June 30, 2014 | by Mark McDonald
Open Letter to My Golf Pro

When Chip Yips Threaten to Ruin Your Life

By Mark S. McDonald
Editor, sportsandoutdoors.guru

{open letter to my teaching professional}

Dear Pro:

So it has come to pass that, while working in the West Texas resort destination known as Fort Stockton, I visit Desert Pines during lunch. Think of Kevin Costner in “Tin Cup.” On the practice range, you know where ball lands, not by a yardage marker but by the rooster-tail in the dust.

Golf during lunch hour is good for weight-loss, especially when combined with a case of chip yips. With advanced cases like mine, the afflicted golfer chips and pitches range is so nervous about a shot going awry, he plays through pools of his own vomit. How better to lose weight?

This afternoon after work in Fort Stockton, I hope to play in the regular Thursday evening scramble. Running with the local wolf pack is good cardio-vascular fitness and a possible cure for the gag reflex. These guys (and women who played in college) are good, so I have learned to gird my loins for combat and to watch me arse, for invaders nipping at my wallet.

Scrambles, at least in West Texas, are good for rock-a-billy music through speakers in cart stereos and cold cervesa in equal volume. These long-drive dick-measuring contests would leave the members at August National gasping in disdain, clutching at their pectorals. So, too, would the colorful language.

The cost of two hours of over-swinging is modest — $12 for 9 holes, a bargain these days, so long as I take in enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Not to worry.

Broke-down rodeo cowboys such as Dean Ward and other local bar stool counselors tell me our Czech neighbors in Shiner, Texas have products suitable for curing my chip yips. Pro, it would easy to blame the status of my game and psyche on you. Fact is, this started long ago.

Back some 15 years ago when a guy named John Herman Denton, one of the co-directors of the old Reunion Pro-Am on the Senior Tour, was at the house trying to show me a simple chipping motion. He had been a punter at Texas Christian University and a good one, so I had fair warning.

Too painful and true to be funny … (courtesy armchairgolf.blogspot.com)

Too painful and true to be funny … (courtesy armchairgolf.blogspot.com)

While trying to copy J.D.’s smooth, single-digit stroke, the offensive lineman in me came out. Before I knew it, the neighbors had called the cops. I can attest that a busted window costs more these days than back when we played pick-up rag-ball in the outskirts of Houston.

It’s tough for me to admit, Pro, but every time I stand over a simple little chip, I feel a lump of peanut butter stuck in my throat. Courtesy of George Washington Carver.

For years, my regular group of predators in Boerne sniggered that I hit more greens with a 4-iron than a 20-yard pitch. Those maggots drained my veins enough to put their kids through Ivy League schools.

Here’s hoping you will remain patient in guiding me in this quest. If you and and my therapist can lead me to mediocrity, we will send you to Washington, D.C. After this, curbing the national debt should be a snap.

Please save time for my next lesson. Meantime, I am working on the title: “Chipping Made Easy – With a Drip Bag of Sedative Dangling from Your Arm.”

Yours from golf pergatory,
Mark S. McDonald Sr.
President, Dust Devil Golf Association


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