Golf can be a game of acronyms

January 18, 2013

Much of our communication relies upon acronyms - those combinations of letters that carry so much meaning, once unpacked.

Think RB, DB and LSD, for example, emblazoned on white oval stickers and proudly displayed on Cape Region car and truck bumpers.

In my regular work for the state of Delaware, these useful abbreviations are all over the place. The same can be said for any large organization, and small ones, too.

You might think that golf doesn't use acronyms, except as a shorthand reference to organizations such as the USGA, the LPGA and the PGA.

You would be mistaken.

For example, playing golf with Lisa Hutchins, the 2012 Rookery women's champion, often calls for the use of NSL, as in "Nice shot, Lisa."

NSB refers to the proper way to react to the similar displays of golfing talent by Bob Burd, a frequent winner of local senior tournaments.

During a recent winter round at the Rookery, several other acronyms were used, in addition to the many NSLs.

I hit a good drive on the long par 4 third hole, and prepared for a 185-yard 5-wood approach shot. I managed to top the ball instead, and it bounced and rolled to a stop 30 yards away.

This caused Jim Hutchins to suggest that I just experienced a WTF moment.

This particular acronym can have more than one meaning, especially for those who use their cellphones more for texting than for talking.

For the Cape Region golfers who've seen me in action, WTF means "what the Fritz." It often comes up at least once during a round, if not more.

Sometimes WTF can be combined with other terms. On the par 3 fourth hole, I hit that same 5-wood to about six feet, and snaked the putt in for a pleasant and rare birdie.

My next golf swing, a tee shot on the fifth hole, was just awful. It started right and went righter, clattering among a stand of pines.

Rich Collins and both Jim and Lisa Hutchins readily agreed that this was another WTF moment of great hilarity. They also agreed that it if I couldn't escape from that spot, it could result in a classic PBFU.

For the uninitiated, that is a Post Birdie Foul Up (this being a family-friendly newspaper, that's as close as I can tell you).

Thankfully, I was able to make bogey after that bad drive, and thus avoided the PBFU without much difficulty.

On the other hand, Collins was a little too fast with his first putt on the fifth green, placing him at risk of earning USGA status when the ball rolled five feet past the hole.

In this case, USGA does not mean the United States Golf Association. It means "You Suck, Go Again."

That happens when your first putt is so bad that you haven't lost your turn.

Fortunately for Rich, one other member of the foursome had a slightly longer putt, so he missed earning his USGA status - this time.

There are probably several other golf acronyms familiar to Cape Region golfers. I'd be happy to note the family-friendly ones in an upcoming column, so send them on in at your convenience.

OK, that's just weird

A recent Ruling of the Day at the USGA website reminds us to use the game's equipment as it was intended.

An alleged golfer is seen holding a golf ball in his left hand, against the grip, while putting another ball.

When challenged, the player says holding a golf ball as part of his grip helps him putt better.

That may be so, but it's against the rules. According to the USGA, a player cannot use golf equipment in an "unusual manner" to help himself in making a stroke; this leads to disqualification.

On the other hand, the rules permit golfers to wrap a towel or handkerchief around the grip. Maybe so, but it's hard to see how either a hard golf ball or a fluffy towel would help with a delicate putt.

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