Urban Golf NYC

The Home Swing

Idle moments at home and a golf club can be a dangerous combination.

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My problem is I like to play golf. My other problem is that I live in New York City.

When people ask me where I live, I like to say At Home. At home is a modest one bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Visitors probably find little novelty here - old couches, wooden bookshelves, a pile of unfolded clothes in the bedroom. There's a nice view out the kitchen window west down 14th street towards the Hudson River. I also have an elevated drafting table for a desk as it's more suitable to my 6 foot plus frame. Nothing that generates much curiosity. That is until one looks up at the ceiling and sees dozens of metallic marks grooved into the paint, grouped in dense clusters here and there. Dude, what happened to your ceiling? they ask.

Anyone used to having space has some adjusting to do in New York City. This is especially true for a large person like myself. I moved to New York four years ago from Texas, where bigger is better. Since arriving here, I've learned things like tight spaces and low ceilings are all relative. I am hyperaware of my surroundings given the high likelihood of knocking into someone or something if I don't restrain my gangly limbs. You would think I'd be more careful boxed into my apartment, but for a golfer, the temptation to swing a club during idle moments is too much to resist. My eight iron is usually propped up against the wall instead in the closet with the rest of my clubs. It beckons to me. I find myself absentmindedly making slow swings at the air. I usually keep the swings short in length, but that's only useful for rehearsing short shots. Like most golfers, I'm obsessed with distance, so I have to practice my full shots too. So every now and then, the toe of my club catches the ceiling during the followthrough. It makes a low clonky noise and typically leaves a trail of paint on the end of the club. The indentations in the dry wall have accumulated in claw-like patterns over time as if some gravity-defying cat has been running around back and forth.

My ceiling isn't the only victim of my domestic practice. The floor also takes quite a beating. Air swings sort of defeat the purpose of hitting a ball on the ground, so I try to brush the floor, just barely. As I've gotten braver over time, my swings have become more forceful and less controlled, sometimes crashing into the floor. One evening of particularly loud practice resulted in a strongly worded note from my downstairs neighbor. They described hearing an unsual whomping sound, repeating over and over, in 5 to 10 second intervals. The news tempered my practice regimen only temporarily. I bought a thicker throw rug which seems to be helping. Furniture is also at risk. The end of a couch has started to splinter and I've lost a cup or two. I strongly encourage other indoor golfers to choose carefully when shopping for coffee tables. I learned that lesson the hard way.

In the weeks and months to come I plan to prove that it is possible to live an urban life with a golf affliction, although it can be hazardous to your apartment's health.