Enough with the worm-burners, wayward divots and weak slices – Operation Don’t Suck (ODS) begins this week.

Rather than feel shamed and hide the fact I’m going to take golf lessons for the first time in my life, I’m going to celebrate it. My first lesson is this Tuesday and you can add it to the public record.

Here’s the dirty little secret I’ve been hiding for the past couple years – I’m lousy at golf. I breathe the sport, watch it, love it, care about it, and write about it but in truth, I can’t play it.

It wasn’t always this way. Growing up in Salamanca, NY I spent much of my high school summers at the golf course. I shot 81 to qualify for the sectional tournament as a high school junior. I have two holes-in-one on the same Par 3 back at Elkdale Country Club. I once went out to play nine holes and came to the seventh tee at (-1), only to make an eight and then two pars to shoot three over.

Then, things changed. College pulled me away from the golf course. Work and a career pulled me away from the golf course. Being young and not having a lot of money pulled me away from the golf course, too. I’ve played less and less each of the last seven years. As a result, my game’s acted like an escaped felon and left the country.

Last summer was the absolute worst. I probably played 12 times and had fun twice. My tee shots had trouble staying in Erie County. I developed a nasty habit of dropping my shoulder and chunking just about every shot I had to hit off the ground. I don’t think I made a birdie all year. It was miserable and as a result, so was I.

At the end of last October I put my golf clubs in the back room and happily told them I wouldn’t see them for a while. I talked with a few people about how it was probably time for me to stop playing and take a summer off.

But, golf has a funny grip on me. No matter how many bad shots I hit, I eventually come back. Watching the PGA Tour on its California swing the past few months, I’ve been itching to get out and play. I’ve even let the clubs out of the back room.

I realized over the winner that I had two options. I could be stubborn and keep playing less and less and worse and worse. Or, I could break down and take lessons. Finally learn how to swing the golf club correctly. If I stick with it and work hard, maybe I’ll even play better than I did in those high school years.

Thus, Operation Don’t Suck begins Tuesday. I’m excited to actually work to get better this year. The BuffaloGolfer team is already planning a trip down to Bethpage later this summer. I want to be able to at least hold my own.

I’ll be bringing you all along for the ride, too. Each week I’ll blog about what the pro is teaching me and how it’s helping. Maybe you’ll enjoy reading about my improvements. Maybe you’ll decide it’s time for lessons too.

They say the first step in every recovery process is realizing you have a problem. Well, I’ve realized I suck at golf. Now, finally, I’m going to do something about it.