Tuesday, November 4

Golf Pet Peeve: The Distance Exaggerator

With the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship set to air tonight on Golf Channel, this seemed to be the perfect time to revisit this golf pet peeve. From the archives.

By Robert Bruce

Copyright © Robert Bruce. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

(Image: Courtland-Flickr)
THE DISTANCE EXAGGERATOR IS PRETTY much a self-explanatory fellow. But I’ll give you an example.

You’re on a sharp dogleg left par-4 that measures about 350 yards. The fairway turns almost 90 degrees at the 100-yard marker. So you have a decision. Pop your drive 250 yards out there, or fly the tree line and get closer to the green.

Now, most of us know that holes aren’t measured as the crow flies. The measurements follow the fairway. So, theoretically, if one was to land the ball on this green, one would not have hit a 350-yard drive, no matter how great a drive it would be. The Distance Exaggerator, however, looks for any opportunity to inflate his ego. On the hole described above, this fellow lands his drive about 60 yards from the green—probably a nice drive of 270 yards. But, perhaps to compensate for poor self-esteem, the Distance Exaggerator adds 30-40 yards, at least, on every drive. So that 270-yard drive became a 310-yard drive simply because he’s within a pitch shot on a sharp dogleg par-4.

In his own mind, the Distance Exaggerator is one of the longest hitters at his club. After all, his friends the Mulligan Golfer and Golf Channel Guy tell him so. In reality, he pokes his Titleist out there about 260 on a career day, giving myself and Corey Pavin company in the fairway.

The problem with the Distance Exaggerator is that he actually makes club selections based on his faulty sense of distance. Last summer, I played in a scramble with a guy who actually thought he could hit his lob wedge 110 yards. The guy was probably a 20-25 handicap. He swung out of his shoes with a lob wedge! The ball didn’t even sniff the flag—or the green.

The Distance Exaggerator—much like the Golf Channel Guy—talks a big game. Golfers who can actually hit 300-yard drives have no need to talk about it. They are used to bombing the ball.

But the Distance Exaggerator is like the dude in high school who always bragged about all his lady friends, when, in reality, he was sitting at home alone on Friday night, playing World of Warcraft and wondering if that stale dutch oven in his sheets smells as bad as last Friday night’s offering.

Let’s be honest. You’re not hitting 300-yard drives, buddy. You’re not even close.

Robert Bruce is a full-time writer and part-time blogger in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his popular blog 101 Books, where he writes about reading Time Magazine's 100 greatest novels.

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