We have all played with hackers. Shoot! Some of us are hackers! For the sake of arguing, let’s say we’re not the hackers (although for some that may be tough). Hacker friends are different than hacker strangers.
Hacker friends usually just agree with what you claim you did on a particular shot. “I stood right up on that one.” “Yeah, you just came out of that shot.” It doesn’t matter what you claim, the hacker friend in the group always agrees. Hey, how can he argue with any validity? He’s a hacker!
- A different breed of golfer.
Hacker strangers are a different breed. It could be hacker strangers were pros in another life, died and the golf gods brought them back as hackers for revenge. Hey, it could happen. This breed of hacker knows everything about the golf swing. I mean everything. They believe the career shot back on hole number three gives proof to their true playing ability.
Now true, this hacker is a stranger. He may just be having a bad day like, what’s that guy’s name…oh yeah Tiger. But I doubt it. By the time the group reaches the turn, the hacker stranger has now mustered up the intestinal fortitude to begin his free group lessons seminar. If a lady or young person is playing in your foursome, you’ll be saved from the seminar. It’s like a shark smelling blood in the water.
As you approach the tenth tee the hacker’s chest fills with power and you can almost see him pounding his chest with both fists. The group seminar now begins as the stranger hacker begins his summary of your front nine. You can’t say what you’re thinking. ”Hey dude, you better pick up another fifteen pack of balls for the back nine. We’ve got a par five with two water carries.” Instead, you remain courteous to the stranger and occasionally agree with his observations.
As soon as everyone tees off on the tenth hole (of course he was last to hit) his motor begins revving up. The hacker stranger is the only one who ‘had to reload’ because his first may be Out of Bounds. It’s OB all right. No one is going across the street to look for it. Based on his evaluation, your shot down the right side of the fairway in perfect position could put you in a tough club selection. No worries. He can help you.
“What are you gonna hit here? I would probably just hit a three quarter eight iron to the front of the green. It should release and run back to the hole.” You hit your wedge right at the flag. The hacker stranger blares out, “That’s gotta get going. Go baby. Go!” It hits about six or eight feet past the pin and the stranger hacker acknowledges, “You got lucky with that one!”
- Stranger hackers know the course.
Since the stranger hacker has played this course previously, he has a good sense of where to hit every shot. “This next hole requires a tee shot over the trees on the right to give you your best shot to the green. If you want I’ll hit and show you where you want to go.” The hacker tees it up and proceeds to, you guessed it, hit a big snap hook. “I double crossed myself. I was trying to hit a high cut but turned my hands over before my hips let me through the shot. Anyway, over the trees is the trick.”
Next it’s a par four with water to carry at the one fifty mark. For you and your group that’s a fairway wood. This should put everyone about seventy five yards out for a wedge into a well-protected green. The hacker sees everyone hit shots into great position for possible birdie. He pulls out a rusty two iron with the original leather grip which has masking tape holding it onto the shaft. The stranger hacker then swings so hard the veins are popping in his neck and hits a bullet flying about three feet off the ground for the first one hundred yards. Then his bullet begins cutting high and hard right like the Blue Angels leaving an airshow. “Doggone, I left the face open on that one. That happens every time I lock my left knee before my hands get through the shot. Occasionally I stay back on my right foot. I’ve been working that out on the range. I’ll just drop up there where you guys are to save time.”
Later in the round, the hacker hit into a green-side bunker. On the other side of the green is a large body of water inviting errant bunker shots. This ought to be good. As he digs his feet into the sand, he takes several practice swings blasting sand out each time. “I love bunker shots. They’re the easiest shot in golf. You don’t have to hit the ball just the sand about two inches behind it.”
With his first whack at the ball his club digs into the sand and stops like a lumberjack’s ax in the bark of an oak tree. “I was a little steep with that swing. Closed the clubface and shifted my weight before I finished my back swing. These really are the easiest shots in golf.”
Little did we know danger was lurking with the next shot. The hacker gripped the club as if he was the anchor man on a tug-of-war team. He then took a full shoulder turn and with a lightning fast swing caught the ball with the leading edge of his sixty-four degree wedge. Then, before the hacker even finished his swing you heard him scream, “WATCH OUT! FORE! FORE!”
I looked over and saw my buddy’s eyes become bigger than a Harvest Moon on a clear night. Fearing for his life, in a split second my buddy did a face plant on the green. The ball whizzed past his head flying another fifty yards into the lake. The rest of us couldn’t believe what just happened. Without skipping a beat, the hacker announced, “Sorry ‘bout that. I over compensated. I think I get to drop where it crossed into the hazard.”
- Hackers are great drivers of the golf ball.
Well, you’ve reached the first long par five on the back nine. Now, there is a creek crossing the fairway just in front of the tee box but otherwise you can swing away. The hole is too long to reach in two, so everyone pulls out a three wood and puts a nice swing on it. Perfect. But wait, the hacker has reached for his driver which is covered with idiot marks across the top. “What the heck. I’ve been hitting it good all week. Hitting driver here leaves me with just a long iron into this big green.”
The hacker stranger takes a few practice swings. You must admit those swings look great. But they are his practice swings. Why should he use one of those when he can use the ol’ John Daly swing? He commences his back swing almost hitting himself in the head. How will that club get back into position to even make contact? Surprisingly it does! Then you realize why he has so many idiot marks on his driver. The ball pops practically straight up as the hacker almost hits his head again on the follow through. After about ten seconds (which is the time allowed to wait for a ball to fall into the hole) the pop fly falls right into the creek.
“I knew it. I’ve got a new Fujiyama Yokakowa titanium extra stiff shaft in my driver. I’m still trying to get used to it. It has a little stiffer tip than my last driver. This loft is adjusted to seven degrees. My last one was a nine degree and I just hit that thing way too high.” How in heaven’s name could he hit it any higher than he just did?
As everyone is heading to the carts, you hear a voice from over your shoulder, “Hold up guys. I’m gonna hit another one. That just didn’t feel right! Would someone reach in my bag and throw me a ball?” Reaching into his bag you see why he didn’t need to buy any balls at the turn. This guy must have fifty balls in varying conditions and brands in here. “Just grab any one.” So you close your eyes like reaching into the lottery drum for the NBA Draft. Out of his bag of rocks you pull a new Titleist Pro V1x with a little blue circle around the number and toss it to him.
“Thanks man. I found this one deep in the woods right of twelve. You know what they say; the woods are full of long drivers!” This time he drives the ball straight into the muddy bank across the creek. Now everyone is thinking, ‘please don’t hit another one. We’re about to come out of our skin now as it is.’ “I’ll be able to find that. Let’s go.” Whew.
- Hackers read the greens better than any tour player.
Well after all the really helpful lessons given by the stranger hacker, you reach the eighteenth green. Thought you would never make but it’s finally going to end. But wait: the stranger hacker has got to give you a final lesson on reading greens. Oh boy! Mister 59 on the back is going to provide a take-away lesson.
The stranger hacker has hands of stone around the greens. He had more chili dips and skulled wedges than Tiger before retirement (Oh sorry. Thought Tiger retired. Must have been in my dreams). And like the rest of his game, his putting with a replica putter from Jack Nicklaus’s sixth Masters Victory has been a thing of beauty. First time he pulled that thing out I thought we were going to play croquet. But then again, we didn’t see this hacker miss a putt inside six feet all day. Of course those were all gimmies for the hacker.
One would think with as many times this hacker putted during the round he would improve over time. I don’t putt that many times when I practice. But as stated earlier, he could just be having a bad day. The most important thing to remember about putting, according to the stranger hacker, the pendulum style of reading greens is a thing of the past. He has mastered Aim Point!
“When trying to determine the break, hold your hand out in front of you. Just think about Spock and Star Trek. Depending on how many fingers you hold up is how many inches the putt will break. For example: as I look at this putt, I’ll hold up three fingers and line that up with the hole. Now I know the putt will break three inches. It’s really pretty simple. I mastered it after using it for about a week now.” I asked the hacker about the speed of the putt. “You don’t have to worry about that with this style of reading greens. Not one time today did I even consider speed when I putted. You saw me use it all day with success.”
After everyone completed the round and the stranger hacker picked up his five-footer for what I think was a triple bogey, we all shook hands. Walking off the green I told my buddies, “Played pretty well today and shot 81. Except for that one bad hole, I’m happy.” Stranger hacker chimed in with his scoring summary. “I almost beat you. I shot 83 because of that OB shot on ten. If I had made that forty-five footer on thirteen for par I would have smoked you.” Come to find out, stranger hackers think everyone is blind and can’t add also.
Walking back to the car, the three of us chat about the round and agree the stranger hacker was a nice guy. He was a lousy golfer but a nice guy. We all agreed the stranger hacker is living proof “Those who can’t do, teach.”