The Senior Open is being played just down the road from me at Indianwood Country Club, so this is probably a good time to take a break from the political comments, and write about something fun… And yes, I have played that course, and it is tough, especially from the back tees.
Just a little background: I started playing golf when I was 16, and by the age of 18, I had a legitimate 8 handicap (by legitimate, I’m talking about no mulligans, do-overs, or other “local” or seasonal rules). Playing off and on over the years, the handicap has fluctuated up and down, but I’ve always enjoyed the game (well, except when I hit a bad shot…). I haven’t played for a few years now, so I would struggle just to keep the stroke count under 100 (for 18, not for 9 holes, so get that thought out of your heads!).
And now, on to the stories!
My former boss Mark and I were hitting the driving range before a scramble, and he was having trouble with hitting his driver. Hooks, slices, worm-burners, and sky-balls – anything but straight. He turns to me and tells me that he thinks that his club is broken, and asks if I could take a look at it.
At the time, I built & repaired clubs on the side, so I went ahead and examined it. Grip was tight, the head was aligned with the shaft & grips, so I teed one up, and sent it downrange. Perfectly straight, 250 yards… Teed up 4 more balls and sent them after the first, with the last one settling down around 280.
I turned to Mark and told him deadpan, “You’re right, it’s broken. Do you want to trade drivers for the round?”
My buddy Jay and I went out after work to this little 9-hole golf course not far from the plant, plunked down $5 twilight fee, and hit the course. Several holes later, we were dead even and facing a dogleg right par-5 loaded with trees on both sides of the fairway. Jay hits a beautiful drive, setting himself up for a long-second shot at the green. I, on the other hand, didn’t do so well.
I made very bad swing, and popped it off the toe of the club, and ended up in the tree line on the right side of the fairway a very, very long way from the bend. I was essentially in jail without a shot. Jay, of course, is laughing his a** off because he is about to pull ahead in the match.
I just looked at him, pulled the 4-wood I had in the bag, and told him that I’m just going to have to slice it around the corner. Of course, he just laughed harder.
Following the swing, we both watched the ball fly true and straight…until it got to the bend. I could have sworn that little white ball turned on the right-hand turn signal as just before it scooted off to the right behind the trees.
We walked up to his ball perfectly placed in the bend and looked toward the green. There, in the fairway about 30 feet in front of the green, was a little white ball. Jay just looked at me, & shook his head. We both tied the hole, and the match went on.
On another day, Jay and I were playing again at the same par-5, and Jay steps up to the tee. Now Jay, if he could control his drives, could easily hit the ball 300 yards. But I digress…
Jay rears back, swings as hard as he could, and pops the ball off the toe, driving it into the women’s tee box marker. The ball ricochets back toward me, and before I can move, shoots between my legs and hits the tree behind me, and zoomed upward through the branches.
Jay is looking out into the fairway, and asked “Where did it go?” a mere second before the ball dropped 10 feet in front of him…
During the same round, Jay and I are standing on the tee of the 8th hole, a par-3 145-yard hole. I had teed off, and landed the ball 20 feet in front of the pin. Jay steps up and takes a mighty swing, striking the ball sharply…
…and broke the head off his club!
The ball lands 4 feet from the pin, the head of the club halfway to the hole, Jay looking blankly at the now headless shaft, and me laughing so hard that tears were coming out of my eyes.
Regardless, I par the hole, and Jay birdies. He wins the hole, and later, the round. And all it cost him was his 8-iron.
That’s all the stories for now. Let me know if you like these stories, and want to read more.