Ronnie Oliver, Randy Woods, Homer Whittington, Roger Herndon and Tony Aguilar (61), gave no thought to either the Goat Hill Ranch golf course nor the Belly-Up Bar while winning last week’s senior scramble at Bayou Golf Club. More than likely, neither did Badge Buddy Randy Burrows, Mikey Lane, Danny Suhble and Robert Palermo, whose 62 gained them a cool second place.

Charley Hoffman, Xander Schauffele, Chris Riley and Dean Wilson, on the other hand, were busy entertaining and playing some sizzling golf at “the goat” out in Oceanside, Calif. just north of Encinitas, where I happened to be visiting over Thanksgiving weekend. They were putting on a clinic and exhibition match to raise money for the daughter of the San Diego State University golf coach, who suffers from Rhett syndrome — a serious neurological disease with astronomical treatment costs. If like me, at least prior to last weekend, you know nothing about either the disease or the golf course, both are worth looking into.

Schaufelle and Riley were starched and pressed, albeit casual by Tour standards in their short pants. Hosting the “Wishbone Brawl,” Dean Wilson was also dapper as well as delightful. Then there was Charley Hoffman, wearing shorts, a tee shirt and flip-flops, grinning from ear to ear as he entertained and also lit up the course, only to be outdone by Shauffele, who was seven under par after 14 holes. Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella served as on-course commentator.

The Belly-Up has absolutely nothing to do with golf, except if you ever need to relax after a round in the San Diego area, I highly recommend it for good company and outstanding music. For just a moment, I was back on the Island and at the Silver Spot (Elbow Room); Rooster was on keyboards and Buddy Rains on sax, with Dale Williams playing lead guitar and Danny Smith belting out some blues. It was a great retreat into my brain, which leads me neatly into discussion of a recurring personal malady that some, if not many, golfers you know perhaps share.


“This is the side of your brain you want to use when checking your math homework, doing your taxes or listening to your spouse. It can process 40 instructions per second. It is very slow and detail oriented.” Right then and there, as I read Rob Strano’s instructional piece “Are You a Head Case? How Neurofeedback Can Help,” I knew I was on the right track — and in trouble, deep.

If you are now laughingly thinking you know what comes next, you are also on the right track — sort of. Joking about having hundreds of swing thoughts is common over post-round libation and discussion. Lamenting about “thinking too much” is a common theme. Playing “golf swing” instead of golf is how I like to describe my recurring malady: I can change my mind (and swing) several times just in the course of the backswing. As it turns out, that ability is not so much a hindrance; neuroscience says I’m just using the ability in the wrong portion of my brain. Perhaps you are, too.

Strano reportedly sometimes uses song lyrics to help his students understand and apply his instruction. That’s fine by me, except that he uses only the colors of red and green in the article I read, so there would seem to be no place for Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” the melody, guitar work and lyrics of which I am currently attempting to learn. Making my brain glow red (more on that in a minute) while working on the song likely would be OK by Strano, but Urban’s brain likely glows green while he actually performs the song, as evidenced by the natural, fluid movements of his hands on the guitar and the production of sounding the lyrics in melody.

I’m willing to let Strano strap his FocusBand on my head and let its three sensors go to work creating an algorithm to describe my mind’s activity and start the process of training me to control the red/green switch inside my head. You see, overloading the part of the brain that can process 40 instructions per second is apparently not my issue (malady). Rather, I need to use the right side of my brain (green glow) while actually playing a shot: That green glow in the brain means the creative side of the mind is engaged, and it can process 11 MILLION instructions per second! I never liked checking math homework or doing taxes anyway, so learning how to flip the switch might benefit more than just my golf game.

If there seems to be a lot of interest, maybe I can get us a group rate!

Be safe, on and off the course.

(1) comment

Gary Miller

If the "goat hill course' mentioned is the same one I played just south of the Marine base it is the most unique course I ever played and I've played Golf in 30 US states and 23 European countries. My boss, at the time, Butch Harmon asked me to play it and buy as many caps as I could. It had a reputation among pro golfers. Many of them make a point to play there when on the west coast.

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