My Bromance(s) Explained

What’s your favorite golf podcast? Hard to narrow it down? Mine is “The Drop Zone” with co-hosts Sean Zak and Dylan Dethier.

The roots of my Zak and Dethier bromances are at least threefold. First, they have an endearing friendship. Second, their content is always smart and socially conscious and often humorous. Third, Dethier completed the best gap year of all time at the end of which he wrote a book titled “18 in America: A Young Golfer’s Epic Journey To Find The Essence Of The Game” which I still have to read. The book is described this way:

“Shortly before his freshman year of college was set to begin, seventeen-year-old Dylan Dethier—hungry for an adventure beyond his small town—deferred his admission and, “like Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey before him, packed his used car and meager life savings and set off to see and write about America” (ABC News/ Yahoo). His goal: play a round of golf in each of the lower forty-eight states.

From a gritty municipal course in Flint, Michigan, to rubbing elbows with Phil Mickelson at Quail Hollow, Dylan would spend a remarkable year exploring the astonishing variety of the nation’s golf courses—and its people. Over one year, thirty-five thousand miles, and countless nights alone in his dusty Subaru, Dylan showered at truck stops, slept with an ax under his seat, and lost his virginity, traveling “wherever the road took him, with golf as a vehicle for understanding America” (The New York Times).”

Man, what I would give to have had an 18 year-old Dethier in one of my First Year writing seminars.

The content of this fresh-off-the-press piece by Dethier, “How would a scratch golfer fare against LPGA pros? Now we know: not well.” which garnered about a third of today’s 36 minute podcast, kept me company on my chilly morning run to Priest Point Park and back. It exemplifies what makes “The Drop Zone” such a good listen. It’s a smart, funny, and wonderfully feminist take on just how good women professional golfers are these days.

So if you’ve been wondering what’s missing in your life, and you think it may be the lack of a truly excellent golf podcast, given Zak and Dethier a whirl the next time you’re practicing your chipping and putting.

That Time My Nephew Called Me A “Miscreant”

A “miscreant” is a person who behaves badly or in a way that breaks the law.

See number 6. In fairness, it can’t be easy being a radical lefty in the wilderness known as Ohio. He’s also a diehard Ohio State football fan so he’s still reeling from the Wolverine ass whupping.

Put all that together and I’m gonna let it slide.

One noteworthy thing he sidesteps, he could never substack like that in China.

Louisville’s Lakeside Swim Club

Dig the pictures. From the time I was 3 to 9 years-old, my family lived on Cardiff Road in Louisville, eight miles from this gem according to Google Maps.

I did not know LSC existed until stumbling upon this article. My fam frequented the much closer Plantation Country Club on a daily basis. Yes, you read that correctly, Plantation Country Club. Here’s some history on it. In short, it was an inexpensive, decidedly middle class public swim/tennis/golf club that no longer exists. My sister and a friend taught me to swim there. My brother was a 10-meter dare-devil jumping legend. I started playing golf there when I was 5 or 6. It was a nine hole executive course with lots of par 3s and short 4s. The first hole was about 75 yards long and I dominated it. My tennis greatness can also be traced back to Plantation. As well as my chronic skin cancer.

Hard to believe that when I was 6 and 7 years old, I’d lay a couple of clubs and a putter across my bicycle handlebars and ride to the course, crossing a very busy thoroughfare on the way. A benefit of being the fourth child I suppose.

My most vivid memory of those years—besides the Twinkies—was a family dinner after a long summer’s day on the links. I was a young Tommy Bolt. Earlier that evening, unbeknownst to me, my dad drove past the course on his way home from selling kitchen appliances at General Electric at the exact moment I let a club fly into the upper atmosphere. As dinner drew to a close, my dad said, “If I EVER see you toss another club, those will be your last ones!” And then it kinda ramped up from there.

My dinner plate overflowed with tears. And I never threw another club. Half of this paragraph is true.

The Person, Not The Passport

Like me, I know you’re psyched for the Ryder Cup two weeks from now, that every other year team competition between the best golfers in the U.S. and Europa.

The U.S. team is set and although Patrick Reed was passed over, Bryson DeChambeau was an automatic pick. Which makes it a lot harder to root for the home team at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. I wholeheartedly concur with this Alex Kirshner dissection of DeChambeau:

“. . . his positive COVID test in late July knocked him out of the Olympics. Fortunately, DeChambeau healed up, though he said he lost some swing speed. Reporters asked DeChambeau if he regretted not getting the vaccine. He said he did not, and that he’d “tried to take all the necessary precautions” not to catch the virus (except, you know, for the most important one). But DeChambeau—who, it bears repeating, very much likes to fashion himself as a science guy and a deep thinker—had more to say. In one of the most embarrassing bits of vaccine misdirection anyone in sports had attempted all year, he tried to cast his decision as a move to keep vulnerable people safe. He explained that the vaccine needed to be preserved for those in worse health than himself. (By that time, the government had a surplus of doses.) ‘I don’t need it,’ he said. ‘I’m a healthy, young individual that will continue to work on my health. I don’t think taking the vaccine away from someone who needs it is a good thing.’

That bit should’ve ended anyone’s idea that DeChambeau is especially committed to science. But it mostly revealed his lack of interest in thinking seriously about anything. The audacity of framing not getting vaccinated as a way to help vulnerable people, rather than something that could literally kill them, makes him something between a fraud and the absolute thickest person in sports. Not getting vaccinated is a worse thing to subject other people to than anything anyone has ever hollered at him from along a fairway. There are people who command honest conversations about whether they deserve the grief they get. This isn’t one.”

Besides the inclusion of the American Knucklehead, the Euros are easy to root for because they WANT IT so much more and their fans and them celebrate their upset victories with incredible élan.

And so this golf fan says to hell with the political boundaries and passports, may the team with the fewest knuckleheads and the most dogs win.

Postscript: Last night after eighteen year old British tennis phenom Emma Raducanu won her semifinal match at the US Open, she attempted to give her wrist bands to some grade school girls standing nearby in the first row of Arthur Ashe stadium. But she couldn’t because some despicable twenty-something men intercepted the tossed sweat bands. Which I hereby offer as the most embarrassing moment for young males in Western History. As a non-young male I was ashamed of my gender. After pocketing the sweat bands from the younger Raducanu, they set their sights on her towel and other souvenirs she was about to dispense with. Instead of dealing with the six foot tall LOSERS, she huddled with a security guard who made sure the young girls ended up with her towel. Tar and feathers might be too good for those hapless dudes.

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Just Call Me ‘Ron’

Stop Calling Professors ‘Professor’. Nicely argued.

I’ve always asked my students to call me Ron. Partly because my first college teaching gig was at a Quaker institution which tried to be egalitarian. Mostly though because I’m wired to be informal. 

Some students are down with it from the get-go, for others it takes getting used to. They’re almost disappointed, as if they want me to be a know-it-all. It doesn’t take me long to disabuse them of that notion.

One of my first high school students in Los Angeles called me a “tough, young buck from UCLA”. That was cool, but don’t use any of my nicknames like Slip or HD (Heavy Duty), that’s a bridge too far. Oh, except one nickname is fine, Birdie*. You can use that one whenever you’d like. 

*Compliments of Lou Matz in high school. Sigh, these days on Western Washington links, I’m known as Bogey Byrnes.