FALMOUTH – Golf is work. On the driving range at the Falmouth Country Club late Wednesday afternoon, that much was clear.
“Whenever I play in a tournament or league,” said Dave Drinkwater of Mashpee, “I practice at least an hour before. Most people don’t practice at all. Their first swing is on the first tee, and you can tell.”
But Drinkwater, who was practicing on Wednesday, and many others, take their golf seriously.
According to Matt Burgess, General Manager at Falmouth Country Club, “we have a lot of regular golfers that come here to practice.”
There is the American work ethic. And then there is the American golfer’s work ethic – a point of special passion for millions. Around dinner time at this public golf course on Cape Cod, a handful of silent-until-spoken-to focused golfers wandered onto the AstroTurf platforms to launch golf balls into an anonymous green field of glory.
Some just finished golfing. Some were planning to golf.
“I worked all day today,” said Steve Pollitt of Falmouth. “I’m golfing in a tournament tomorrow, so I am cheating.”
“I’m practicing,” he said.
Yes, practicing, to serious golfers, is that much of an advantage.
“It helps,” said Pollitt. “The more you hit a golf ball, the better you get at it and the more you are going to learn.”
“Usually, there’s some part of your swing,” said Drinkwater. “It could be your hips, your arms, your head. You notice some body part is not functioning the way it should be functioning, so you work on it.”
“The golf swing is very intricate,” explained Drinkwater. “Every body part is involved in the whole swing, you have to have everything in sequence and synchronicity, often referred to as tempo.”
Drinkwater, who said he teaches lessons, explained his theory of two different golf swings – one-plane swings, and two-plane swings. He likened one swing to a carousel, and the other swing to a Ferris Wheel. He said a golfer could be successful at one or the other, but combining the two was difficult.
Golf is complicated, yet apparently much like an amusement park. It’s a lot to think about. The driving range is the place to work on these things, one at a time.
“I’m working on the first part of my backswing,” said Harry Lewis of Los Angeles, who was attending a conference in Falmouth.
Working on one’s game and learning is a huge appeal of the driving range experience. If golf is work, the driving range is the factory floor where the widgets are made. The golf course, then, is the storefront where everyone sees your game.
“I need to fix my game,” said Fred Hare of North Falmouth as he arrived at the range. Hitting balls at the range, he said, is “fun and I need to practice. I can’t go out and learn on the golf course. I have to learn on the range.”
Yet for all the seriousness of the driving range, there is that word thrown in there by Hare: Fun.
Mike Edwards of Falmouth said he just came “to get outside, get a stretch and whack a couple of golf balls.”
“We have a lot of regulars,” said Burgess. “We have a lot of people who just come out here with their families and just want to whack the golf balls. They’re okay with just hitting the ball and seeing how far it goes.”
— Brian Tarcy