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Teeing it up with hope again.

The calendar has been flipped three times again marking the time of year when we all line up to smell the freshly cut grass. To take in the beauty and serenity of the great outdoors. To place a new ball on a sturdy white tee.

And it is time to use the new words you learned over the winter as you scream after shanking said ball off said tee. Oh, the wonder and woe that golf brings!

The new golf season begins with so much promise. "Could this be ... [fill in the blank]":

"The year I break 110 [or some other personal unvisited scoring territory]?"

"The year I finally beat Fred [or whatever friend of yours gets the better of you so often that you set up a direct deposit to his checking account to lessen the pain at the end of the round]?"

"The year I hit my first hole-in-one?" (More on that later.)

The fantastic thing is that every round is a microcosm of these goals--each beginning with such potential and usually ending with such disappointment.

Being an extremely untalented golfer without an official handicap--but with dozens of actual ones on the course--I feel your pain. I have come to the conclusion that not much is going to change for most people regarding their place in the golf food chain.

So, do the American thing. When you can't rise to the next level, drag as many people down into your personal Hades as possible. At least there are water hazards in Golf Hades.

According to information provided in 2005 by the National Golf Foundation and echoed in a 2009 Golf Digest column, the average score of an adult amateur golfer was 98.3 (96.4 for men, 108.1 for women). More specifically, according to the report, only 5 percent of golfers shoot in the 70s. Just fewer than 20 percent shoot in the 80s, 27 percent shoot in the 90s and the rest (48 percent) shoot 100-plus.

This, of course, doesn't take into account the people who bend the truth, misreport and lose count. It also doesn't include the score adjustment for people who roll it around in the middle of summer, pull it out of the occasional sand trap and consider six-foot putts "gimmes." You also have to consider the small percentage of these golfers who are just BIG FAT lIARS. For me (mid-80s to mid-90s player), this information is comforting.

As long as we are talking numbers, keep in mind that the odds of an average amateur drinking from golf's Holy Grail, the hole-in-one, are around 1- in 13,000. What that means to you is that the odds are too long to even let it enter your mind. You should be more focused on not being struck by lightning in your lifetime (odds are 1 in 5,000), getting hurt mowing (1 in 3,623), or having your identity stolen (1 in 200). Or you could spend time thinking about the chances of some positive things, like writing a New York Times bestseller (1 in 220), or bowling a 300 (1 in 11,500). All are more likely than making an ace.

If you are going to entertain the extremely unlikely, you might as well try to figure the odds of beating Tiger Woods straight up (0 in whatever number you want to put in this space).

Heck, the odds of getting separated or divorced in the first 15 years of marriage are better than even money. There are probably a lot of frustrated golfers included in that figure. Maybe some of these guys shooting 120 should stay home and do laundry. Kill two birds with one stone.

I do want to leave you with a little hope at least. I actually hit a hole-in-one once. So I'm saying there's a chance. Happy hacking.

Justin Acri is program director of KABZ-FM, 103.7 "The Buzz," and host of "The Zone," weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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Title Annotation:THE PRESSBOX
Author:Acri, Justin
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Apr 6, 2009
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