I occasionally stumble onto golf merchandise websites (while looking for other things – I am very opposed to shopping), and it has come to my attention – perhaps belatedly – that there is such a thing as a golf speaker.
Apparently, this does not refer to a motivational speaker who centers on golf, although I’m sure those people exist. It is more about an actual hardware item manufactured by sound-conscious folks like Bose, Bushnell and JBL. These pieces can be attached to a golf cart or golf bag, and they will play tunes as you rumble around your favorite course. Some also have innards that will give you strong hints about the distance to the green, although, disappointingly, they won’t tell you how to make the shot.
Being more or less a traditionalist in the realm of golf, the idea of listening to Alice Cooper, the Beatles and/or Lady Gaga while one moves from shot to shot doesn’t impress me as something I’m hankering to do.
I do recall a circumstance a while back. I was playing on my home course, and traffic was heavy. While we waited behind two other groups at the first tee, I listened to some songs on my cell phone (appropriately, with earphones). I scored my customary bogey on hole No. 1, and we moved on.
Hole No. 2 at this particular course has been called the hole from hell and other names generally unprintable on a family website. It is a wicked par four, 342 yards from the middle tees. Only the strongest hit driver because of a nasty water hazard. The smartest shot is to lay up left short of the creek and hope your second shot clears the water and misses a greenside bunker.
Slow play continued as we waited for the dreaded tee shot on two. I fired up the cellphone again, and surprise – my song shuffle stopped on “Land of Hope and Dreams,” one of my top five Bruce Springsteen tunes. (It should be noted here that my list of Springsteen favorites includes about 20 songs in the top five, so it’s crowded in there).
Anyway, the Boss’ inspirational song apparently put me in the right frame of mind, and I sailed a five iron perfectly down the left side of the fairway. More times than not, the second shot on this hole takes on fatty characteristics and leaves me in or around the creek. This time, miracle of miracles, my nine iron soared majestically toward the green and stopped within gimme range of the pin. For the first time ever (and probably the last time ever), I birdied the wicked second hole.
There was joy to spare. Or, as Springsteen sings in this signature tune, “Leave behind your sorrows, let this day be the last, well tomorrow there’ll be sunshine and all this darkness past.”
Indeed, it was a brief shining moment. I credit Bruce.
Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.
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