I confess. I am a slicer. I can't help it. I've tried to stop. I have even been able to get it under control, sometimes for weeks.
But sooner or later, my dark habit returns like a recurring, horrifying nightmare.
I am, of course, talking about my golf game.
I've been playing golf for nearly 40 years, and for as long as I can remember I have had a nasty slice when I tee off.
For non-golfers, a slice is what occurs when the struck golf ball boomerangs wildly to the right.
When it veers to the left (for a right-handed golfer), that's called a hook. Sadly, they are common afflictions of recreational and beginner golfers.
The problem is highly-resistant to corrective measures -- and absolutely maddening.
So, naturally, when I read earlier this month in the New York Times about a new ball that allegedly goes straight no matter how badly you hit it, I was intrigued.
The ball is called the Polara Ultimate Straight golf ball. It promises to remove up to 75 percent of your hook or slice, meaning it will improve -- though not totally straighten -- your golf shot, no matter how badly you hit it.
How does it work? It's actually pretty complicated. I spoke to Dave Felker, head of technology and chair of the board of Polara Golf, for half an hour and I confess I still didn't fully understand the aerodynamics of it.
The short, simplified explanation is that unlike a regular golf ball, which has symmetrical dimples of uniform size all over its surface, the Polara ball has dimples of differing size and depth.
The purpose is to modify or arrest the side spin that occurs when the ball is hit badly. Side spin is what sends the ball careening off to the right or left.
"We prevent side spin," he said.
For the Polara ball to work to its maximum corrective effect, the ball has to be aligned with the shallowest dimples at the top and bottom.
The Polara ball helps you figure this out: it has a green arrow printed on it. You put the ball down with the arrow on top and then hit it.
Polara was kind enough to send me a dozen balls to test drive.
On a recent Tuesday, I grabbed the box, stuffed my clubs into the trunk of my car and drove to New Haven, Connecticut where I know Peter Pulaski, the head golf pro at the beautiful Yale University course.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have taken lessons from Peter the past two years in an effort to cure my slice -- with limited success.
This time, I wanted to know what would happen if an accomplished player like Peter tried intentionally to slice or hook a Polara.
Would the Polara defeat his deliberate efforts to mis-hit it? Even more important, I wanted to know if it would help me.
We decided to try out the Polaras on Yale's third hole. It is a gorgeous Par 4 with serious trouble on the right in the form of a very large, menacing pond that is like a magnet for golf balls.
You have to hit the ball straight (or slightly to the left) to reach the fairway. Anything hit even slightly to the right on this unforgiving hole is going into the water.
Peter teed up a Polara and struck it in a way that should have sent it shooting off the right.
To our amazement, it went dead straight.
Peter walked away, shaking his head in delighted disbelief.
"It IS something," he said. "I tried to hit it in the water but it kept going straight."