me a nice audial or visual reward (steel plates, tannerite, balloons, etc.).Report

    • Kim in reply to Damon says:

      Sam’s weird, because Sam actually sounds like he started playing golf as a game.

      Most people who start playing golf want to be the sort of people who play golf… the business/policy makers who use the damned golf course to cut business deals.

      Very, very few people play golf as an actual sport.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kim says:

        Like the chess comment, I don’t know why I am responding to this nonsense, but this is nonsense. Plenty of people play golf because like many sports, it’s a challenge requiring physical coordination and mental focus to get a projectile to a target, and it’s a nice way to get some fresh air and sunshine without breaking too much of a sweat or wrecking your knees.

        Anything else, besides chess and golf, that you’d like to write off? Let’s just get them all out there.Report

        • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

          I can’t wait to hear her views on badminton and synchronized swimming.Report

          • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

            I don’t even PLAY chess or golf, and I’m annoyed.Report

            • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

              You’d be surprised how useful a gift “being annoying” is…
              Annoyed people have a nasty tendency to make unforced errors.Report

            • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

              Why? At least with chess I’m citing someone who has designed enough games (including ones you’ve played, I don’t doubt) that he has the right to judge it.

              As for golf… understanding what the social role that golf plays, and how that motivates certain people to take it up for sport… that’s just a bit of anthropology.

              If you do have some stats that says that a majority of people taking up golf aren’t simply poseurs, I’d honestly like to see it.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris says:

            I can’t take any game that involves hitting a Shuttlecock seriously.Report

            • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Well, and that’s the crux of it isn’t it?
              I like badminton, in that I have reflexes that are actually able to hit the birdie, unlike a lot of sports, where it’s wild flailing and possibly eventually making contact.

              Not a sport to take terribly seriously, no… but it’s hardly FUN if you’re taking ANY sport seriously! (You should hear my friend the card sharp… he loathes playing poker, as it’s a ton of hard work. [Making the dyslexic/dyscalcic count cards is torture])Report

          • Dave in reply to Chris says:


            I can’t wait to hear her views on badminton and synchronized swimming.

            As well as proper squat form and her 500 lb dead lift.


        • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

          Who’s writing golf off again? I think Andy Carnegie had it right when he deliberately crafted a golf course where he could completely crush his opponents and make better business deals as a result.

          There’s gaming, and then there’s metagaming.

          Anyone here played Oakmont? It’s still about the most difficult course the US Open plays, and it’s almost never won by someone who hasn’t spent the time to memorize the course (often local), and nearly never won by folks who pull off multiple wins in a season.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Kim says:

            I think Andy Carnegie had it right when he deliberately crafted a golf course where he could completely crush his opponents…

            I occasionally played a small nine-hole municipal course in southern Iowa that had been laid out by a local with an apparently incurable slice. Fading off to the right never got you in serious trouble, but there were nightmares if you missed to the left :^)Report

          • switters in reply to Kim says:

            Last six winners of the US Open at Oakmont:

            Angel Cabrera (8 PGA/Euro Wins and 2 Majors)
            Ernie Els (48 PGA/Euro Wins and 4 majors)
            Larry Nelson (10 PGA Wins and 3 majors)
            Johnny Miller (26, 2)
            Jack Nicklaus (73, 18)
            Ben Hogan (64, 9)

            Yep – Mostly local unknowns who have never won multiple times in a year. Thats five hall of famers with a 6th (Angel) debateably on the way.Report

            • Kim in reply to switters says:

              Cabrera won his first title at Oakmont, Nelson his second, and Miller his third. That was Ernie Els first win in America too. And Jack Nicklaus’ first professional win.

              Still saying they aren’t unknowns?Report

              • switters in reply to Kim says:

                you said “almost never won by someone who hasn’t spent the time to memorize the course (often local), and nearly never won by folks who pull off multiple wins in a season.”

                None of those 6 were locals. Only once was the US Open at Oakmont won by a local, in 1935 (you said often).

                Care to tell me which of those six has failed to win multiple times in in a year?Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Glyph says:

          I wouldn’t put the chess comment the way Kim did, but it isn’t entirely untrue. Chess hits this middle ground where it is simple enough to approach it as a pattern recognition game, yet complex enough that it is still non-trivial. For those so inclined and willing to put in the time to master the pattern recognition, this is a sweet zone. For those who prefer to approach games as a new logic problem every time, this is uninteresting. I’m more different strokes for different folks than is Kim, but there is a kernel of truth there.Report

          • Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            My friend the game designer is not named Bri, and does not spend most of her working day playing Peggle. (Yes, I am being serious, here.)
            Different strokes for different folks, indeed.
            There’s plenty of place for easy games. Even some space for boring ones.

            At least chess wasn’t designed to be boring. Monopoly is designed to be “the game that never ends” (no, not literally, but it was designed in the Depression, and a game that went the whole day was a fine pastime — I had a monopoly-clone as a kid that was designed to end in under two hours, and it’s a lot more fun to play).Report

        • Guy in reply to Glyph says:

          Isn’t golf actually really bad for your knees/elbows? Or at least not remarkably better than some other sports?

          Of course it won’t do much of anything to your ankles, and head injuries are pretty un–


          • Glyph in reply to Guy says:

            Well, anything where you run can wreck your knees, so I just assumed golf was easier on them, what with the walking/cart-riding/old-peopling.Report

            • Guy in reply to Glyph says:

              Golf seems like it might put a bunch of weird torques on the knees, but that could also just be me back-explaining to save my correctness and/or not understanding how to swing a golf club.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Guy says:

            Back injuries are the most common. Also the one injury that it’s pretty much impossible to play with. Eg, Tiger Woods has withdrawn from tournaments he started eight times in his career — five of them for spine-related problems.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

              It’s like your back is connected to everything. 🙂

              Seriously, back problems are the worst. I’ve just got muscle issues — no slipped disks or anything, and it nails me about once a year. Just walking and sitting are painful. I couldn’t imagine exercising.Report

  6. Sam Wilkinson says:

    I just shamelessly updated this post to change grammatical and spelling errors. THE INTERNET IS MAGIC!Report

  7. Mark Boggs says:

    “Woah, I really had better focus on getting the ball up into the air on this next one.”

    I would think you’d been playing the game long enough to know that trying to get the ball up in the air is about the worst thing you could do to actually get the ball up in the air.

    I suppose you know it now though, huh?Report

    • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mark Boggs says:

      @mark-boggs I’m a high-ball hitter as it is, so all I really meant by this was making sure that the clubface got under the ball per my standard swing. I’d like to diagnose what happened to me – I think maybe I thinned it – but I really can’t remember.Report

  8. Slade the Leveller says:

    To add insult to injury (literally), that is a 2 shot penalty, sir.Report

  9. Brandon Berg says:

    Seriously, back problems are the worst. I’ve just got muscle issues — no slipped disks or anything, and it nails me about once a year. Just walking and sitting are painful. I couldn’t imagine exercising.

    I think I have this. A couple times over the past several years, my back muscles have, for no apparent reason and with no apparent catalyst, just decided to go nuts for a few seconds, resulting in excruciating pain for a day or so. I’ve found that the key to a quick recovery is getting up and active as soon as I can take it. Doing some moderate back exercises (e.g., deadlifting 50 pounds or so, progressing to dumbbell swings) causes an immediate and noticeable reduction in pain, so that I can more or less resume normal activities, albeit with significant residual pain, later the same day.Report