Renslow: The inches between the ears |

Renslow: The inches between the ears

Before you read anymore of this column, go get that album, CD, cassette tape, 8-track, or iTunes song with Stevie Wonder singing 'Superstition.'

Can you hear it?

"Very superstitious, writings on the wall…very superstitious, ladder's 'bout to fall." Okay, good.

It is said about other sports, but no truer than in our game — golf is a game of inches, the inches between your ears.

We have all hit good shots (some of them by design) and yet we have difficulty repeating the process.

Strange that our body has the ability to achieve, but in some odd twist of nature, our mind has a mind of its own. Or, it may be that something outside of ourselves has a greater effect than we would like to admit. We seem to know, instinctively, that in golf and often in life, there is more to it than just the physical things that we can touch or feel.

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Therefore, if something is "out there," we will try to influence it as positively as possible. In life, we stay away from a number, like 13. Or we avoid walking under ladders.

Tour player or amateur alike, we have our own quirky or sometimes sentimental ways to tempt fate. Golfers will use coins with their birth year on them (it's getting harder and harder to find mine). I know one player who will not use orange tees.

If memory serves, it was Seve Ballesteros who would not use a ball with the number three on it. He might three putt. Others feel the need to use a certain number, such as a low number one or a special order for number eight.

What about the scorecard? Is it bad luck for your name to be first? Have you considered a favorite hat, shirt, or socks? Please don't let this get so far as to not wash them.

Knowing all of this, are you ready for a solid, iron-clad piece of advice? Do what you want to do. If it makes you feel more comfortable or confident, just do it. As long as we don't bother anyone else or slow down play on the course, knock yourself out.

This game is a lot of fun, but it's not easy. Enjoy the freedom to implement anything that might give us an edge. Just be careful of the path you take to the golf course — a black cat may have crossed it.

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta SierraCountry Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at

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