My golfing buddy John and I were playing the short, perky Kahneeta Resort golf course in Central Oregon with the head professional on a day when we basically sprayed nearly all our shots into the sage and scrub. Though we were both decent players, we just couldn’t seem to not hit it sideways during that round. We topped drives, hooked and sliced approaches, and knocked short putts eight feet past the hole. We bladed and shanked. We’d been late for our tee time to begin with and it was getting toward dusk and unclear whether we’d even finish before dark when the pro, after watching me launch yet another tee shot into the shrubbery, asked if I wanted a tip. Thinking he’d discovered the swing flaw that had ruined my game and was going to cure it with a single simple piece of advice, I said sure. Without missing a beat or cracking a smile, he answered, “Start earlier.”
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