I’m a sucker for a good seminar, I’ll admit, and two are coming up in May. The first (5/12) is an introduction to a green reading system called AimPoint, to be hosted at Harvest Hill Golf Course, while the second (5/19) is a Golf Rules seminar, offered by the New York State Golf Association (in collaboration with the USGA, BDGA and RDGA.)

Let’s break these down a bit. I have a friend, an artist, who consistently and heartlessly smokes me on the putting green. It took me a while, but I understand why. He sees three dimensions and I can only sort out two. He sees undulations, fluctuations, rolls and sway that escape me. As a result, the best I can do is measure distance and hope that I get the break right. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

AimPoint counts among its believers a scourge of expert players whose livelihood depends on rolling the ball with the flat stick. This parliament of professionals can be found on the company’s website, but more important is the quality of instruction that the system promises. Imagine for a moment that you could properly identify slope, the relationship between slope and break and the ultimate importance of speed~would it be worth the price of 2010’s best drivers?

If you want to buy this year’s hottest driver, it will set you back $400 to $500 dollars. If you search for a new 2010 model from the same company, you’ll probably pay around $200, $25 more than the AimPoint seminar at Harvest Hill. Last time I checked, no club championship, weekly medal, stag or scramble was won with the longest drive. Every time I check, the lass or lad with the silkiest stroke and finest short game usually claims the laurel wreath.

The second seminar, on the Rules of Golf, is free. Yes, free. It will be held at Westwood Country Club in Amherst and currently has 80 of 100 slots remaining for registration (I know, as I was #20.) Club tournament directors and area golf coaches are the first who should sign up for this seminar; so should local college and tournament players. Just as a silky putting stroke and understanding of green-reading fundamentals will save you strokes (and win you plaudits), so too will a knowledge of how to make the rules work for you. Knowing where and when to drop, the number of strokes it costs, and many other rules applications will make a difference in that club match or state qualifier you’ve already signed for. At the same time, you’ll preserve the integrity of the game and be equipped to pass on the rules of the great game to subsequent generations.

Two seminars for less than $200. That’s why I’m already signed up for both.