The Game Of Gentlemen?

My youngest son loves golf. He plays at least once a week, and never misses a weekend tournament on the television. He knows the professional and some of the personal life of almost every pro on the circuit. And insists on sharing this all with me. And I am bored out of my skull!

I used to play golf regularly. Or I should say, played at it. But my enthusiasm slowly ebbed. Because I don’t chase a ball around during the winter months, and my fishing schedule during the warmer months takes up my allotted days away from the wife, golf fell by the wayside. But in the years I played I saw or was a part of several memorable experiences.

Joe was one I played with often. He took the game quite seriously, and was known to throw a tantrum or two. Once he threw his bag in a pond, clubs and all, swearing he would never the play again. After cooling down, he paid some kid ten bucks to dive down and reclaim them. Twice I saw him bend clubs around trees. Like I said, he took the game seriously.

Once we were playing with another friend of his, Stan, who also played well. There was always a fierce rivalry between the two. One day while walking to the next tee they got in an argument. Joe stated he could hit a ball further with his 4 iron than his friend could with a 4 wood. It was inevitable that a bet arose, ten dollars. Once at the tee Stan swung away with his 4 wood, hitting a respectable drive. Joe showed an obvious determination to drive the ball into the next time zone. He took a vicious cut, and proceed to take out a divot long and deep enough to plant spuds. The ball dribbled out about ten feet. While Joe seethed, Stan roared. Joe then countered he could still put the ball in the hole in a less amount of strokes than Stan, double or nothing. In case of tie, nothing would be owed. Joe eventually chipped on the green with an easy putt for par. He just knew the best Stan could do was tie him, at least saving his ten dollars. Stan had about the same chip from off the green. Joe let out a gleeful wail when he immediately saw that Stan had struck the ball far too hard, knowing it would fly off the back side of the green. Miraculously, on the fly, his ball hit the flagpole about half way up and dropped straight down into the hole for a birdie, bettering Joe by one stroke. I believe the golfers on the far side of the course could hear Joe’s rantings. Of course it didn’t help when Stan casually replied that he planned the shot exactly that way.

Both Joe and I worked for St. Regis Logging Company. One day he invited a fellow worker, Larry, to play. He was a total novice to the game. Like many of the loggers, he had a colorful vocabulary. We were about to tee off on an elevated tee. Down the hill and to the left were two golfers putting on a green for another hole. Larry teed off, his ball traveling almost straight up and off to the left. When he saw that his ball was about to drop right where these two putters were at he yelled out a warning.

Being the serious golfer he was, Joe dropped his head in disgust. “Larry,” he said with a tired sigh, “when you’re give a warning, you yell FORE….You don’t yell, WATCH YOUR F****** ASS!”

Because during the summer months the golf courses could be crowded, three of us made the decision to be on the first tee right at daylight. A thick fog blanketed the fairway. Ahead and off to the right of the first tee was the parking lot. The first two players hit long and straight drives. Not to be out done, I gave a vicious swing. My ball sliced badly off to the right and into the parking lot. Other than our car, there was just one other vehicle, its owner getting his clubs out of the trunk. I couldn’t have hit his car more perfect. The ball made an resounding BANG on impact. If his look could have killed, I would have been dead on the first tee. I quickly made a feeble attempt at handing my club to one of the others. With raised hands they backed away from me as if I had the plague.

Maybe it was good that I quit golf.

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4 thoughts on “The Game Of Gentlemen?

  1. I finally read the last three days of your baseball story and I went to comment, and they were gone! Why did you delete them? Anyway, I loved the way you ended it. It was nostalgic and sentimental and as much as I felt so sad that it was over, I felt that you were okay with moving on to those next chapters in your life.

  2. I hate golf so much! I only played once and I was awful, I could have boasted that I was great if the intention was to actually dig a trench. I spent more time in the long grass than the Viet Cong. I only managed to hit it cleanly once and that was when I threw the ball in the air and swung my club at it – my dad played Hurling when he was young so I guess it’s in the genes.
    When we got back to the clubhouse someone asked me what my handicap was, I told them my handicap was that I couldn’t hit the f****** ball.

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