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Michael Gracie

60 Degrees of Separation

The funny thing about the ultimate head game golf is you will never admit the source of failure lies within. And if you are even an alternate on Team Thick Wallet you will occasionally infer always claim your equipment is the impetus for your woe.

OIL PATCH: Dang, usually your short game is spot on.

YOURS TRULY: Yea every shot is running off. I think I need a lob wedge, maybe a sixty-degree.

OIL PATCH: No you don’t, you just need to practice. You know, like you did with the driver. Look how you’re splitting fairways now.

YOURS TRULY: Maybe you’re right.

Two hours and a half-dozen flubbed pitches later …

YOURS TRULY: Jeezus your short play was otherworldly today. Mine blew.

OIL PATCH: Practice makes perfect!

YOURS TRULY: You must have picked up eight strokes on me just around the greens. What’s that club you were using?

OIL PATCH: Dunno … but clubs don’t make the man.

YOURS TRULY: No seriously, what’s the loft on that magic wedge of yours?

OIL PATCH: [SMIRKING] … 60 degrees.

YOURS TRULY: [THINKING TO HIMSELF] … Jackass.

sixty degree wedge

Spiteful Purchase … meet SeƱor Golf Bag

MG signing off (assured that spending is the key to victory, bar tab notwithstanding)

The Nothing Missing is a Matter of Perspective Saturday

The phone rang just before the turn.

THE COUNTRY FOLK: What are you doing?

YOURS TRULY: About to tee off – hold…I’m putting the phone down for a second.

The cold-forged four-iron strikes with baby soft touch. As it should, barring operator error. The ball starts to the right, then picks up the crossing breeze. One hundred eighty-nine yards later the dimpled sphere is sitting twenty sum odd feet from the pin.

YOURS TRULY: I’m on…what’s up?

THE COUNTRY FOLK: Just got home from the high country. Had a buck pinned down, but it was getting stormy.

Then laughter, as the parties concur we couldn’t be further apart regarding the morning’s activities. Except for the individual enjoyment piece, the mission of which was still not complete.

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MG signing off (thinking it wasn’t elk hunting with a longbow, but it’ll still do)

Trophy Scorecards

I’ve seen scorecards on the walls of golfers’ homes and offices. Trophies, they’ve been memorialized against fine wood, trimmed in gold and behind glass or epoxy, to signify an extraordinary round.

This was not one of those scorecards

This was not one of those scorecards

MG signing off (because the company was great, so it just didn’t matter; now throw your bullshit flag)

The Grass is Always Greener

Golf balls, like living some dream, can be elusive. Particularly when the first tee is backed up in the morning, and you pull out the driver hoping to put some space between yourself and those behind. You should know better, because the grass is not only greenest, but at its thickest, around fairway numero uno. Or so it seems.

By the time you hit the turn, chances are you are playing it safe or staring at your umteenth press.

Alternative perspective

Alternative perspective

Just don’t let either become your sole mode of operation, ad infinitum.

MG signing off (because whining about spring runoff is ghey)

Subliminal messaging: Viagra ads turn me off to golf

viagraI watch very little television – viewing is essentially limited to sports, in bars. But some friends have been out of town, and I’ve been doing some dog sitting. They have a big screen TV, and I’ve been passing dog time with it on.

A few days back I saw my, say sixth Viagra ad. And along with it I saw another little notice pop up on the screen which said…

See our ad in Golf Magazine

I’m not much for golf anymore – I spent the lion’s share of my leisure time fly fishing. Just as (if not more) difficult, and the gear is 10X more expensive [insert obvious stupidity of this choice here]. But I will pick up ‘the other sticks’ if a friend needs a fourth.

Call it an unwillingness to accept inevitable aging, or stating (with some measure of bravado) that I just can’t relate to the ‘need’ the ads were trying to convey. But I woke up this morning wondering if I’ll ever bother playing golf again.

Is this the message a sport with declining participation rates (closing in on fly fishing) should be wanting to project?

News you gotta have to end your week – 1/30/09

Or your month

  • TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington is ‘taking a break’ from blogging, and running for his life. While the latter part seems pretty serious, the editor of the venerable Silicon Valley news resource is also blaming a Wall Street Journal property and one of Nick Denton’s gossip columns for some of his woes. And if that’s not enough, Ted Dziuba has called Arrington on the carpet regarding the part of the story dealing with a purportedly known felon who also purportedly owns a gun. We haven’t heard the last of this.
  • Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman says it’s a wonderful time for buyouts. Henry Kravis too says private equity isn’t dead. It may not seem all that obvious, but these guys have a point – valuations are dropping right along with forecasts, which will in part make up for the fact that nobody can borrow like they used to. Further, I think this will play well with the middle-market buyout houses too – I’m sure there are a lot of business out there which the owners (often the founders) would trade a pile of liquidity for right about now.
  • Of the top performing branded pages on Facebook, only two are really brands. I take that back – if you are selling Barack Obama or Homer Simpson collectibles, you should be jumping for joy right now. And not to be outdone by the furious ‘business competition’ (read: frivolous attention mongering) which always exists among venture-backed startups, Facebook itself is the 8th ranked branded page on Facebook.
  • Les Jones asks what if we had inflation, and nobody showed up for the party? The hyperinflation question is being bounded about, and at the same time so is the deflation meme. I suspect that when and/or if the dollar takes such a whacking that an iPod costs $1,000, people are just going to quit buying iPods. Same goes for TVs, autos, etc., although they’ve pretty much quit buying most of that stuff already. I think the tougher question regarding which way prices go is whether or not the US can provide its own staples – a gallon of milk at $20 would be a real problem.
  • Talk of Google’s mysterious GDrive offering is bouncing about again – it’s file access anytime, anywhere. Meanwhile, Joel Spolsky says don’t ever rely on Google Apps for anything mission critical, or even keeping your coffee dates straight. I won’t be using either, regardless of the reliability. And while I don’t believe Google is going to disappear anytime soon, Mark Glaser is warning on Facebook/Twitter dependence, using alternate reasoning for those two ‘businesses’.
  • Last but not least:

  • Moldy Chum finds the final connection between golf and fly fishing, which means there is still hope for you fly fishing folks looking for AMEX and Buick endorsements.
  • And finally…

  • A new study finds alcohol makes men better in the bedroom. Last week we had to be rich. Now we just have to be drunk?
  • Adieu.

    Michael Gracie’s Golf Tips

    Good when playing with yours truly

    I played a lot of golf the past few days. The venue was a pristine Midwestern establishment, compliments of my closest friend. And while some might call me a lucky bastard, you really have to play a round with me once to understand my suffering. I haven’t swung a club in years, and that wound up being a good thing – I lost enough golf balls to ensure my bag would be below the airline baggage weight charge limit. And while I found a foursome of junk-bond trader, cookie dough magnate, and estate planner (swapped for a distressed real estate investor on the last day) damn good company, I now feel the need to set some ground rules for any and all that might play with me in the future.

    Addressing The Ball – An open club face is a “generous” club face when I’m near the tee box – you should open it up as much as possible. I suggest addressing the ball directly with the heel of the club, while pointing the toe of the club in the opposite direction of your target.

    The Swing – The most important maneuver in golf, hence you should pay careful attention to the process. In order to ensure perfect club position and angle for the entire swing, I advise you keep your eye on the point of the club where it attaches to the head, all the way through the backswing. Your back should be facing the target when you begin the downswing, and should remain in that position for the remainder of the swing. At that time you should then shift your gaze from the club head/shaft juncture down toward your toes (as proper foot position is the second most important element in good ball striking). Once halfway through the downswing, bend both elbows and tuck your hands in very close to your chest – keep them there until after a large chunk of turf the ball is in flight.

    Putting – First and foremost, never putt the ball with any club less than 10.5 degrees of loft. For most people, this gives you a wide range of clubs (including many mid-range drivers) for use in putting. Second, everyone knows you must study the green to determine the ball’s future path, but what most people don’t know is that you should mark that path beforehand as well. In my humble opinion, you may want to mark off the line by walking it, toe to heel, from ball to hole. While doing this you may gain some advantage by pressing your foot down firmly with each step – this works especially well with very soft greens (i.e. having been recently rained on), and will also impress the more serious golfers in your group.

    And lastly…

    The Clubhouse – It’s for drinking and playing cards – things you should have been doing instead of playing golf anyway. Make sure to start a tab beforehand.

    Because I’ll certainly be thirsty.