Sometimes my social references make me seem much older than my years. While I should refer to Counting Crows, Dave Matthews, or Phish….you will find me frequently quoting Harry Chapin, Bob Dylan, or in this case….Ladies & Gentlemen: Simon & Garfunkle. 

And, if you were in my head, you would hear their name being announced in a distinct style, with the roar of a massive crowd, and a single guitar string sounding before the crowd’s cheer dies down, then switches to the chords & cadence of strumming as we are introduced to Mrs. Robinson. The Concert In Central Park is etched on my brain.  The haunting words that float out of the crowd as they await the next tune… ”sounds of silence, sounds of silence”.

Ahhh, music, sound, the art of hearing the distinct moments of activity and how it completes moments and memories amazes me. And that amazement surrounds my golf game as well.

I’m a hack after all.

If the game didn’t bring more than making a few good shots, several bad shots, and a lot of mediocre shots, it would have no luster.  So where to find supplemental enjoyment for the game?  

Cue the music.

Not literally.  Just listen to the sounds, the predictable placement of certain noises, and the eventual banter from your partners at specific points of play.  These lack of silences make my day of play.

Sure, some of the most predictable quips become mundane and annoying. “It’s in the hole”…..Yeeeaaahh, you can let that one go.  You might as well be shouting “where’s the beef!” That’s not to say that the more obscure Caddyshack references can’t be well placed. Artistry is everything in golf. But there is so much more than just banter that makes up the sounds of the game. 

The natural elements around the course are like hearing the murmurs of a full gallery when attention is paid, especially if you tune it in on a solo outing. Real birds (not the Masters Tournament fake chirper sort) or cicadas sing their whistles through the air.  Hear the whispers of windblown grasses and rustling branches; the hushed sustained tone of the dimples of the golf ball moving the air as it rolls toward the hole, sounding like a soaring eagle…you hope. Then the distinct plun-plunk of the ball into the cup that resonates the sound of the well-timed Law & Order tone, announcing the change of scene.

Golf has traditionally been a game of respectful quiet. The ability to concentrate in golf somehow became associated with intense silence.  Unlike the need to focus a shot in tennis, which has now become laden with extremely loud grunting, the rule of golf includes consideration for the golfer’s swing by remaining silent during his approach and swing through. 

Fans have recently begun to be more raucous at tournaments causing them to be chastised or removed. Admittedly, a sudden startling noise can cause an anxious person to stiffen or jerk, but how often does something occur on a golf course that would truly require a player to feel startled, as if in fear for their safety, thereby ruining their swing.

Has Sasquatch found you on the 8th hole? Is a UFO overhead ready to light beam you into oblivion?  Is there a 10-foot alligator ready to chomp your ankle, take you to your knees and drag you into his very cozy water hazard?

Well in all cases except the last mentioned…relax!  It’s a game to feel relaxed! If it isn’t a shriek or scream that you hear, chances are you are quite safe to just swing through. 

There might be an interesting life story to tell someday if the hazard on the course is more than just the sand trap off to the right so embrace the sounds.  Learn your game in my backyard where my kids are likely to come bellowing and storming, shouting and slamming their way through the backdoor at any point.

You will learn to swing through anything.  Now excuse me while I turn my headphones on to my soothing ocean waves meditation!

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