I have managed to play golf in 17 states as well as Canada and Mexico. I didn’t expect these anecdotes to turn into a tome; however, I just want to talk a little about a few courses:
I have only played on several courses where the pros play. Very good.
But I want to mention that these small town courses are usually the pride of the whole town. They are well maintained and not expensive to play.
While we were visiting my wife’s sister, she told me that she thought the next town over, Richmond, Mo. — is a golf course. So I got directions and drove over.
Richmond has a great little hometown golf course! They sent me out to join the trio. Turns out they were high school football coaches from Kansas City. An hour’s drive, but they were members there just for this course. What a place!
My wife and I called three of her cousins’ families, who were also my friends from years past. We told them we weren’t sure when we would be there. They said, “See you when you get here.”
We arrived late afternoon in Greencastle, Ind. Looking for a motel, we passed a golf course. Once we settled in, I told my wife I’d be back—maybe I could play nine.
So when I pull into the place, I see about 30 guys up on this big deck. It was clear that they had some kind of outing. When I walked into the pro shop the gentleman said they were just finishing up for the day. He invited me over for a hot dog and beer. I asked if I could play nine. He said, “Of course. Take one of those carts over there. I reached for my money clip. Nine dollars. He said I could also play the back nine and the No 10 tee is “right down there”. I grab the cart, put on my golf shoes, grab my clubs and drive back to the tee. The sign says, “Par 4, 280 yards, white tee.”
When I look out, I see a nice pond guarding the left side of the green. It also had a water spout in the middle. I swing two sticks a couple of times to get ready, country music plays on the floor. I don’t hear much talking – I know they’re all watching me from this deck. I thought to myself, just tap. You will never see any of them
comrades again. Try to make a good pass.
When I hit it, I said to myself, hang in there, baby. It hit about 20 yards and ran onto the green. From where I’m standing, it looks like it’s up against the flagpole. When I get to the green, I have a 5-footer. This green is flat. I later find out, the entire golf course is flat. I take out the flag. I don’t know the speed. I’ll just ease it up there. What happens, happens. It worked out great.
I didn’t look back. I play fast nine. When I’m done, I go into the pro shop. There are still a couple of guys on board. The professional asks, “How were you?” “Looked like you were an eagle 10.” I told him I had played the 16th but I had three bogeys – even for 35.
The pro said, “You have to be an ‘A’ player. We have a fight tomorrow morning. Will you be around? We lack “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 her cousins yet. She said no. I told her I was invited to play scramble in the morning, would she mind? Of course she said, “Sounds like fun. I’ll sleep late and then sit by the pool. I told her to be done by 2.”
I get to the course. Get my stuff and check in. The pro says, “Hey, glad you could make it. What’s your name again?” I don’t remember telling him my name the night before. He calls out to one of the guys, “Hey Erskin, this is your ‘A’ player. I don’t remember the names of our other two players, but I do remember Erskine. I never heard the name again until one of the fellows chased by Crocodile Dundee in that movie was called Erskine.
We shake hands, he introduces the other two players. We start with 1, shotgun start. Everyone goes to their tea.
We go to no. 1, par 5, 509 yards. This course is flat. I don’t see green and told them so. They say to me: “The green is over there, on the other side of those trees.” It’s to the left, 180 degrees. I was told we should drive past that line of trees, hit left about 45 degrees, then hit the third shot to 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’ve got.
I asked about the order in which they like to hit. They said what most motocrossers do: “D” player, “C” player, “B” player, “A” player. When it’s my turn, I hit it hard and high. We’re looking for it to drop. No one sees it fall. About halfway down the fairway they have a crossing point.
My ball is in front of the green. I thought it was funny that when I hit the ball I was to the right of the green, but when we got the ball it was in front of the green. So we get there, my ball is a little off the fairway and 20 yards from the green. The pin is about 20 feet up. We have 27 yards.
I think a little run might be good. I’m also thinking about a 4 inch high back swing. Like a bullet, 2 inches off the ground, it hits the pin dead center, bounces back a bit, and stops 5 inches from the cup.
Erskine says to the “D” player, “Put it in there, go push it.” The player starts over and Erskine says “Not with your 6 iron! Use your putter! The player said, “My putter broke. I thought I’d use yours.
We only had three other birds. One of them came at no. 10. I own this hole! A neat little 75.
I had a great time. All nice guys. But as I told myself the night before no. 10: I will never see any of these guys again.