By Warren Miller
The other day I was asked to play golf with some friends of mine after they had exhausted calling all of the good players they usually play with. Since the local golf club only has 70 members, good players sometimes have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to make up a foursome during the week. I can catch salmon near my house; so I can’t just go out and play golf at the drop of a fishing pole.
This time I did.
I have never played a round of golf without losing at least a six pack of golf balls. However, when I go looking for my poorly hit golf balls, mine are easier to find because some of them are yellow and have a black stripe around them.
I was still busy trying to get into my shoes with the spikes on them while I was watching the group ahead of us who had rented two carts with internal combustion engines. One of theirs had a blown muffler and sounded like a broken weed whacker.
The first guy hit five bad mulligans before he finally dribbled one about thirty yards. And his was the best shot of the foursome.
The third guy to tee off could be excused because he had lost one of his legs in World War Two during the invasion of Normandy. He did quite well I thought when he out drove his three partners by two and a half feet. This was far enough for the four of them to break out a bottle of scotch and pour a round of drinks for everyone to sip on while they played the rest of the hole.
All of their drives where about the same distance and with a drink of scotch in their hands they then drove their carts to the closest ball to watch it’s owner hit it. One of them struggled out of the cart and then they discussed what club he should use. Finally the three of them watched the designated driver hit his ball another thirty or forty yards. This called for another sip of scotch all around and then they drove to where the next ball was buried in the deep grass, and so it went. It was twenty-five minutes before they where far enough down the fairway for me to finally tee off. There is a highway going down the left hand side of the first fairway with a lot of three-foot tall grass between the fairway and the road. I hooked my shot right over that tall grass and onto the asphalt highway. Once there, it narrowly missed the roof of a passing car, bounced under the car ahead of it and was bounced about a hundred yards down the highway where it bounced out from under the car and back onto the only place the fairway is close to the road. This was by far the longest drive I have ever hit in my so far meaningless golf career, an awesome hundred and thirty-four yards. We probably should have played along behind this group of men who fought in the great war to protect us from the invading hordes, but we didn’t have all day to play the nine holes. Our small course is laid out in such a way that we can skip the rest of the first hole, all of the second hole and move on to the third hole.
My flogging saga continued for the rest of the round. When we got to the ninth hole, I discovered that one of my partners had been keeping score. When he announced my score, I thought, ” Wow! I’ve broken sixty for nine holes for the first time.” It was then that I found out we still had only played seven holes. We still had to play hole number one and two that now become eight and nine, regardless of what it said on the flags. My goal is to play a round of golf with a lower score than my age. Or at least it was until I found out that you have to play eighteen holes for it to count. If I can just keep playing the way I did in this round, I will be able to play lower than my age in a couple of more years, but I’ll do it for nine holes.
I have always set realistic goals, but having watched me play golf on occasions, my wife tells me that I have finally set an unrealistic one. She tells this to a man who took up skiing in 1936 and built his first surfboard in 1938. A man who still thinks he is a fourteen-year-old kid. She admits that I am, but constantly reminds me that I am still trapped in a senior citizen’s body.