Humor by Greg Schwem

As a Chicago resident and die-hard Cubs fan, I'm used to living through springs that begin with so much promise, only to turn into summers full of zero improvement and wasted opportunities, followed by September cries of "wait till next year."

My golf game plays out in identical fashion.

But I have a new reason to be hopeful. Peer inside my bag and feast your eyes on that gleaming putter. DON'T TOUCH IT! You see, that putter was designed EXCLUSIVELY for me.

Now I've never been a huge believer in the theory that technology improves one's golf game. I've shunned pricey balls that supposedly fly higher, truer and farther thanks to their "unconventional dimple design" and "dual core" centers. They all sink equally well in water. Give me a ball that bobs to the surface, floats quickly to the bank and waits for my cart to arrive and I'll purchase six dozen.

Ditto for drivers with adjustable screws that allow the owner to fade or draw the ball. I've been playing golf for more than 40 years and nobody has ever stood on the tee and said, "Whatever you do, don't hit it STRAIGHT."

Putting, however, is a different story. Like most weekend players, I spend precious little time practicing putting. It's more fun to pound driver after driver, wallowing in my own testosterone as I try to reach the 275-yard flag on the range. Putting just seems so . . . wimpy by nature.

Nevertheless, the soft spongy putting surface is where my game goes to die. That's why I was so intrigued with the concept of a custom-designed putter. I interpreted that to mean I would now own a putter that would be more than a club; it would be my best friend. I would take it into bars after rounds and sit it on an adjoining stool, while recounting to other golfers how I made three 40-footers simply because "my putter knows what to do." In short, it would be the sword of Excalibur.

I happily met Mike, my custom putter fitter, in an unremarkable office park where remarkable putters are allegedly born. While I attempted to sink several 8-foot putts, Mike videotaped my stroke. I watched in horror and immediately updated a mental list entitled, "Things I NEVER Want to See on a Big Screen." My golf swing became No. 1. "Me Having Sex" dropped to No. 2.

Mike went into another room, most likely to convulse in laughter. He returned with several putters and twice as much putting terminology. I nodded silently as he described my "toe drag," and "forward press."

The only term I understood was "wristy," as in, "You're way too wristy."

Over the next hour, Mike tried everything to reduce my wrist, short of breaking it. I putted with my head against a wall, with a ball wedged between the shaft and my right forearm, with my left hand only, my right hand only and with my eyes closed. Remarkably that one went in; at least it sounded like it did.

He then took the putter from my hands, placed it in some contraption that may very well have come from a CIA interrogation room, made some noisy adjustments and returned it to me.

"You're good to go," he said.

I handed him a large amount of money and he handed me the putter and his card. "If you make any changes to your stroke, bring it back." I interpreted that to mean he would make more adjustments, courtesy of the mystery machine.

I headed out convinced that the machine and the putter will cure me of my putting woes because I now have technology on my side. It's like having a GPS in your vehicle. Voila! Suddenly you are good at directions.

I don't plan to miss any more putts inside 10 feet. But in case I do, I have one question.

What do custom-designed wrists cost?

Humorist Greg Schwem is a stand-up comedian and author of Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad

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