What do you get when you combine a near-perfect, nearly-April weekday with professionals swinging mad metal for the sake of the children? Why, the first official day our city's premier golf tournament — the Shell Houston Open (SHO), but of course.
If you're keeping score at home, this is my second year attending the epic sporting event. Although I still know as much about golf now as I did in 2010, thankfully, putting green prowess isn't a requirement for enjoying this yearly ball-whacking experience.
But what if you're so clueless when it comes to golf, even a duffer puts you to shame? What does it take to cut it during SHO time?
I speak from experience. Let me help you maximize the SHO. Whip out your teeny tiny golf pencil before we get started — you may want to take notes.
The SHO is the new singles bar
If you're jonesing for a honey with money (or at least the air of having it, anyway) and you measure a man's worth by the way he looks in knee-length, wrinkle-free khakis and a mild-hued polo (bonus points for true tigers sporting the wild stripes), say no more. If a faint farmer's tan and a crisp white visor putts your ball, the SHO crowd is yours for the stealing.
In all seriousness (sort of), the ratio of men to women at the SHO hovers at around 1,000 to 1. Odds are good there's an eligible bachelor — or 20 — in their midst. Wouldn't you rather be picked up at a golf tournament than, well, Grand Prize? I rest my case.
Do not high-five the course ushers
Nothing beats cutting out of work early to hit Redstone with your girlfriends. Two words: Day. Drunk. Feminize your aluminum Bud Light bottle with a dainty napkin wrap, don your oversized shades and J-Lo hoops, don't bother to blow dry, and get gabby with the gals between the rounds.
But not too chatty, mind you. I know a good conversation can get the best of you, despite where the players are on the course. If you see a yellow-clad volunteer on the green heading in your direction with his or her palms squarely facing you, he or she doesn't want a high-five. Those volunteers are politely telling you to shut the hell up already.
I may or may not have caused that situation myself. I plead the fifth.
Golfers, for some mythical reason, cannot play their sport without complete silence. Don't question it. Just adhere to it.
Make him do some explaining
Don't get me wrong — plenty of awesome women play (and understand, for that matter) golf.
But unfortunately, not a good chunk of us. I personally have no idea what happens after that club is swung (I just hope nothing's heading toward me). But, as with everything else, I want to know.
If your SHO objectives don't include meeting men, bring one along with you and pick up a tidbit of knowledge or two. I saw a smattering of the male species, linked to eager girlfriends or wives, coming in quite handy. I overheard patient explanations of the art of golf, and I thought, "Yes, that's a good use for a guy."
So if you've got one, by all means — put him to work.
No matter how bad it gets, a caddy's got it worse
He's wearing another guy's name on his back — on a bib, no less. He slings heavy golf clubs and bags all day in the hot sun. He rakes the rough when his master makes the slightest mess of it. He is faceless, his job gloryless. He's the man behind the man.
Does it sound like indentured servitude? Well, it's worse. It's the life of a professional golf caddy. Golf legend Phil Mickelson's caddy, Jim "Bones" Mackay, even seemed to match Mickelson — right down to the leathery, bronzed skin. He doesn't even get an identity of his own!
Imagine if your boss made you go tanning or else you'd lose your job. It's practically inhumane. Be glad you're not a caddy.
Damn, it feels good to be a gangster
Well, I actually meant a golfer. Because when you're a gangster — err, golfer, I mean — your entourage rivals any that Vincent Chase has ever seen. You're trailed by clicking cameras, tripod-wielding videographers, and thunderous applause from throngs upon throngs of admirers.
Who needs perfection or even excellence? When you're a golfer, you're a fore-ing rock star! Take note — there's a lesson to be learned here.
Let's take Mickelson, for example. The great golfer suffered from a nagging suspicion that his driver was damaged halfway through the day's events. "I noticed a crack on the face of my driver," he said. Mickelson wanted to take it out of play, but he was denied by officials. Mickelson turned in a less-than-stellar two-under-par performance.
But did that stop the crowds? Rubbish. Puppy-like admirers in collared shirts followed him diligently throughout the day, traipsing all over the 7,400-yard course.
World No. 2 British slice starLee Westwood (paired with last year's champion Anthony Kim and Mickelson) isn't even sure he can play golf. "I generally don't play that good," Westwood confessed. "But I played pretty quality stuff all day."
Learn a thing or two from these guys. We should all be so human, so fallible — and so loved.