The Gangsome Ranks Thinning With Age, Ills
This is not an easy column to write.
I’m sure that all you faithful readers have been eagerly awaiting the next installment on the infamous Gates Four Gangsome. But there’s been a legitimate reason why there hasn’t been a column about your favorite golf group.
There hasn’t been a Gangsome.
I’m serious. The Gates Four Gangsome has unganged. (Is that a word?)
The Gangsome’s problems began a few months ago, when Gates Four Golf and Country Club closed for a restoration project.
Actually, that’s not right, either. The Gangsome’s problems really began a few years ago, when most of our bodies began needing restoration projects.
For those two readers who may not be familiar with the Gangsome, this is a group of golfers who have been gathering on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the past 30 years or so to make up teams and play a modified Stableford game that is really a lot of fun.
Let’s see, when we began playing there were W.C., Ol’ Harv, C-Dog, Blackie, Jack Mac, Hec, J.D., La-La, Craze, Boy George, Don Ho, Walkie-Talkie, Big Dave, Little Dave, Ralph the Malph, Tommy Gun, Garo, Gentleman Rudy, Lightning, Ol’ Ern, The Commish, Casey, Ray-Ray, Tom-Tom, Dr. Putt, Washer, Bubba and Big Dipper.
Those were the regulars, the guys you could count on showing up every day for the noon shootout.
When we started the Gangsome, we all played from the blue tees, the first tees up from the championship set, which measured almost 6,400 yards.
Before long some of us were moving up to the white tees, which played about 6,000 yards. Then, one by one, we aged up to the super senior gold tees, which play about 5,200 yards. Now we have as many guys playing from the red tees as we do from the white. And there’s no one who has to tee it up from those dreaded blues anymore.
Aging is not something the average golfer wants to do. Your backswing shortens, and your approach shots get longer. That silky-smooth putting stroke that you lived on for 40 years is suddenly a herky-jerky move that makes you want to cry.
But back to the Gangsome and what is happening to it. It’s disappearing one by one.
It began with Tom-Tom, who just decided one day that he didn’t need the aggravation of chasing 120-yard drives anymore and quit showing up. Ol’ Ern got tired of being laughed at and moved out of state.
The Commish endured back surgery, shoulder surgery and a knee replacement before finally being sidelined by eye surgery that went wrong and left him almost blind in one eye.
Dr. Putt developed bone cancer, lost a leg and then his life. Walkie-Talkie developed throat cancer and left us prematurely.
Craze, who is a medical marvel and may be one of the bravest men I’ve ever met, has undergone a kidney transplant, two types of cancer and enough other problems to have sidelined a bunch of lumberjacks. But he keeps fighting the good battle, even though his latest episode with cancer cost him an ear. He just wears a prosthetic ear and keeps on playing despite incidents such as a recent outing when he took a swing with his driver and the prosthetic fell off and ended up in the grass.
Which prompted Ray-Ray to say, “You know your team’s having a bad day when your partner’s ear falls off.”
Craze’s problems are severe enough to make most of the rest of the Gangsome look healthy, although Big Dipper has had four surgeries in the past 14 months, a knee replacement and three eye operations. Ol’ Harv is battling a series of ailments that keep him in a doctor’s office more than on the greens, and C-Dog spends most of his time caring for a wife who has been seriously ill for more than year.
So, with Gates Four closed and the guys having to drive to Lumber Bridge to play Scothurst these days, the Gangsome is suffering hard times. But that’s OK, Gates Four reopens in June, and a lot of those ailments are going to clear up.
The Gangsome ranks may be getting thinner, but the camaraderie is still there.
Contact Howard Ward by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story