Special Report #3: Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, USA. |
(September 13, 2018) This reporter decided to play Hammer Creek Club yesterday to evaluate the ongoing changes implemented by Lester “Duff” Hacker over the past month, since beginning his new position as Laicos County Golf Manager. I decided to play as a single golfer and made an online tee time at 9 AM for nine holes of golf. As I drove into the facility, I immediately noticed that the main billboard was gone, as well as several advertising signs bordering the parking lot, which had very few cars. I was able to park near the clubhouse, which was being repainted in pastel colors.
I entered the golf shop and noted that my cousin, Stan Bye, the former golf course starter, was working the counter. He had been replaced by Yogi Budda, who had the title of Golf Enhancement Greeter. She has a degree in Sports Psychology and also works as the course Yoga instructor. I showed my driver’s license, evidence for my $10 greens fee for a Laicos County resident. Stan issued me a frequent golfer card and punched the first tab. He pointed to a box of paper slips on the counter, showing me how to properly fold the piece of paper to form a tee.
I immediately went to the driving range, where the speaker system was playing “Home on the Range.” I was thrilled to see that the range balls were now complimentary and neatly arranged in a smiley face pattern, but I was disappointed to see that I had to hit off green mats instead of the traditional natural grass. A bright yellow arrow was painted on the mat, pointing out to the range. There wasn’t a rubber tee to elevate a ball in order for me to hit my driver from the mat and it took nearly a minute to fold the paper slip to create a tee, which obliterated on my first strike, forming a snowflake pattern in the air. Not wanting to waste more time to create another tee, I pulled a plastic tee from my bag and inserted into the grass in front of the mat. Before I could hit the ball, Yogi Budda rushed over and pulled the tee out of the ground. She lectured me for two minutes on the environmental damage caused by plastic and wooden tees, as well as the natural resources wasted to manufacture them. Fortunately, I was able to talk Miss Budda out of a fine and suspension, pointing out that the club hadn’t posted a warning sign about using traditional golf tees.
As I started my warm up routine, I observed Miss Budda leading a small Yoga class on the grass area near the tee area, where three women, two older gentlemen, and three kids were stretched out on the grass. I had struck only three practice shots when a ball caromed off my golf bag, pivoting to see a 10-year old kid set up 15 yards to my left. He apparently badly shanked his shot. Observing him closely, he whiffed five time before finally striking a ball directly at my head, although I ducked just in time. I decided to move twenty yards further down the range. A new tune, “Feelin’ Groovy”, now played over the speakers.
I sauntered over to the putting green, where a large mural of Jabba the Hut from Star Wars had been painted on the wall. As I got closer, I could see a sign reading “Jabba Your Putt” above the painting. I pulled out three golf balls, preparing to practice my putting, seeing that the cups were 10 inches in diameter. I made every putt that I attempted, even from over 30 feet. I’m convinced that the new experiment using wider cups is a pretty good idea.
I arrived at the first tee ten minutes prior to my tee time and introduced myself to the other golfers, who included Rick O’Shea, the kid with the shank problem; Jerry Atricks, an 80 year old gentleman, and an attractive young blonde woman, whose name was Lulu Doozie. Yogi Budda lectured us the course rules, which restricted smoking, swearing, club-throwing, and engaging in flatulence. She pitched us on renting an iPod unit with equipped with headphones. I read the song list, which included “Happy”, “Happy Trails”, “Happy Together”, “Oh, Happy Day”, “Happy Days are Here Again”, “What a Wonderful World”, “The Green, Green Grass of Home”, “Grazin’ in the Grass”, “Greenfields”, “Green Grass”, “Let’s Groove”, “Fly Like an Eagle”, “Bird Song”, “Albatross”, “Ace in the Hole” “You are my Sunshine”, and Bing Crosby’s “Straight Down the Middle”. I wasn’t interested, although the geezer handed her five dollars to rent the music device.
Miss Budda then handed each of us a yellow balloon and instructed us to blow them up, telling us that it would capture all of our golf anxieties. She then urged us to release our fears by letting the balloons go, launching them in the air creating flatulence-like sounds. I slowly let the air out of my balloon, creating a series of squeaks. She then asked us to hold hands and to close our eyes, leading us in singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Immediately after finish the song, she gave me a big hug.
Deciding to hit first, I formed the paper slip into a tee and delicately placed my golf ball on it, noting the tee markers were white round spheres with a smiley face painted on both of them, as well as an arrow pointing in the direction of the fairway. As I swung hard, the tee shredded into confetti fragments, obstructing my view of the ball flight, although the kid spotted it in the middle of the fairway, over 200 yards out.
Jerry and Rick moved to the forward tees, designated for seniors and youngsters. Rick whiffed six times before shanking his drive off the right tee marker, the ball coming to rest between his feet. His next shot ricocheted off the women’s tee marker and ironically, his ball came to rest between his feet again. He finally topped his ball just beyond the woman’s tee. Jerry could barely bring his club back and nearly fell over on his practice swing. After several attempts, he simply bunted his golf ball near where Rick’s shot had landed.
Lulu now prepared to hit from the lady’s tee box, which was bordered in a flower arrangement. She reached down in her golf bag, and unzipped a large pocket and plucked out a black cat. She announced that it was her comfort animal, called Lovey. Apparently a beginning golfer, she took position as if to hit backwards towards the men’s tee box, although I alerted to the directional arrows painted on the pink tee markers. Lulu turned around and hit the ball about 10 feet after four tries.
It took us about 40 minutes to reach the green, when I observed that the cups were the traditional size. I recorded a triple bogey the hole, primarily because Lovey crossed in front of my ball on two shots. I decided to quit, feeling the black cat had cursed me and besides that, I couldn’t allocate four more hours to finish the remaining eight holes on the front nine. As I approached the golf shop, Yogi Budda scampered over with her arms held open. Knowing that she wanted to embrace me, I quickly pivoted toward the parking lot to avoid her.
As I passed the clubhouse restaurant, I noticed only two patrons were seated at the bar, and as I loaded my clubs into my car, I counted only fifteen autos in the parking lot. I couldn’t understand why so few golfers were playing yesterday as the weather was perfect. I’ll visit the other County clubs within the next two weeks and report on my observations.
Stephen P. Bye; Author, “Looking Forward Through The Rear View Mirror” http://www.StepheBye.com>A summer golf caddie job that changes a life
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