Aim Towards the Trouble And Fade Away

       They say golf has lessons for life.  If nothing else, it is a game where an old guy can hang with a young one if he has enough sense to keep his head on straight.

        We have one hole at River Run that looks straight forward. It isn’t.  You almost can’t hit it far enough right to get out-of-bounds. If you are in by even a foot, the slope will send the ball back towards the fairway.

        There’s only one problem.  If you hit a draw (right to left shot) and over-cook it even a little it will keep going left.  Eight times out of ten the ball will wind up in a deep gully on the left side of the fairway.

        Instead hit a power fade. (left to right)  It is a shot I learned from Martin Taylor. You take dead aim at the hazard and hit towards it. Just as the gully thinks it has lured you in, your ball will take a gentle turn to the right, hit in the fairway, and stop after a couple bounces.  It won’t run away with you ’cause it will be buffered by the same slope that would have led your hook to trouble. (As Lee Trevino once said, you can talk to a fade but a hook won’t listen.)

       I tell you this not to write about golf, but for two reasons. One is to say that golf is indeed much like life. You have to use your brain to negotiate your way around trouble. The other is so when the non-golfer reads “The Mandolin Case” they will understand some passages that might go right by the reader who has never read my blog.  If you’ve been loyal enough to read all my stuff before the book comes out, you deserve a leg up on the others. 

        Yep, golf does reflect life. When trouble comes your way, you have to look it right in the eye and stare it down. Then, like a matador with a cape take a step to the right just at the last moment. The bad guys will crash almost every time.

        At the same time, only let them get a glimpse. Don’t hit close enough for ’em to read the “Titelist” as it goes by. I hit a Martin Taylor fade the other day and wound up center cut. I walked by the gully; tipped my hat, smiled and bid it a good day.

       I’ll have to dodge that gully again and I wasn’t gonna piss it off too bad. No use cussing it if you can dodge it. 

        Oh, I almost forgot to tell you how to hit the shot.  Take your grip and down look at it on the club.  If more than 2 1/2 knuckles show on your left hand, turn it to the left every so slightly.  (Remember golf is like life; backwards. Turn your left hand to the left to hit the ball right, right?) Then set up with your feet pointed left of the sprinkler line.

        Golf’s much like dancing. Think rhythm, as is Lawrence Welk. (A one and a two and a…)  Then all you gotta do is swing along the line of your toes and imagine tossing a bucket of water out to the right and not back over your shoulder. 

        Trust me, the ball will curve from left to right.  Just don’t double cross it. That’s a no-no. That’ll put you deep in the gully and they’ll get you for that every time.

Dr. B

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4 Comments on “Aim Towards the Trouble And Fade Away”

  1. Smitty Neuse River President of Mississippi fan Club Says:

    Doc, you will need this shot on number 6………..sounds like you have one of these as well.Have you hit any more 300 yard drives?

  2. drtombibey Says:


    About every course has a nemesis hole where a man will get in trouble if he doesn’t use his noggin.

    Uh well I think that drive was 265 with the wind at my back and downhill, and that has been some time back. I’ve hit some in the gully by accident, but the Lord keeps saving the day for me when I do.

    Now there was this day as a kid when the big lake was frozen and we hit driver out across it to see how far it would go and and mine went… let’s see now, hm, that has been a long time ago….

    Dr. B

  3. Ponder Says:

    I like the title of this post – but I can’t hit a fade reliably, even if I committed your advice to memory. Always enjoy the parallels between golf and life, and your (sometimes) oblique take on the large and small times we all share with another. Tee it high, Doc!

  4. drtombibey Says:


    The grass just turned green on the sunny slope of number 10 at River Run. It’s just as sure a sign of spring as the return of the hummingbirds and the night song of the spring peepers.

    Time to tee it up.

    Dr. B

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