Spoofs & Satire

Golf Is a Highly Mental Game

A guide to the major techniques, strokes, and hazards you will encounter during an average day on the links.

Hitting With Fairway Irons

1. Bend your knees slightly.

2. Play the ball in the middle of your stance.

3. Shooting for the flag is strictly for professionals. Amateurs should picture a spot at the center of the green and aim for that. In fact, imagine a bikini model standing there. She’s waving to you and smiling.

4. Address the ball again, keeping head down.

5. Has a girl that pretty ever smiled at you in real life? Of course not. And she never will.

6. Not the way you look.

7. Not with the kind of money you make.

8. Swing.

Hitting Out of the Bunker

1. Play the ball off the tip of your right foot.

2. Open the blade of your wedge.

3. Dig your feet into the sand until you achieve a firm stance.

4. So much sand. Remember when you were just a little kid playing in Timmy Milton’s sandbox and he forced you to eat so much of it? You can still taste it, even now. Especially now. How long has that episode haunted you? How much self-confidence has it robbed you of over the years?

5. Swing.

Hitting Across Water Hazards

1. Focus on your target.

2. Ignore the pond in front of you.

3. Ignore the way it stirs up memories of Hamilton Pond, where you almost drowned when you were 10.

4. You wouldn’t go swimming for years after that, would you?

5. Even had flashbacks in the tub for a while.

6. Swing.

Hitting Out of the Woods

1. You’ve never liked the woods, have you?

2. You don’t even have a good excuse. You were never lost in them or abducted by crazed mountain men. You never suffered any kind of trauma in them whatsoever. You’re just a sniveling coward, afraid of what animals could be lurking in there.

3. Snakes.

4. Coyotes.

5. Maybe even bears.

6. You’re 50 feet away and already you can sense a pair of inhuman eyes in there, staring at you. Hungrily. Don’t go in. You’ll never come back out.

7. Take a penalty stroke and drop another ball at the nearest relief point.

8. Swing, you pansy.


1. Read the green to determine the proper line.

2. Bend over the ball, feet shoulder-width apart.

3. The cup can seem extremely small at times like this, so try to imagine it larger. It’s the size of a Frisbee. Now it’s an open manhole. Now it’s a gaping black pit, an inescapable vortex of pain, failure, and despair threatening to suck you in and put an end to your miserable existence even before you could say you ever truly lived.

4. Don’t swing.

5. Just pick up the ball.

6. Pick it up and leave and don’t ever come back.

Ralph Gamelli has been published in The Big Jewel, McSweeney’s, Monkeybicycle, and Yankee Pot Roast. This is the part where he’s supposed to put down some little joke, but as always he refuses to bow to societal expectations. More by Ralph Gamelli