I was able to play golf in 17 states as well as Canada and Mexico. I did not expect these anecdotes to become a volume; but I want to talk a little about some of the courses:
I’ve only played a few courses where the pros play. Very good.
But I would like to mention that these small town courses are usually the pride of the whole town. They are saved and not expensive to play.
While we were visiting my wife’s sister, she told me she thought the next town over—Richmond, Missouri—had a golf course. So I got directions and went.
Richmond has a great little hometown golf course! I was sent to join a trio. They turned out to be high school football coaches from Kansas City. An hour drive but they were members there just for that course. What place!
My wife and I called three families of her cousins who were also my friends from years past. We told them we weren’t sure when we would be there. They said, “I’ll see you when you get here.”
We arrived late afternoon in Greencastle, Ind. While looking for a motel, we passed a golf course. After we settled in, I told my wife I was coming back – maybe I could play nine.
So when I pulled up to the place I saw about 30 guys on this big deck. It was obvious they were having something of an outing. When I walked into the pro shop the gentleman said they were just wrapping up for the day. Invite me over for a hotdog and a beer. I asked if I could play nine. He said, “Of course. Get one of those carts over there. I reached for my money clip. Nine dollars. He said I could play the back nine as well, and No. 10 is “right there.” I grab a cart, put on my golf shoes, grab my clubs and drive around back to the course. The sign reads: “Par 4, 280 yards, white tee.”
When I look out, I see a nice little pond guarding the left side of the green. There was also a water spout in the middle. I swing two clubs a few times to get ready, country music plays softly. I don’t hear much conversation—I know everyone is watching me from this deck. I’m thinking, just hit him. You will never see any of them
colleagues again. Try to make a good pass at him.
When I hit him I was like, Hang in there baby. Hit about 20 yards and trickled onto the green. From where I’m standing, it looks like he’s facing the flag. When I get to the green I have 5 feet. This green is flat. I later find out that the entire golf course is flat. I take out the flag. I don’t know the speed. I’ll just make it easy there. What happens, happens. It turned out great.
I didn’t look back. I’m playing a quick nine. When I’m done, I go to the pro shop. There are a few guys still on deck. The pro asks, “How did you do?” “Looked like you eagled 10.” I told him I birdied 16 but had three bogeys – even 35.
The pro said, “You must be an A player.” Tomorrow morning we will have a battle. Will you be around? We have a shortage of A-players.
I told him I would have to talk to my wife. When I got back to the motel, I asked my wife if she had called the cousins yet. She said no. I told her I’m invited to play scramble in the morning, do you mind? Naturally, she said, “Sounds like fun. I will sleep late and sit by the pool. I told her we should be ready by 2.
I get to the course. Get my stuff and sign up. The pro says, “Hey, glad you made it. Can you repeat your name?” I don’t remember telling him my name the night before. He calls one of the guys, “Hey, Erskine, this is your player ‘A’. I don’t remember the names of our other two players, but remember Erskine I never heard that name again until one of the guys being chased by Crocodile Dundee in that movie was called Erskine.
We shake hands, he introduces the other two players. We start at 1, a shotgun start. Everyone heads to their t-shirts.
We go to No. 1, a par 5, 509 yards. This course is even. I don’t see the green and I told them so. They tell me, “The green is over there, on the other side of those trees.” It’s on the left, 180 degrees. I was told we had to go past that row of trees, hit left at about a 45 degree angle, then hit the third shot into the green.
“How wide is this strip of trees? I asked and was told it was about 75 yards and 50 yards to the trees.” I can hit my 7-wood a little further than that but that’s all I have .
I ask about the order they like to hit. They said what most fights do: Player “D”, Player “C”, Player “B”, Player “A”. When it’s my turn, I hit hard and high. We are looking for it to come down. No one sees him fall. About half way up the fairway, they have a crossover spot.
My ball is in front of the green. It was weird to me that when I hit the ball I would be to the right of the green, but when we got the ball it was in front of the green. So here we go, my ball is a little off course and 20 yards from the green. The pin is about 20 feet away. We have a 27-yard field.
I think a little dude and run might be good. I’m also thinking about a 4 inch high back. As a bullet, 2 inches from the ground, it hits the dead center of the pin, goes back a bit and stops 5 inches from the cup.
Erskine tells player “D”, “You put it there, go touch it.” The player starts over and Erskine says, “Not with your 6-iron! Use your putter!” The player said, “My putter broke. I figured I’d use yours.
We only had three other birds. One of them came on No. 10. I own that hole! Sorted a little 75.
I had a great time. All nice people. But as I told myself at number 10 the night before: I’ll never see any of these guys again.