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Monday, February 19, 2007

Episode 30 - A Good Walk Spoiled

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Welcome to your other home for schemes and themes.

Today we're talking about tees, birdies, pars and eagles. Irons, clubs, and woods. Bunkers and niblicks. Wedges, divots and mulligans.

Yes, we're talking about the great game that Mark Twain called a "good walk spoiled." Golf.

And to start us off our walk up the fairway we have a man whose wife said was "a golfer who sang for a living." Der Bingle himself, with a song written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and recorded by in 19 and 57 - "Straight Down the Middle."

[Straight Down the Middle]

Bing used to sing the song at his "Crosby Clambakes," his pro-am tournament that he started in Pebble Beach in 19 and 37 and which ran until 2001.

Bing died of a heart attack in 1977 after walking off the 18th green after a golf game. He shot an 85 and won $10. His last words were, "That was a great game of golf, fellas."

Many movie stars, presidents, even musicians have loved the game of golf, including Jackie Gleason who based his show out of Miami Beach so he could play golf year-round, Bob Hope, Meat Loaf, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson, George Strait, Clint Eastwood, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cameron Diaz, Glen Campbell, Katherine Hepburn, Kenny G. Huey Lewis, Vince Gill, and Alice Cooper.

And Bob Dylan, who has been seen on the links at the Malibu Country Club, reportedly has a 17 handicap.

One of the most famous celebrity women golfers was Dinah Shore, even though she had a slight limp caused by childhood polio. When Colgate approached Dinah about hosting a golf tournament for lady golfers, Dinah accepted with enthusiasm and took up the game in earnest. The Colgate (and now Nabisco) Dinah Shore Tournament has been held at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California near Palm Springs since 19 and 72.

Dinah's given name was Frances Rose Shore. But when a New York DJ could only remember the name of a song she had sung at an audition, and asked for "that 'Dinah' girl," the name stuck. While Dinah Shore was a recording, radio, and television star, if you're of a certain age, you might remember her best for her commercials for the Chevrolet Automotive Company…

[See the USA in Your Chevrolet – Dinah Shore]

See the USA in your Chevrolet
America is asking you to call
Drive your Chevrolet through the USA
America's the greatest land of all

On a highway, or a road along the levee
Performance is sweeter, nothing can beat her
Life is completer in a Chevy

So make a date today to see the USA
And see it in your Chevrolet

Traveling East, Travelling West
Wherever you go Chevy service is best
Southward or North, near place or far
There's a Chevrolet dealer for your Chevrolet car

So make a date today to see the USA
And see it in your Chevrolet.

People say that golf got its name because all of the other four letter words were taken.

Musician Glenn Frey is another avid golfer. He was once asked why he'd never written any songs about golf.

"Because there are no good songs about golf," he answered.

We aim to prove him wrong at Dreamtime. Here's a pretty song and a good song and more than a pretty good about golf by the British pop group, Caravan. From 19 and 71, "Golf Girl."

[Golf Girl – Caravan]

In proper English fashion, the Golf Girl sells tea, not beer, as she would in the US of A.

The average golf ball is moving at over 180 miles per hour when driven off the tee. No one is quite sure why golfers shout "Fore" to warn players ahead, but at that speed, you can understand why they do. The term may have evolved from "forecaddie," someone who walked ahead of a golf group and whose job was to track down a ball's location. Or, it may have come from the British artillery warning to infantrymen to drop down before a cannon was fired.

[Fore segment]

Why do golfers wear two pairs of socks?

In case they get a hole in one.

In the 1968 book M*A*S*H by Richard Hooker, Hawkeye uses the ruse of "being the pro from Dover" to obtain free entrance to golf courses. Hawkeye would walk into a pro shop, explain that he was just passing through and that he was Joe, Dave or Jack Somebody, the pro from Dover, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, England, Ohio, Delaware, Tennessee - or Dover-Foxcroft, Maine - whichever location seemed the most likely. The line was used in the movie, but never explained.

Now here's someone who appeared several times in the television version of M*A*S*H, Loudon Wainwright the III. Wainwright once opened an episode of M*A*S*H singing the song "Tokyo", the only time that the series opened without its regular title theme "Suicide is Painless".

Loudon Wainwright with "The Back Nine" -- from his 1986 album More Love Songs

[The Back Nine - Loudon Wainwright]

Wainwright was once tagged one of the many "new Dylans" in the `70s. It turned out that Wainwright was no more a new Dylan than Dylan was an old Wainwright – something that probably made them both very happy. In celebration of Dylan's 50th birthday in 19 and 92, Wainwright penned him an ode, "Talkin' New Bob Dylan

Hey, Bob Dylan, I wrote you a song.
Today is your birthday if I'm not wrong.
If I'm not mistaken you're fifty today,
How are you doin', Bob? What do you say?

Loudon Wainwright III – A Pro from Dover Poet


Dylan recently purchased an estate in the home of golf, Scotland. His 10-bedroom manor is in the village of Nethy Bridge on the River Spey. And there's a nine-hole golf course right next door, the Abernethy golf club.

The Abernethy? Well, that explains a lot.

We got some email here, one from a E Scallet of Washington, D.C. who writes,
Dear Dreamtime,

I have a terrible golf hook. How can I fix it?

Well E. As in the Slice, the Hook is often a product of an improper grip.

Start by looking at your current grip. Remembering the Basics of the Golf Grip, you should only see two knuckles of your left hand. If you see three knuckles, then you have a "strong grip" and this mayb e the cause of your Golf Hook.

You can fix your Hook by trying to change you grip to a "weak grip". Turn your hands slightly counter-clockwise on your grip, thus weakening the Grip. Grip pressure is also a key element in the release process. If the pressure is too loose at impact then the tendency will for the club to release too early causing the ball to Hook. Remember the basics and only hold the club tight enough to keep control.

Hope that helps, E, and keep practicing!
Here's a man who knows how to swing a stick… and how to play a hot tune. Bruce Hornsby working on his swing in the zydeco-flavored "Big Stick."

[Bruce Hornsby - Big Stick]

The sand wedge was designed by golfer Gene Sarazen in 19 and 30 to stroke a golf ball from a sand bunker, also known as a sand trap, bunker or hazard. After Sarazen won the 1932 British and U.S. Opens with the help of his new club, its popularity quickly grew. Professional golfers can hit a sand wedge as far as 120 yards.

Well, we're at the 18th hole and I think it's time to go get a tall, cool one at the club house. We're finishing up with a song that isn't about golf, but is from one of the funniest golf movies ever made, Caddyshack. I'm Alright, by Kenny Loggins.

[I'm Alright]

Keep your sticks straight and your balls clean, and may every one of your shots go straight down that fairway to heaven. See you real soon…

Sources: Most of the songs come out of Matt Hendrickson's Golf Online article, Swing and a Hit. Various Dylan, golf and "Abernethy" threads can be found at Expecting Rain, always my primary source for all things Dylan.


You've been listening to the Dreamtime podcast – occasional commentary on Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour.

Dreamtime is researched and written by Fred Bals, and is a Not Associated With production. As the name says, we're not associated with XM Radio, Bob Dylan, or much of anything else.

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Until next time, dream well.

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almax said...

Thank you for a consistently entertaining site, brilliantly executed. It's a very appropriate complement/compliment to Bob's radio shows.

Fred@Dreamtime said...

What a nice, unexpected compliment. Thank you, Alastair!