The Anatomy of The Club Toss
There are few feelings achieved on the golf course that result in a purer state of euphoria than the immediate relief felt when the golf club releases from the finger tips, whether thrown one-handed in a side-arm fashion, or overhand like a tomahawk, or under-handed and straight into the air after a poorly executed shot. From frustration to brief, intense joy. From anger to happiness. From zero control to perfect control.
Of course there are limits. It is possible to take it too far. I’ve seen a guy smash a 7-iron against the trunk of a tree. The first blow did not do the trick. The club did not break and the energy from the impact rattled through his hands, arms, and then throughout his body so that he vibrated from head-to-toe. The second swing snapped the club in half. I’ve seen multiple Bo Jackson-esque club snaps over thighs. The subtle, but effective Rory McIlroy break via putting weight on the club at an awkward angle.
Or my favorite, using the club to hulk smash a cooler (that was full of ice and beer, at least before the beating), then pounding the top of the cart, then finally the severe smash into the ground that snapped the head off the shaft. This is not what I’m talking about.
What I’m talking about takes skill. Just enough skill to know what good feels like. What accomplishment looks like on the golf course. A single digit handicap or something close to it. Successive rounds below 80. That point when shooting even-par is no longer merely a daydream. It takes that sort of proficiency to feel what I speak of here. Because anything worse is not worthy of this pleasure. Anything worse means you have not earned the right, because you do not have the skill, and you are not worthy of this level of anger. You simply aren’t good enough. Or the converse – you are so good that you’ve never been able to relate with the struggle. Your bad day is one hole. One double-bogey that was the difference between a 73 and a 71. This isn’t what I speak of either.
No, this gratification is reserved for those just good enough to call themselves good, but just unskilled enough and self-aware to know that there is a cap to their success. That they will soon reach a point where the scores plateau and bad shots still creep into the routine on multiple holes…and there is nothing they can do about it. They deserve that throw every once in a while. And when taken, hold nothing back. Sling that goddamn iron as far as you can.
For that split second, all the frustration will seep from your fingers and spin through the grip of your club as it whirls through the air in the direction your ball should have flown. And don’t be embarrassed. Either your playing partners will be able to relate or they won’t be able to relate at all. Either they will be so bad, they can’t understand your journey, or so good they won’t understand the struggle.
So take my advice. Hurl that sucker, friends, and don’t look back. Enjoy the sensation, find the club, pick it up, dust if off, put it in the bag, and go about your round. Just don’t do it again for a while. Because that euphoric feeling, like birdies, is fleeting.