About the Author
Mark Victor Hansen is a co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Hometown:Santa Barbara, California
Date of Birth:August 19, 1944
Place of Birth:Fort Worth, Texas
Education:B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973
Read an Excerpt
Until I started playing golf, I thought that wine tasting had to be the most confusing thing I'd ever done. People with names like Higgins rambling on about residual sugar and tannin, describing each quarter-ounce sample in terms like "full-bodied, yet unpretentious." And I could never remember whether I was supposed to age it, chill it or drink it with fresh fish during a full moon. Just when I thought I was a genius for knowing the difference between a cabernet and cabaret, I went to the pro shop for golf balls.
"What kind?" the pro asked.
"I dunno, white, I guess."
He rubbed his hands together as he scanned the tri-level ball display. "Do you want a two-piece ball?" I though this was a joke, of course. "No," I said. "I like to start off with them whole. They'll break when I wallop them with my driver."
"Oh," he said without as much as a smile. "A big hitter. Then you want distance."
He handed me a shiny box with gold lettering. The price tag on the end was more than I'd paid for dinner for my wife and I the previous evening.
"These have computer-generated dimple patterns and use a complex two-piece injection molding system. They offer blistering distance."
"Perfect," I said. "Course I'll probably overshoot the green now on any hole less than four hundred yards."
He still didn't laugh. He just removed the box of balls from my hand and said, "Aahhh ... stopping power."
He slid another brightly colored box across the counter, looked me in the eye and said, "Lithium Surlyn."
I offered my hand. "Emie Witham,"I said.
"No," he said. "The cover. It's made of Lithium Surlyn. You know what that means."
"It's soft. And it's been reformulated for more feel. Plus the aerodynamics have been modified for lower trajectory.... Did you want lower trajectory?"
"Well, sure. I guess. If that means it'll go straighter."
"Oh, oh. Accuracy problem, huh? Slice? Hook?"
He walked down to the end of the ball display and came back with yet another package.
"These offer less sidespin. Plus they're 2 percent larger than a regular ball."
"Wow. Two percent. Guess I'11 need a bigger bag." I looked at my watch. "Oh, oh. Tee-time."
He apparently didn't hear me. He grabbed more boxes from the shelf. "How about a balata ball? This one spins at more than eleven thousand RPMs and maintains consistent compressions. This other balata carries 266 yards and is an evolutionary achievement in balata ball performance."
"Don't want a balata? This brand precisely blends five different dimple depths for raw length and pinpoint control. Or one designed for swing speeds in excess of ninety-five miles per hour."
"And here we have one that rockets off the club face, with an earlier peak and shallow descent.... This one penetrates the wind.... This one rolls longer.... This one has Trilyn....This one has Zylin....This one ..."
"Iaahhh ... I think I'11 just take a few of these." I picked two yellow balls and one orange one from the used ball jar and threw a five-dollar bill on the counter. I felt bad, but my foursome had already finished the first hole.
He sighed, took a deep breath and started putting all the bright shiny boxes away. Then the little bell above the door jingled.
"I need some golf balls," the young woman said. "But I'm not sure what kind. Do you have any suggestions?"
"Do you want a two-piece ball?" I heard him ask, as I ran for the second tee.
(c)1999. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jeff Aubery, Mark & Chrissy Donnelly. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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