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The Loop

Do you have to quit golf forever if you hit a shank this bad on the first hole at the Old Course?

February 24, 2020

If you've ever had the chance to play an iconic, bucket-list course, you know that first-tee feeling. "Just put it in play," you tell yourself. "Nice easy swing," you plead. In reality, the nerves make a "nice easy swing" highly unlikely, and as you're telling yourself to "put it in play" you're simultaneously thinking about the out-of-bounds down the left side and the parking lot full of expensive cars in shank territory down the right side. The pit-in-your-stomach feeling makes just taking the club back difficult.

But at the Old Course, it's literally impossible to NOT put it in play. The massive fairway is every hacker's dream, one that invites shot shapes of all sizes. Duck hooks, banana slices, chunks, thin-to-wins, pop-ups and tops are all welcome.

But one shot that's never welcome at any course on earth is the cold, hard shank. One poor soul found this out the hard way at St Andrews, and to make matters worse his buddy shared a video of the shank on social media. It was posted in response to tour pro Zac Blair's question "what's the most memorable golf shot you've ever seen (your own or someone else ... in person or on TV)". Replies began to flow in - "Tiger on 16 at Augusta!" "Phil from the pine straw!" "Christopher Powers' sand wedge to five feet in sub-40 degree temps on the third hole at the 2019 Seitz Cup!" All the usual suspects.

Tom, also known as @culley999 , had a much better shot in mind from his brother's friend. Have a watch:

Serious question: do you have to quit golf forever if you hit a shank this bad on the first tee at the Old Course? That thing almost went backwards. He could have putted it out there and been just as satisfied with the result. Incredibly, it was still in play!

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Those two guys didn't realize it at the time, but they were standing firmly in the danger zone. Good on this kid for being able to laugh it off, though we'd love to know how the rest of the round went. We sincerely hope he finished strong and didn't actually quit golf forever.