What is your handicap?
Home from church, I immediately changed into work clothes and headed to the yard. It would take a full afternoon for mowing, trimming, and a tune-up for the beds. This was our second summer in our first home and the yard was still a work in progress.
Around 4 o’clock, the end was in sight. I was looking forward to taking it easy the rest of the day when Barbara came out to ask me if I was going to start getting ready. “Ready for what?” I asked.
“Don’t you remember? It’s the annual dinner for the Weeping Willows golf group.”
Ouch, I thought. “When do we leave for the party?”
“We need to be there in an hour,” she said.
I showered and changed and 45 minutes later we were getting in the car when Barbara said, “Don’t forget your golf clubs. There will be a 9-hole tournament before dinner.”
At the course, we checked in and learned we were the last group. The attendant gave us our scorecard and asked for our handicaps. I flippantly said, “For me, I worked in the yard all afternoon and have blisters on both hands.”
Either ignoring or not hearing my lame comment, he asked again.
“I don’t have a handicap but the last time I played this course (it was only nine holes) I shot a 40 and I’ll just take no handicap and pretend I’m a scratch golfer.” As I said this, I thought I did give myself a few 4-foot putts and maybe a Mulligan or two on that round.
“Your wife?” he asked.
I told him she rarely keeps score when she plays so I suppose hers would be the maximum allowed. That pleasantry taken care of we went to the first tee and were pleased to see we would be playing with Rosie and Jerry, good friends, and not serious golfers.
After weeks of 90-degree temperatures and almost no rain, the fairways on this small family-owned course were like asphalt. Barbara could swing a club, she usually hit the ball straight and today it seemed to roll forever down the center of the fairway. Since we would be playing alternate shots, I decided we would play her drive, meaning I would take the second shot. Playing from the front tees with hard fairways made this already short course even easier if you could keep the ball in play, and we did. When we turned our card in it was determined we had a net score of 27. We won by a half shot!
There was no trophy, not even a little one. The winning prize was a $4 gift certificate for the pro shop, which we never used.
A few years later, I had occasion to play in a similar outing but this time with serious fellows. The golf part was made up of foursomes that played the best drive and then the best subsequent ball until on the green when everyone had a turn at the same putt until the ball went in. Each foursome had two lower handicap players, a fair golfer, and a slug. I didn’t know the good golfers, the average player was a friend, and I was the slug standing in for another friend who had dropped out a few days before the event but would be coming to the dinner.
One interesting strategy with this format was the slug putted first to show the “line” for the better golfers that followed. On the first hole, I sunk a putt that proved to be the longest of the day for our group securing a birdie. On a later hole, my putt hit the back of the toilet seat and the ball jumped over the “fun or joke obstacle” making the next putt a tap in securing a par, which in the face of the toilet ring obstacle, was more like a birdie or an eagle. In our group as the “slug” I had contributed.
At dinner it was announced that our group had the low net score. We had won. I was enjoying the brats and kraut with the friend who I was standing in for when he wondered out loud, “Do you suppose they’ll put my name on the trophy?”
As it turned out, they did put his name on the trophy. That puts me zero for two in the golf trophy department and it is probably where I belong.
By Savvy Senior
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