Oh, do I have a story for you today. Sit back, relax, get a cup of coffee (or beer, this story goes much better with a beer) and enjoy this story. It’s a tale you’ll be telling your friends, your family, your children, your children’s children and your girlfriend’s best friend’s cousin’s sister’s babysitter’s husband. It’s that good.
On Wednesdays, I play in this golf league but only when a buddy of mine can’t and I sub for him. I thought I was going to play this Wednesday but I wasn’t needed. I had already pumped myself up to play that night and when I wasn’t needed I felt like the little boy who lost a tooth, put the tooth under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy to bring him a quarter only to wake up and realize the Tooth Fairy never came. I was in the golfing mood and damn it, I was going to golf.
I couldn’t get anyone to go Wednesday night but the guy, we’ll call me AK, I called said he could play Thursday so that’s what we did. We played last night.
The round was going like you’d expect any round to go. I was enjoying it since I hadn’t AK in a few months and it was nice to catch up. We went to this course I never been to before. I was playing like I normally do, a bogey here, double there, par occasionally. AK was just a few shots better than me. Pretty normal. But something felt different. Something felt, not out of place, but not right. Not quite strange but not quite comforting either. It was like having a picnic on a beautiful, warm, sunny summer day and then seeing dark storm clouds roll in. Not a horrible feeling but something unsettling.
I don’t know where this feeling was coming from or why. It was like the Golf Gods just wanted to mess with me. (Like they haven’t done enough by giving me a slice and a horrible mid range game.) AK thought I was crazy for having this feeling. I felt as out of place as a white guy in an NBA locker roomer.
My game was struggling because of this. I was four over after four, then on five, six, seven and eight, I was seven over on them alone. The storm clouds seemed to be roaring in on me. The wind was picking up, sprinkles had began and I was gather my picnic basket and running to the car before I got soaked, leaving the women and children to fend for themselves. My mind was not in the game anymore. How bad was it getting? Let’s just say on one hole, I was laying 3, and yet to clear the women’s tees. My pants should have been off and a putter up my putter for that.
By the time we got to No. 9, I was gone. I just didn’t care anymore. I was questioning why I even play this stupid game. I wanted to get off the course and join my family who was planning a dinner at this great Mexican restaurant to celebrate my cousin’s new house and my cousin’s son’s “birthday.” (It wasn’t really his birthday, we just like to tell them it is so we get ice cream and he wears a big sombrero.)
The Golf Gods may have been angry with me that I wasn’t appreciating their game anymore. I was taking it for granted. While angrily walking from the eighth green to the ninth tee, I slipped down a small hill. Of course I did. I could almost hear the Golf Gods laughter echoing from the trees, but it was just AK’s laugh. As I sat there on the grass pissed off at the world and everything golf related debating whether or not I should start throwing my clubs, hitting AK with them or driving the golf cart into a pond, I allowed myself to laugh. I mean, come on, if roles were reversed and my playing partner was struggling so that if hewas Michelle Wie he would have quit long ago, and he just fell on the smallest hill, I would be laughing my ass off at him. I still be making fun of him. I would have be ripping him so much and so hard that I’d leave him no choice but to punch me.
As I laughed, I began to feel better. The storm clouds were moving out and the sun was returning. I got out of my car and made it back to the picnic to enjoy dessert. I went up to the final tee box of the day just plain not caring anymore. If I shank it off a tree and the ball goes backwards a 100 feet, I couldn’t care less. It was the last hole and I needed to have fun. AK hit a good shot on the par-3, 188 yard hole, maybe 20-25 feet from the pin. He said if I got inside him (te he he, inside him), he would give me $5. A nice little motivation but I thought no way this happens. There’s a better chance of Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis giving me hands on golf/sex lessons than me putting the ball inside 20 feet.
I pulled out my 3-iron and walked to the tee box. No practice swings (what good were they serving anyway), no preshot routine, just put the ball down and take a hack. On the swing, I thought I felt four hands of two beautiful golfers guiding me, encouraging me. Contact felt good but the ball looked to be right of the green. Slowly it was coming back. It was looking pretty good and I thought I had a chance for my $5. It was by far my best looking shot since the second hole (the only par). The ball landed on the very front of the green. With a middle pin location, this was good. The ball was rolling toward the hole and I just sat there mouth opened. I was surprised I got it on the green let a lone close to the pin.
But the ball didn’t stop rolling. It keep rolling, and rolling, and rolling, until… it disappeared. My first thought was it rolled off the back of the green. Then I realized I could see the back of the green and that couldn’t have happened.
“Holy shit!” yelled AK, and AK isn’t one to just yell out profanity.
“OHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWHHOOOOOOOHAAAAHAHAHAHA,” was about the sound I made as it turned from a low rambling to a loud yell to pure laughter.
“NO WAY, NO F’ING WAY. A HOLE IN ONE.”
I yelled some form of these words and I ran around the tee box like a completely crazy person. I jumped on AK and tackled him. We rolled around on the ground in the most ungay way you can possible do with another man. I then ran all over the place, on the next fairway, down to the green and around the green. Being the final hole, people in the clubhouse came out to see what was going on. It didn’t take long for them to figure it out. I was running around, high fiving anyone and everyone. I think I may have broke an old man’s hand. The crowd clapped for me and it may have been the first time someone has giving me a genuine applaus other than doing it because I made an idiot out of myself.
I almost forgot to pick the ball out of the hole. AK and to remind me. In that one motion, all the troubles I had on the course this day and everyday in the past were gone. This is way you play the game of golf. For something as stupid as putting the little ball in the little hole with just one swing. We had to drive back to the tee box to find my 3-iron since I had thrown it in the air and never picked it up. Once we found it, we went int to the clubhouse. I felt like a celebrity. Everyone wanted to talk to me. Everyone wanted to touch me. They reminded me of drunk college girls who couldn’t keep their hands off me. It was kine of creepy actually. But I loved every minute of it. I bought a beer for everyone (luckily there was only five other people in there and AK doesn’t drink).
That Top Flite 4 may never leave my pocket. I always said if I ever get a hole-in-one, I’ll quit the game off golf and that will be my last swing ever. It’s very tempting to do that. But I can’t. Trying to get this feeling again will keep me motivated for years to come. This is why you play this stupid game. The only thing that could have made this any better, having Jim Nantz do a play-by-play of it so he could give it some catchy slogan. But someone tell Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis I’m ready for my lessons now.