Keeping Score

Several years ago, when I first started this game a friend counciled me not to keep score. This salient bit of advice has been my mantra for years now.

“What did you shoot” asks a friend. Little dose he know that I am onto him and his little scheme to humiliate me. I know that when I tell him my score on the last nine holes, it will be his turn to cover his mouth, thus trying (sort of) to dampen the laughter spilling out. Instead I can head off this kind of response by simply telling them I do not keep score. Presto. No chump here to lord it over.

Now, not keeping score works for others all the time, but I must confess to a feeling of competition with myself most of the time. After all, who does not want to revel in the accumulation of double bogeyed and 3 over par holes?

So, to satisfy both sides of this particular dilemma my new rule is keep score only when playing alone, and when you do, shade things liberally in your direction. And, when plying with others nrver ever keep score

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I realize that there are hundreds if not thousands of you just waiting for my next post. So, rather than make you wait further here it is.

There are so many ways that PD can affect your golf game that it is hard to know where to start. Last time I spoke of the effect on the whole swing. This time I will mention s small but unseemly problem for many of us: drooling. I do not mean a physical reaction to a pretty woman. Rather I am talking abolut evcessive saliva from your mouth.

My neurologist confirmed for me many years back that this was yet one more complicationl. One of the more charming ones for others to see when suddenly a bunch of spittle falls onto whatever is in it’s path; your shirt,your pants, your food at dinner, or on your hands during the golf swing.

You can hardly stop midway through to wipe it off, so I try to just complete my swing, but often that means a long string of spit from my hands along my arm and back to my mouth. Not a graceful way to end up.

Besides, when the spit hits my hand in the first place (usually at the start of my backswing) I suddenly loose concentration on my swing with the resultant slice all to much expected.

I have found that swallowing several times cuts down on the problem, but about three or four times in 18 holes it still appears.

Ah, the ways this disease makes itself visible are many and charming. Next time I will try to find some other of the ways we PD folks stand out in a crowd.

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Hitting the damn ball

You know the feeling. After addressing the ball you start your backswing and that little voice in your thorax is telling you that it doesn’t feel right. Maybe the grip is too tight, or your left arm is not straight, or you realize you are too far away from the ball but you go ahead and swing because it is time to swing, and you tell yourself that you will be back on track by the time you get the club head down to the ball, and because those two other guys Robert and Phil (ow was that Roger and Bill?) are watching you from the cart and just waiting for you to hit.

So you complete the swing and you watch as your new ball shows no inclination to move forward, but rather sails gracefully in a long looping slice into the next fairway.

Somehow you manage to hit back to your own fairway and finish with a birdie.

Then, it is on to the next whole. This time, however you pause just before starting your backswing and visualize the ball flying straight down the fairway. Then you start your backswing and this time it’s there. Your arms are in the right position. As you start to swing you can feel that this one will be a good shot, and it is as you watch the ball’s flight.

My PD is like this sequence. Sometimes you line everything up yet your swing is off by some small fraction, and you know from the outset that this won’t go right. Sometimes you just step up, swing the club, and away it goes. Sometimes the PD just messes up your shot and sometime it doesn’t.

My goal is to minimize the former and to maximize the later. Just like Skinner’s pidgins I am on a variable schedule reward rate. Sooner or later I WILL recreate that beautiful shot. It may be on the next shot or the 436th shot. I just know that it will come.

I can not tell you how proud it makes me that I am at least as trainable as one of those birds.

Golf is great exercise for Parkinsonism Disease. You are outside in generally beautiful locations with people who are doing the same thing around you

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