Obsessed golfer and brilliant military strategist General Rafik Hassan Abbas, commander of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, is famous for the following quote: “A round of golf is a war consisting of 19 battles — 18 short battles against the course, and one long battle against yourself.”

Unfortunately, General Abbas never received the credit he rightfully deserved. Morocco’s armed forces were rife with disobedience and corruption, and the only battle of substance in which he took part, against a rogue Algerian faction, resulted in a serious ass-kicking when more than half the tanks under his command malfunctioned.

Fearing reprisal by the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, Abbas fled to Khartoum where he kept an off-the-grid safehouse. Less than a week after his arrival in Sudan, General Abbas let his guard down and, following an alcohol-fueled all-night binge at the local Kasbah, he was robbed and murdered by street thugs on his way home.

I reference the dearly departed General Abbas solely because, in addition to golf, he was also a huge fan of mixed martial arts. Not only had he organized numerous professional golf tournaments (none that attracted any top-tier PGA stars, but still), but he also set the stage for Morocco’s first major MMA event, and was rumored to be in talks with the UFC’s head honcho, Dana White, to “borrow” some of the organization’s lesser-known fighters.

At the time of his death, Abbas was working on a manuscript he was convinced would be the ultimate bridge between golf and pugilism. It was the General’s belief that every type of golf shot could be compared to a fighting maneuver. Crazy? Maybe, but for a man who was raised with a golf club in one hand and an AK-47 in the other, who am I to argue? While I’m not at liberty to divulge the current ownership and whereabouts of that priceless unfinished treatise, I am honored to have been allowed to relay a snippet of said manuscript.* So here goes …

Drive = Superman Punch

Your drive sets everything in motion and sets the stage for the duffer-y-course confrontation to come. With a good drive, you better your chances of victory for that “battle.” Conversely, a poor drive can spell doom. 

When fighting, a Superman Punch will have the same effect. Like drive-in golf, it requires total commitment. When you leave your feet in a fistfight, you’re vulnerable. If you don’t connect, you’re in deep shit. But if the punch lands correctly and you hit the sweet spot, just like with a perfect drive, your opponent — in this case, the course (or the hole) — will be putty in your hands.

Approach Shot = Clinch

Regardless of where your drive has come to rest, the end result of the approach shot will go a long way toward determining whether you walk off the green with a score you’re proud to mark down on your card or one you want to forget. A perfect approach shot could result in a tap-in putt, while a less-than-stellar approach might leave you with a putt that requires a prayer just to get close, let alone in. 

The fighting parallel to the approach shot is the clinch. This is your set-up move, giving you the opportunity to dump your opponent onto the ground and go for a finishing move, or keep things standing and get into the proper position for a devastating punch, knee or kick that will end the fight while you and your opponent are both still upright.

Lay Up = Leg Kick

If you’re laying up, you’ve already made the decision to take the gamble out of the hole and play a safe shot, getting into prime position for your approach. This could be because the distance is too great, your angle sucks, or the risk (such as a hazard) outweighs the reward. 

When fighting, leg kicks give pugilists time to soften up their opponents, and/or get into a better position to use a move that will end the fight in one fell swoop.

Three-Quarter Shot = Jab

There’s a reason you’re not taking a full swing. Maybe you’re afraid of cooking the ball past the hole. Maybe you want to get some run on the green. Or maybe you just like the feel of the club you’re holding for that particular shot, even though a lesser club would give you the more accurate distance. Whatever the case, if you pull it off, your next move could be simply removing your ball from the bottom of the jar, or standing over a putt that a gust of wind could handle. 

From a pugilistic standpoint, jabs are the spitting image of the three-quarter shot. Sure, you can floor your enemy with a good stiff jab, but that’s not the intended purpose of the blow. It’s a calculated maneuver and one that takes great practice to master. But get it right, and it’s a move in your arsenal that will lead to many victories.

Blind Shot = Spinning Back-Fist

Not being able to see your target can be a scary proposition. You have a general idea of where you want (need!) to put your golf ball, but the lack of a specific visual means you’ll have to trust your feelings and, more importantly, trust your instincts. 

Throwing a spinning back-fist is virtually the same. You have a general idea of where your opponent’s head is, and your speed and accuracy (which oftentimes needs to adjust on the fly, midway through the motion) will determine whether your fist connects with the target, or whether you miss so badly that you’re now off-balance and your opponent has an easy, wide-open shot at your sweet spot.

Chip = Arm Bar

You’re in close. You can see the flagstick, the hole. You can envision one sweet swing that’ll result in the rattling of the ball in the cup. And that’s where the nerves kick in. Because a mistake here and you’ve ruined all the hard work you put in to get to this point. 

When you’re getting ready to go for an armbar, you’ve already got your hands on your adversary. You can’t get any closer. Now it’s just a matter of trusting your training and executing the maneuver with precision. Speed isn’t important. Being smooth, getting your body into the proper position is what counts. Just ask Ronda Rousey. When she locked an armbar on an opponent, the fight was over. But when she tried to armbar an opponent and her position was out of whack, she ended up eating a foot or a fist, and found herself facedown on the canvas in Sleepyville! 

Bunker = Sprawl

You don’t want to be in the bunker. Something went wrong on your previous shot, and now you’ve got to hit a great recovery shot to get yourself back on track. 

A good sprawl is the fighting equivalent. Purely defensive, there’s nothing offensive about the maneuver. That’s not to say a good sprawl can’t lead to an offensive opportunity, but for the moment it’s simply about staying out of harm’s way as you prepare to turn the tables on your attacker.

Putt = Rear Naked Choke

This is what it’s all come down to. That final sweep of the short stick, making you a hero or, from a match standpoint, a loser. You know the saying: Drive for show, putt for dough. The rear-naked choke is the definitive finishing move. Master it and when you employ it, your opponent will either tap out or go to sleep. Ditto for great putters. If you know how to roll ‘em better than your opponents, even those monster hitters will take a back seat to your superior finishing moves.


*Editor’s Note: Don’t go Googling General Abbas. Rocke made him up.

Adam Rocke

Adam has dived for pirate treasure in the Caribbean, hunted for poachers in Africa, played poker with cartel kingpins in Juarez, scouted for UFOs in the Sonora Desert, raced in the Baja 1000 and the original Gumball Rally, swam with great white sharks sans cage, jumped out of planes sans parachute, and taken part in Sasquatch safaris, Chupacabra expeditions and many other “crypto-quests” around the world. Or so he says.