Golf Stories–Walking Through the Weeds

We all need to sit back & relax once in a while.  It puts perspective, real perspective, on this journey we call life.

But I do wonder why the Olympics doesn’t include golf.  After all, there are a bunch of professional athletes running around playing basketball, tennis, and God knows what else.  Too bad the amateurs are pretty well locked out of those competitions…

Enough commentary – on to the story!

While living and working in Indianapolis, I belonged to a work golf league that played at the Brownsburg Golf Club every Thursday night.  Our competition was friendly, but we all were as serious as we could be.  But we did have fun, at least most of the time.

For most of the season, I was leading the league. On week 10 of a 16-week season, I found myself in sole possession of first place, with only a few percentage points separating me from second place. At least, until Week 11, when the wheels came off…

Hole #7 will always be remembered for both the good and the bad experiences.  A par 3, 145-yard hole didn’t seem like much with a huge green, but it was surrounded by sand and trees on three sides, and long grass in the front.  Left, right, or long, you were playing from the beach.  Short of the green, and you needed a weed-whacker just to find the ball.  The green was sloped back to front, which meant that you really needed to put the ball below the hole.  The usual Thursday hole location was right smack in the middle.  Last, it had an elevated tee box.

I was struggling that round, but holding in there, barely ahead of my competition for the night.  I lost honors on the previous hole, and was teeing off last.  Everyone else had landed their balls on the green, reasonably safe, but a long way from the hole.  Then I stepped up to hit, eyed the ball and the green, wound up and just starting on the downswing…

…a chipmunk popped up out of his hole from the side of the tee box, ran full speed across the tee box three feet in front of me, and (presumably) disappeared down another hole on the other side of the tee box!!!

I caught sight of the little bugger out of the corner of my eye midway through the downswing, and of course, was startled by the flash of brown as he streaked right in front of me.  Totally rattled, not knowing what I had really seen, I promptly lost control of the swing.

Blading the ball is never good, and the bottom edge of the 8-iron caught the ball just above the middle of the ball, giving it an over-spin.  The ball took off, bounding off the front of the tee box once, hitting a sprinkler cover.  The ball shot up into the air, making a nice arc as it disappeared into the tall, tall grass halfway to the hole.  I’m standing there absolutely befuddled as my partners laughed their asses off behind me.

It took me two strokes to get out of the grass, with the second swing (stroke 3) landing the ball in the back bunker.  A chip rolled the ball past the hole almost to the front of the green.  Two putts coming back ended the misery…a 6 on a par 3…AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!  Steaming mad

Needless to say, I lost that match, and everyone had a pretty good laugh in the bar that night.  Looking back at it, I had to laugh too, but only after we all got off the course. 

But that was the beginning of the end…I finished fourth in the league, which isn’t bad considering the harassment I got for the rest of the season.  All someone had to say, “Is that a chipmunk?” and my concentration went to pot.  Bastards…

I miss all of them.

Golf Stories – Just a Little Walk Through Life…

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.

Tom’s Place Congratulates …

… the Duke Blue Devils for winning the NCAA Basketball Championship.

I watched the game, and it was close all the way down to the end.  Butler put up a good fight, but Duke prevailed.  I’ll let the pundits dissect the game.

Great game, but I’m going to pay for it tomorrow at work with bleary eyes and a droopy tail…

Cinderella Goes To The Ball

The Butler University Bulldogs of Indianapolis wins the NCAA quarterfinals over the Michigan State Spartans in a close game.  I watched the game, and quite frankly, it was a nail-biter.

Butler has never gone to the NCAA finals, while Michigan has several times over the past few years.  Even though I live in Michigan, I did live in Indianapolis for several years, so I was somewhat hoping that Butler would win.  I guess rooting for the underdog (no pun intended) does have its highs…

Michigan State put up a good game, and have nothing to be sad about.  It’s not every team that makes it to the Final Four.

Just Another Week?

The new job is keeping me really, really busy.  So busy, in fact, that posting anything bordering on semi-rational will be a challenge.  But here goes nothing…

Tiger Woods’s confession/press conference was predictable.  Period.  He said all the right things to calm the corporate body, and sets up a return to golf in the future.  That in itself is minimizing the damage that he has done to his marriage, to his wife, and to his children.  In other words, it was a self-promoting selfish display.  There are a few lessons to be learned from Tiger’s example:

First – It doesn’t matter how rich, successful, or admired you may be, you may not be a happy person.  Some of the happiest people I know are salt of the earth, hard working people that don’t have much money.  Having fame & fortune does not equate to happiness.

Second – Never build your heroes or examples around sports figures.  Instead, be a hero to your kids, and be the example to be followed (if you are a sports personality, then toe the line or be tomorrow’s headline).

Third – It’s more of a question – Why are people only sorry for their actions when they get caught?  Why not before?

As I stated in a previous post, I didn’t think that Obamacare was dead with the election of Scott Brown.  I just had that feeling that the Democrats were going to push for it somehow.

So now the Campaigner in Chief is going to publish and push for his vision of Healthcare, truly making it the Obamacare Mandate.  With the fumbling of Healthcare legislation by Pelosi and Reid, the “one” is going to take over.  Supposedly, the proposal is to be published on-line on the White House, and the reconciliation process is to be televised.  Where was any of this when Congress was meeting behind closed doors and making deals?

But regardless, I somehow don’t think that a government mandate into health insurance coverage is going to fly with the American people.  There are enough rumblings out there that the President and Congress should be paying attention to, but aren’t.  As Mitch McConnell stated:

Using reconciliation would be an acknowledgment that there is bipartisan opposition to their bill, another in a series of backroom deals, and the clearest signal yet that they’ve decided to completely ignore the American people.

And yet, in the meantime, the economy and the loss of jobs weighs heavily on everyone.  The Obama solution is an insane policy of spending to prosperity with pubic funds and heavy borrowing against those funds.  An author, David Warren, says this from the perspective of our neighbor to the North:

Canadians tend to feel smug about this, for we look south at a fiscal catastrophe that had nothing to do with us. For the last generation, we have been trying to claw our way back to budgetary conditions before Pierre Trudeau broke the bank. This had once seemed a small price to pay for his "just society" (or "just watch me"). Surely it was worth mortgaging our children’s future, and that of their children, and children’s children, for the transient privilege of being governed by such a man. (I can still hear the erotic screams of the women, from the 1968 general election, as Trudeau passed by.)

By about 1984, we had had enough. Michael Wilson balanced the operating account, then Paul Martin balanced the overall budget, and today Jim Flaherty tries to keep the federal debt "shrinking" in proportion to national income. (Of course, the debt itself grows and grows.)

We feel smug because we are watching President Barack Obama do for the United States what Prime Minister Trudeau did for us — although in their case, on top of what Obama’s predecessors did. The U.S. national debt now exceeds $12.3 trillion in a $14.2 trillion economy, and the U.S. government is now piling it on with unprecedented new deficits. The U.S. Treasury’s borrowing requirement is, as it were, coming up against the Great Wall of China.

Little things, such as the heart of the U.S. space program, are being gutted to make way for metastasizing social security entitlements and debt service payments that will soon swamp the entire federal budget — thus requiring the elimination of more little things such as the army, navy and air force. At some point the entitlements simply can’t be paid, without hyperinflation.

I am not exaggerating. The American debt is now at levels that ring bells at the International Monetary Fund. And as the world’s biggest debtor rapidly accelerates its borrowing, the fiscal carrying capacity of the rest of the planet comes into question.

Several generations of our grandchildrens’ future earnings are going to be needed to pay off the massive debt that the Obama administration and Congress have saddled the country with.  And it will continue forever because our government will continue to allocate increasing levels of spending in future years for this, that, and the other.  Governments tend to grow, not shrink.  Thus, the 800-lb gorilla that will beat us to death unless we feed it

So much for change…


h/t to Conservative UAW Guy for finding this.

And I’m still waiting to see what the jobs bill is supposed to cover in addition to what the Stimulus Bill didn’t.  I fully expect to see pork sandwiches slathered with mustard in it.