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Brian Sandberg a.k.a. brian575
Golfers aren't superstitious people. But they respect the powers of the golfing gods. Brian learned real quick that some words should never be uttered during a round of golf.

How old are you and what's your occupation?
30, and I am a Mechanical Engineer

When did you start playing golf and what's your handicap?
Well I started playing golf in March of '09, right before my first son was born. I played a couple times with my father growing up but never took it seriously. My current handicap is 33.6 but I swear there is a 90's golfer inside of me somewhere.

How often do you play?
I have a deal with my wife that I can play every other Saturday, if the weather is bad I have to wait two more Saturdays. I sometimes I get to play a little more often with holidays.

Tell me about a great shot you've made.
Well my best shot so far was a little 140 yard 9-iron from the rough. Only issue is there is a 30 foot or so tree about 10 yards short of the green and directly in my line. The green itself is slightly elevated and has bunkers both short and long right. I get just about perfect contact and clear the tree - what looked like about 1mm - and get to the green to see my ball staring at me. Two putt par but still a great shot.

What is your best golf memory?
I got to play two years ago with my father at a local course called Tour 18, it is a replica course. It was July and he was complaining about the heat, (he is from Hawaii). We were playing the replica of Augusta #11 he hit a good drive and great second shot and had about 10-12 feet for birdie. He made the putt. He was very excited, he had not been playing much in Hawaii and this was his first birdie in many years. This is important because this was the last time I will ever get to play golf with my father. He was diagnosed with ALS last year. He currently has lost almost all ability to walk and do fine motor functions with his hands like tie his shoes and even get his debit card out of his wallet. ALS is a terrible disease and an undefeated one. But I will always remember the look on my fathers face after that putt.

What is your "home" course?
I would guess my "home" course would be Gus Wortham but I will play anywhere. I tend to gravitate towards courses that let me walk.

What ball do you play?
I play any soft compression ball that I can get on sale, currently I am playing the Wilson Staff 50 elite.

Oh my ever changing clubs.

Driver is always a game time decision. I bring two mostly I play with a Power Play System Q2 or a McGregor M75T, the Power Play is short and straight, McGregor longer and wild.

3-4 hybrid Tour Edge Bazooka Stiff
4i Mizuno MX-23 regular flex
5-PW Maltby MMB blades regular flex
52-58 Nickent ARC Wedges
56 McGregor VIP Wedge
Putter Cleveland Classic 2 Bronze

Favorite pro?
I like a lot of the pros, especially the pros who are twitter addicts: But mostly I like Bubba and Tiger. But if they go head to head I am pulling for Bubba all the way!

Favorite course you've played?
Big Island Country Club in Hawaii, I cannot even describe the awesomeness of the greens, better than pool table smooth. Not only that but I found a discount and only paid 55 for a prime 9:30 tee time.

Dream course you've yet to play?
Bandon Dunes all 4 courses. I am saving up now for my 40th birthday, that is going to be the present that I give myself.

Best round ever- and what course?
Well according to my handicap it was my last round this Saturday at Cinco Ranch in Katy, TX. I opened with a horrible 57, including two lost balls that could not have been more than 10 feet of the fairway. Still can't believe I could not find either one of them. But I closed with a 43 including my first birdie on a par 4. I even had a 10-15 foot for par on 18 to finally shoot less than 100 but missed it, perfect speed just about 2 balls to far right.

What is one aspect of your golf game you would like to improve on in the next year?
Can't give you one, I need two. I need to hit my driver better. I hit way too many irons off the tee because I am scarred to hit the driver. But what I really need to work on is short chips in the 15-40 yard range. I can count on one hand how many times I have had a chip from that distance and managed to get it close enough to have a reasonable putt. I two chip from that range at least 3 times every round.

Tell me a story.
So I am playing at one of the local muni's with a buddy of mine and we get paired up with two other guys. First hole is a par 5 and I hit a monster slice off the tee but manage to hit a good second shot to put myself out about 60 yards. I proceed to totally shank my wedge where it goes almost dead right. I then say to myself, "Nice Shank Brian." Everything is going fine then I notice that the two guys that we are playing with are ignoring me but talking to my buddy just normal. You know things like I will ask them am I in their line or should I pull the pin and get no response. So this goes on for most of the round and we get to 16 and I hit a hybrid off the tee and pull it pretty bad to the left. I say "shoot" and the guy that has not spoken to me the entire round say, "I thought you were going to say something else."

Well by this time I am getting a little tired of their little games and "politely" ask them what the problem is. He then goes on to tell me how you should never say shank on the golf course. Until that point I never knew of the "unwritten" rule of basically not saying anything that could possibly ruin ones round. So now when I play and get set up with some other people I do not know, I keep to myself. Lesson learned.


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[ comments ]
homermania says:
They gave you the silent treatment for saying "shank?" Sounds like a couple of snob asses to me.
bkuehn1952 says:
A worthy GOW. Great that Brian and his Dad were able to share a last round together.

@brian575, time to renegotiate the golf frequency with your bride!
Banker85 says:
i hate that word. but i did learn how to fix it when i am doing it. I take a couple practice swings with my left arm only and try to keep my arm as close to my body as possible and i back off the ball a little. but ya total snob asses.
mustang6560 says:
I never knew it was a "bad" word on the course. Can someone explain that?
brian575 says:
Thanks for the honor of being the GOW,

Homermania, they were both lawyers, that is all I have to say about that.

bkuehn 1952 (same year as my dad BTW) with one little one at home and another on the way once every other week is fine. Once they get older (two boys) I have a feeling I will get to play more often.
Backquak says:
wow, "shank" is a bad word??? what a couple of douche bags, I had no idea we weren't suppose to say shank on the golfcourse. we should take a vote here on OOB to straighten this out. Has anyone else heard of this "unwritten" rule?

Maybe thats why I can't get any better, I keep offending the golf gods with my profane "Oh Dang, I really shanked that one"
I know I say it once or twice or 18 times a round.;)
dottomm says:
SHANK SHANK SHANK!!! and oh... Water.
Banker85 says:
ya i never heard that you shouldnt say shank. what about chili dipper, or worm burner, or snap hook, they are just words. i would have just played through and pushed them back a hole.
jrbizzle says:
There is no unwritten rule about not saying shank on the course. It's probably some stupid superstition amongst the two of them, and they felt like taking their frustration out on you. Either that or they were just upset that they had to play with someone who shoot sin the 100s, which again is total B.S.

No one starts out a great golfer, and I think a great number of folks with single digit handicaps or those who regularly shoot in the 80s and 90s should have more patience with those that don't. I've seen it too many times, and I think some of us veterans forget how nervous it can be to play with someone else. When I get paired up with someone who's skill set is less than mine, I do my best to be polite and assure them I am in no hurry. If I see them doing something to exacerbate their own problems, or play slower than they need to, I try to help out in the nicest manner.

Golfers should help other golfers and grow the game, not say admonish someone fro saying "shank" on the course. How petty.
gpickin says:
Seriously... I'm sorry you run into players like that.

I myself shoot in the number area you do, and I say plenty of words on the golf course, because I shank it, top it, muff it, slice, dice, splice, hook, pull, push, and thats just the first hole. I haven't played with too many other players, and it scares me, the only ones I have were great, and I learnt a lot from them, and that only enforced my new love for the game.

As for playing with your dad, I'm in the same boat, he is approaching that age and those ranges of problems, but we get in whatever we can, while we can. Those memories will always be cherished.

And about favorite courses being the ones you can walk, I think it makes it much more fun, and I find I play better when I walk. I just want a nice cart now.

Nice read, good to get to know other golfers.
Good luck (hope thats not a jinx too)
jalsing says:
Ahh Gus Wortham...good times...

as a side note, whenever I play with my usual friends and one of us, um, slices, we usually yell "Shank SHANK!!"

brian575 says:
Wow, I guess my shank story was a good one. I understand that they may have overreacted but what I really learned from it is that I should just be a little more cautious. When I am with a group of 4 friends I say whatever I want but when I get paired up I really should treat everyone like they have every superstition in the book. I feel it is better to avoid another situation like that then go through it again.
homermania says:
Brian, next time you play with those guys and they par the first hole say, "Wow! You've got perfect game going!"
aaronm04 says:
Wow ... douchey with the shank comment. When did "shank" become like "Voldemoort"?
dartboss04 says:
i thought it was yips, but who knows? time softly whisper shank in their ear before a tee shot...
mjaber says:
Perhaps, being lawyers, they feared being shanked by their scumbag clients, and so feared the work.
Torleif Sorenson says:
Congrats on GOW, Brian. And @jrbizzle is absolutely right. Personally, I think it's bad luck to be superstitious, so I don't go into any of that. :)
pennsafety says:
Good thing I was not paired up with them...I wonder how they would have felt with me dropping the mother f-bomb and a few other choice words! Keep them out of the Northeast!
erickbelus says:
What a couple of Jerks. If the course was clear enough, I would have just asked them to play in front of me. I get paired up with strangers a lot(including 2 ladies 40 years my senior that kicked my butt) and I have only got stuck with a bad one a couple of times. It takes the fun out of the game when you have to play with those folks.
Since we're not getting paid to be out there, I think you should have a good time.
Scott Shields says:
Nice story about your dad, chokes me up a bit. Glad you got that moment. You should try to convince the wifey to let you play more. :p

Sorry you got stuck with those tools. Shanking in particaular is something that sucks, but when it happens to myself or a playing partner, we discuss it and try to fix it, not ignore each other...d-bags.
huffdaddy says:
u can say whatever u want, but always give respect to the golf gods
huffdaddy says:
4 example u can say "I shanked it" in Donald Ross's back yard, but never say "what's so hard about this hole"
Wes11point5 says:
I dunno, maybe I am superstitious but I never say that word on the course. I will say "S-word" instead.

Keep Swinging the clubs Brian!
gamma says:
There is good reason to avoid the s-word on course. Once you get the idea into people's head, they do tend to hit that kind of shot more often, especially when trying to avoid it. It is a psychological thing, but not just superstition.

But if somebody says it, I am not going to be an asshole about it.

BTW, related video from nytimes:
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