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May 06, 2008

Renaissance Man: What Did You Shoot?

VitruvianmanConde Nast Traveler stuntman Mark Schatzker is on a mad quest to make himself into a modern-day Da Vinci during a month's stay in Europe. His first task: Learn golf in Scotland.

Everyone keeps asking. You know why? Because they can't wait to hear me say that I shot a lousy game, because secretly the whole world wants me to be bad at golf.

And when I say the whole world, I include myself. That's the only way I can explain the deluge of mental errors that is conspiring to sabotage my game and keep me off the PGA circuit.

But perhaps a dash of perspective might be useful here. Before visiting Scotland, I played golf all of three times in my life. (Seven times, if you include mini-putt.) The first time, which was in grade 10, I managed to hit the ball backwards on my first ever drive. The last time I played golf was a little over five years ago at my stag, after an afternoon of mountain biking and protracted beer drinking. I didn't hit the ball backwards. I'm not even sure if I hit the ball at all that day.

I can't tell you everything about my day on the links with Jim Farmer, because I have to save something for the magazine story, which is coming out in September. But I will tell you this. I did manage to double bogey twice.

That's not going to win me any sponsorship deals, obviously. And the truth is, I was expecting better. After the game, I followed the advice of a friend and indulged in that other notable Scottish tradition--caber tossing. Just kidding. I went out for a glass of Scotch. I sipped it slowly and thought back to that first drive, the one that went backwards. Then I thought about the day's game and about the many shots that went forwards, even if a number of them also went a bit sideways. Forwards, I realized in a moment of mental clarity, is better than backwards. That, of course, is why we all love Scotch so much. It helps you think straight.

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The nineteenth hole.


We all have our days on the course. My dad used to call it a 'a good walk gone bad'.

Wow. That is one ugly swing. (You're clearly favouring your right hand.)

But keep up what's working for you.

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