On Friday morning, I rushed through what little work I had at the office, so that I could make a 9:51 a.m. tee time. The problem with that plan was I failed to adequately prepare the night before so that I could make a quick getaway.
Yes, the previous evening I loaded my clubs in the truck, somehow found my golf shoes in the Hoarders-like domain that is our garage, and even remembered to throw a ball cap into the cab to further discourage the ongoing process of my ears turning into cauliflower. What I failed to address, however, was that I was almost completely out of gas.
So, there I was, sitting at my desk on a conference call I was hosting that started at 9:00 a.m., and trying to figure out how I was going to stop by the service station and still make the course. I was kind of listening to the phone discussion but decided to hand off to a co-worker and bail without saying anything.
I guess I’ll find out Monday if anything important happened but, because it’s work, my guess would be no. Plus, no one called my cell phone subsequent to the meeting — always a good sign.
I don’t know the capacity of my truck’s gas tank, but I do know I had never filled it with anything close to nineteen gallons before; not even on the last major road trip with Daughter. Now I know. It takes nineteen gallons.
First bullet dodged.
Next, a quick scamp down the freeway to the links. What would traffic be like? It was now 9:27 a.m. What the heck, along the way I managed to eat a day-old doughnut that someone left in the kitchen at work, so I was sure to have that necessary sugar rush to get my round started.
As Fate and the Traffic Gods would have it, traffic was somewhat light, and I thought good thoughts and tried to remember if I’d ever missed a tee time in my life and, if I had, did the world stop spinning?
I couldn’t remember, so I pressed on, rolling into the clubhouse parking lot at 9:38 a.m.
Second bullet sort of dodged. It would have been nicer to have more than thirteen minutes before teeing off.
Final potential barrier: What kind of line would there be in the Pro Shop? I knew a tournament was scheduled for the north course, but as we were playing the south, I hoped for the best.
No lines, mon! Paid my money and skipped over to the first tee, where three of my equally scurrilous co-workers were waiting for me.
It was now 9:50 a.m. I had made it.
“All right, you go second.”
“Are we ready to hit right now?” I asked.
“Yep, and you’re second off the tee.”
No worries, I thought to myself. After all, these guys I’m playing with really
suck aren’t that good, and I played about a month ago, so that’s good enough warm up for me.
The first player in our foursome drilled his tee shot about 50 feet (not yards). That was simply confidence inspiring for me. These dudes really are bad.
I took approximately two practice swings to loosen up, stepped up to the tee box, and shot a bullet right down the center of the fairway about 25o yards (not really, but it was something over 200 anyway).
This game’s got nothing on me! I felt pretty good, and eagerly looked forward to
yet another my first a low-scoring round.
My approach shot to the green was, of course, short and left.
Then it came time to chip and putt. The below illustration gives you some idea how the rest of the round went.
Just like Tiger Woods, the Dog Scientist had trouble gauging the speed of the greens. Plus, he was looking forward to eating lunch later.
I probably hit the driver as well as I’ve ever done so in my life. Translation: I had only one really crappy, embarrassing tee shot that disappeared laterally into a water hazard almost twenty yards to my immediate left. Everything else was in the general vicinity of a fairway. Sometimes I even hit the fairway on the hole we were playing at the time.
But as the old saying goes, “Drive for show, putt for dough.” You could also add, “If you can’t chip, what good does putting do for you?”
After about three or four holes that featured (for me) amazing, consistent drives, and absolutely horrific chipping and putting, I settled in for a wonderful round of gold with my friends.
The highlight of the day turned out to be lunch after the ninth hole.
“I’ll have a hot dog and a bag of jalapeno chips, please.”
“I just put them on the grill. It’ll be about five minutes,” the attendant said.
Five minutes, I thought. I don’t have five minutes. We’ve got to get to the tenth tee and quick, before that group of guys behind us jumps in front.
“Just throw it in the microwave. That’ll work,” I said.
And when she handed me that steaming, tasty dog, I loaded it up with relish, ketchup, mustard, onions, sauerkraut, and peppers.
Man, it was good, and fueled me plenty for the back nine.
After the round was over, the results were: Three lost balls, one hot dog and bag of chips consumed, one bottle of water drained, one near-death experience because a jerk behind me almost hit me with his tee shot, and My Humility Soundly Restored.
As we sat in the clubhouse post-match, we tallied the scores and determined that I had the lowest number which, technically, means I won.
But winning is relative, as is my chipping and putting.
The US Open? I’ll leave that to the professionals. Turns out that Merion Country Club (where the tournament is currently being played) is five minutes away from Daughter’s Lesbian Cult College.
That’s the closest I’ll ever come to getting in, I suppose, and I’m okay with that.