Special Report # 5: Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality. |
(October 11, 2018) This reporter investigated Round Trip Fields, the third Laicos County golf course that I’ve played since the implementation of the new golf policies by Lester “Duff” Hacker, the recently appointed Laicos County Golf Manager. For many years, Round Trip Fields has been rated in the toughest 100 courses in the U.S. by at least three golf magazines, so I was keenly interested in how Hacker had transitioned the course to entice new amateur golfers to play there.
I brought three golfing buddies along, avoiding the trauma of being assigned to a foursome who had no golf experience. Right away, I noted that all green fees were waived through the month of October. The club professional, Tim Leery, informed me that Hacker made that decision to encourage new players to play the revamped Fields course, as well as to provide three complimentary golf ball due to the common knowledge of multiple lost golf balls in the hazard areas, ravines, and multiple lakes. I discovered the complimentary balls were a hodgepodge of old range balls, probably not a bad idea, as most amateur golfers probably don’t care what ball they play if they’re free.
Exiting the pro shop, we saw a sign that read, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”. With kaleidoscopic images forming a prismatic pattern on the golden brick pavers, we followed the path to the first tee. The first hole, a par 4, was named “Good Vibrations”, a confidence builder for sure and the teeing area was created using curved multi-colored rainbow markers. A creek ran along the right side of the fairway, although I could see that a two-foot high rubber bumper had been erected along the entire length of the hole, obviously placed there to keep balls out of the stream.
The second hole was called “Strawberry Fields Forever”. A lake flanked the left side, although a thirty-foot high fence had been erected to deflect balls hit toward the water. A huge mural depicting a field of strawberries had been painted on the extensive wooden fence. The third hole was a narrow par 4, bordered by deep ravines on both sides of the fairway, which required marksmanship-like skills to navigate. I was surprised to see that netting had been erected along the edges of the ravines to trap errant shots. The hole was named “Dear Mr. Fantasy”.
The fourth hole, called “Eight Miles High”, had a majestic setting on a high bluff with an eighty-foot drop to the narrow fairway below. The hole seemed identical to the former design until we reached the green, where I saw that all six deep sand bunkers had been replaced with artificial grass turf.
The fifth hole, named “Sky Pilot” was a par 3 requiring a two-hundred yard carry over deep a rock quarry to reach the green. A professional looking golfer was standing on the tee box and I quickly learned that he could be engaged for five dollars as a designated hitter to play my tee shot. All my pals hired the pro golfer, Cy Kilott, who easily hit their golf balls on the green. Feeling confident, I elected to play my own shot, but subsequently hit my three old range balls into the quarry and recorded a 7X.
The sixth hole was formerly a six-hundred-yard par 5, although it had just been changed to a par 7. They named it “Ball of Confusion”. No wonder…the hole was designed with dozens of mounds, resulting in curious golf ball bounces down the fairway.
The next hole was named “Purple Haze”. I noted that smoke form the nearby half-way house, renamed the “Psychedelic Shack”, was floating across the fairway, obscuring the ball flight. After heading toward the green, I could hear the Temptations song playing and saw that angled concrete curbs had been installed on both sides of the fairway, forming a funnel to the green. Creatively using both sides of the curbs, my ball carried into the cup for a natural eagle 2 on the par 4.
As I neared the eighth hole, called “Hypnotized”, I observed a lady wearing a turban and a long purple gown, sitting on a chair next to a couch. She was a hypnotist, named Clare Voyant, claiming she could mesmerize me to hit a hole-in-one on the par 3 hole. One of my pals engaged her, laying on the couch for several minutes, as she tried to transfix his ugly swing. Surprisingly, he struck his ball on the green, although at least thirty feet from the hole. As he demanded a refund of his five-dollar fee, I saw a small dog pick up his golf ball, carry it to the hole, and drop it in. We congratulated him on his first ace ever.
We finally reached the long par 5, ninth hole, called “Are You Experienced?” We were all experienced golfers but were tired of the silly gimmicks implemented by Mr. Hacker. The tee box had been placed two hundred yards ahead of the former markers, creating a three hundred-fifty-yard hole, that was still identified as a par 5. I easily hit the green in two shots and two-putted for a birdie. I quickly tabulated my score, shooting a 39, despite the 7X…not a bad round!
Deciding to quit, we were eager to drain a few beers in the “Psychedelic Shack” to celebrate my partner’s hole-in-one. The Chambers Brothers’ song “Time has Come Today” played over the speakers as we sat down in the “White Room”, which had cream colored carpeting with the odor of incense permeating from the kitchen. Our table that featured a lava lamp and an odd-shaped bowl filled with miniature peppermint sticks.
Lucy, a blonde waitress with a diamond earning in her nose, came right over to take our order. The specials for the day consisted of “White Rabbit” stew, a chicken sandwich called “White Bird”, and a flat-iron butterflied steak called an Iron Butterfly. We elected to have a pitcher of “Magic Carpet Ride”, a craft beer brewed right there in the “Psychedelic Shack”. We ordered a second pitcher, just as another old song, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” started to play. We decided that we were in no condition to order another round, so asked Lucy for our check. My buddy decided that he wouldn’t pay for the entire bill, even though he had the hole-in-one, so he asked her to split the check. Lucy promptly ripped it into four pieces. After patching the bill together, I observed that there was a service fee charge of thirty percent, a huge tip for a waitress with her head in the clouds.
As we were leaving, the song “Legend of a Mind” began to play. Lucy immediately started to shriek and began to tremble, so we rushed to her aid. Between sobbing, she murmured that Tim Leery, the club pro, was dead. We quickly informed her that she had only heard those words in the old Moody Blues tune, reassuring her that the golf pro was still very much alive. Just to be sure, we checked on our way back to the parking lot. Sure enough, Leery was giving a lesson to a golfer on the driving range. Upon referencing my Special Report on August 29th and after reflecting on the experience at Round-Trip Fields, it was very apparent that Mr. Hacker wanted to keep a hallucination theme for Round-Trip Fields by enhancing the references to psychedelic songs and bands in the era of the late ‘60’s and early ‘70s. I have arranged a meeting with “Duff” Hacker next week and will post the interview in two weeks.
Stephen P. Bye "Looking Forward Through The Rear View Mirror"
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Humor, satire, golf, psychedelic songs,