Wednesday, October 21

Book Excerpt: 'The Wrong Side of the Ball' By Mike Zimmerman

Available at Amazon
Reprinted from The Wrong Side of the Ball: My Fun and Frustrating Search for a Better Swing Through Left-handed Golf by Mike Zimmerman. Copyright © 2015 by Mike Zimmerman. Used with permission.

The following excerpt is from the Introduction, which is entitled "
A Sinister Proposition."

* * *

David Letterman: Fifty percent of the most recent winners have been left-handed, is that true, at Augusta?

Bubba Watson: Yeah. Fifty percent are right-handed, too.

– "Late Night with David Letterman," April 10, 2012


Want to win a few bets at the 19th hole? Ask the others in your foursome to name four lefties who have won major championships in golf. Your knowledgeable friends will quickly reel off the names Bob Charles, Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson, and Bubba Watson.

Imagine their shock and surprise when you tell them – as you hastily collect your winnings – that only one of those guys, Bubba Watson, is a true lefty. The other three are actually right-handed, but play golf from the sinister side.

Now imagine their rage when they realize you’ve tricked them. Fisticuffs ensue. Since you’re outnumbered three-to-one, they easily beat you to a pulp and take back your winnings. They also take your watch and the rest of the cash in your wallet, just for good measure.

Man, who are these guys!? Why you would want to play golf with three jerks like them is beyond me, but who am I to judge another man’s friends?

Later, in the E.R., you tell your wife what happened and she asks the obvious question: “Well …? If not Charles, Weir, and Mickelson [your wife is very knowledgeable about golf; that’s why you married her], what’s the answer? Have any other true left-handers ever won a major professional golf championship?”

A smile creeps across your bloodied face, but you wince only slightly at the pain. “Johnny Miller,” you gasp. “Greg Norman. Curtis Strange. Nick Price. David Graham. Byron Nelson.”

A hush falls as doctors, nurses, assorted orderlies, and the little old lady in the waiting room stop what they’re doing and draw silently closer, hanging on your every word. Everyone is astonished by the revealed wisdom that has already passed your swollen lips, but you’re not done yet. With strength fading, you summon another breath and whisper, like Charles Foster Kane spitting out “Rosebud”: “Hogan.”

A nurse faints. In the hallway, a bedpan crashes to the floor. Across the pond, a chill wind blows through “Hogan’s Alley” at Carnoustie.

“They’re all naturally left-handed,” you explain. “They only play golf right-handed.”

A tear runs down your wife’s cheek as she turns to the attending physician and says, “Doctor, my husband is obviously delirious and in great pain. Can you do something?”

Shaking his head with a sad and concerned look, the doctor lowers a mask to your face. Moments later the room goes dark and all is quiet.

In retrospect, maybe you should have just stuck to the conventional wisdom. Or at least made the stakes a little lower.

Mike Zimmerman is a husband, father, Christian, writer and golfer. Learn more about The Wrong Side of the Ball at thewrongsideoftheball.com and Amazon.

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