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My Good Walk Spoiled

SANDBAGGER 1. Someone who disguises a strength or skill in order to gain a competitive edge. 2. A sneaky hustler who deliberately plays well below his abilities just to position himself in a future event. 3. A desperate cheater who posts bogus scores to secure a favorable handicap.

I am smack dab in the middle of one of the greatest controversies in the 40-year history of the Men’s Industrial Golf League. And after pleading my innocence the past twelve months, I am hoping this article will silence the critics and nip everything in the bud. This entire debacle stems from two consecutive nine-hole rounds I posted last spring.

OK. I opened up the 2017 MIGL season with a putrid 48. My worst nine-hole score since I was fourteen. It was the first time I picked up a club in two years, and I obviously struggled with my swing in the freezing cold. Tops. Shanks. Yips. Whiffs. Duffs. Slices and hooks. You name it. I had them all. Nothing went right during my miserable return. It was extremely embarrassing, and I cried out loud. I seriously thought about retiring from the game completely. Do you really think I shot a 48 on purpose? SANDBAGGER.

The following week I was simply out for some sort of redemption. I really didn’t do anything different. I only replaced my parka with a fleece vest. It was a brand new day, and my swagger suddenly returned. I was in good spirits, and my performance showed.

I did my very best to forget about my prior mishaps. I kept things simple and in perspective. I got off to a blazing start and made three birdies in the first four holes. My game was extra sharp that particular evening. I was crushing my drives and holing several lengthy putts. I was in the zone and played flawless golf. It reminded me of the days of old when I was actually decent.

I managed to tap in for par on the very last hole. My fellow competitors congratulated me on a 34 GROSS. Two under par is a great round, but I didn’t celebrate or sign any autographs. I wasn’t prepared for everyone’s reaction when I made my way to the bar, however. Word had already spread that I just set a new MIGL record with a NET 24. I shattered the previous mark by three strokes. What a SANDBAGGER.

For those who don’t golf here, it is in a shell. A HANDICAP is a numerical measure of a golfer’s ability. It is used to calculate a NET score from the number of strokes actually played. Handicaps allow players of different proficiencies to compete against each other on somewhat equal terms. HANDICAPS are good, but SANDBAGGERS are bad.

The MIGL and many others use a simple method in calculating a player’s handicap. They take 80% of the average GROSS scores in relation to par. Again. This was only the second week, so we didn’t have much to work with. The numbers reset to zero at the start of a new season. My MIGL handicap the night of my controversial 34 was a ten. 80% of 48-36 is 9.6. SANDBAGGER.

I must say there is absolutely no glory in winning the NET. Nor did I feel any pride when they presented me with the 2017 MIGL Low NET award. I secretly gave it to my son who proudly displays the eight-inch trophy in his room. I am not looking forward to the day he asks what it is for. I’m doomed.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, and words will never hurt. But I am what they call a sensitive golfer, and all of this name calling needs to end. I never intended any of this to happen, but several continue to refer to me as a SANDBAGGER. The MIGL even adopted a new scoring policy called the SPENCER RULE to protect the game’s integrity.

Look. I didn’t swing and miss from the middle of the fairway on purpose nor did I want to push all of those short putts. I simply had a terrible round of golf. I seriously didn’t try to snap hook that tee shot into the prison nor did I mean to play PLINKO in the trees to the left of seven. I’m not a SANDBAGGER. I just sucked. Will someone please teach me how to hit out of these $650k bunkers? I still haven’t figured it out.

Here’s to another successful MIGL season with my friends on Thursday nights. It’s great to be back boys. Cheers.

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