Desperation, Legendary and Poetic
This game of golf is driving me insane. It goes from rotten to worse to better, to awful and then at times almost presentable.
One of those presentable times came last weekend in the Gates Four one-day member-guest. After several hours of wheedling, begging, pleading and threatening, I finally convinced the wanna-be legendary Stephen Boyd to play as my guest.
Boyd was a tad reluctant because he has been my guest in this event before and has seen firsthand the mess that pretends to be a golf game. To his credit, I have never heard him snicker. Although I know it must be tough for him to keep the giggle away when I tee it up on a 145-yard par-3 and opt for driver.
Well, OK, so he giggled. He didn’t find it very funny when my drive came up short, though.
For some twisted reason, I like this Boyd guy. Maybe because he can play almost as bad as I do at times. Let’s see, if I’m not mistaken we came into this storied Gates Four event with an unrivaled five consecutive last-place finishes.
Now that in itself is an accomplishment. When you’ve playing with guys like Puddin’ Adcox and Blackie Black, it’s hard to finish last. Especially when Puddin’ is dealing with a severe attack of the shanks and Blackie is between girlfriends.
Still, with all the odds facing us, Stephen (Jeez, I’ve got to come up with a nickname for this guy) and I teed it up on Saturday morning with no hope. It was no accident that the starter introduced us on the first tee as Mr. Ward and Mr. Boyd, playing out of Desperation, North Carolina.
It was also no accident that the only other two people on the tee were Puddin’ and Blackie. The first tee in the Gates Four one-day member-guest is a lonely place.
But this Saturday was to be one to remember for the two forever hopefuls.
To take a short story and drag it out to 700 words, this was to be a different day for the vagabonds from Desperation, N.C.
The round started as usual, with our sad little twosome making a net par on the first hole. But then something strange happened.
Steroid Boyd (hey, there’s a nickname) ripped a mammoth tee shot on the second hole that I could only describe as a thing of beauty and a joy to behold. We made a net birdie and were off to the races. OK, so the races were more like a crawl, but you have to understand. A net birdie for this twosome is the stuff of pure glamour.
Inspired, we somehow made net birdies on the next two holes, including on a par-5 where ’Roid Boyd launched a drive that I labeled as “legendary.”
We made the turn with a net 31 and I was singing. That didn’t make ’Roid Boyd very happy, but to his credit he didn’t demand that I shut up, the way he did last year after we had made our third straight net double-bogey.
I cannot tell you what happened on the back nine. All I know is that when we finished and added up the scorecard, it showed 31-31—62. I know for a fact that if Puddin’ and Blackie hadn’t been keeping the card, they would never have signed off on it. Even then they wouldn’t give the card to us until they had rechecked their math three times.
Strange things can happen on a golf course. That’s why Puddin’ has a creek between the second green and the third tee named after him. But this was more than strange. It was a miracle on grass.
As I told Steroid Boyd while we were chomping on the last of the fried chicken wings and celebrating our second-place finish with a glass of red, this was a poetic moment.
“Yeah,” he said. “Poetic. Kind of like that 40-foot putt I made on the 13th hole.”
Yeah, kind of like that, Steroid.
And just to prove that golf is fickle, I teed it up at Pinehurst No. 8 on Sunday and shot a smooth 98.
You gotta love this game. Or hate it.
Contact Howard Ward by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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