Golf is a game of tradition and hard rules. Recently the USGA has lightened up on some rules. But, in some parts of the country - a very old tradition lingers. Looks like that's true in Traylor County! Larry
Traylor County Pro Tempore Councilperson-at-Large Vivian Festerhump has seen a ton of controversy lately. "After Buck Rucklesbuck, the former eight-time Councilperson-at-Large was arrested for public indecency at the restroom at the Traylor County Spring Tractor Pull, it's just been downhill from there for me," she says.
Ms. Festerhump and I were sitting in the Golden Rule Cafe, having a cup of coffee. She took a quick drag on her Camel and explained: "Right after I took over, we had that problem with the septic system at the Library. Some books are still drying out from that." A long pause to reflect. "The Old Man and the Sea swelled up to twice its size." Another pause. Another sip. "After the Library mess, we had the County Jail fiasco."
For those who don't recall, two months ago, all 14 men and women in the Traylor County Jail were able to "escape" after Deputy Sheriff, Oscar LaMott forgot to lock up before going home for the evening. Festerhump shook her head. "Lucky for us, the most serious offender in the lock-up at the time was Lucy Schmuckel, who was in for failure to pay multiple parking tickets." That problem was resolved when all the "escapees" returned to jail the next morning - after getting a good night's sleep in their own beds. Viv waved Rez Nuggetman, Owner of the Golden Rule, over for a fill up and lighted a new cigarette. "Now this."
"This," is the new plan by the Board of Directors at the County-owned Hooking Hills Golf Course to change the way Golfers get weekend tee times. Hooking Hills, a direct competitor with the City-owned Persimmon Pines Slippery Meadows, has utilized a "racking system" to schedule tee-off times. However, Hooking Hills Pro, Bix Wilstrup says he began to see a drop-off in his business after Slippery Meadows eliminated their racking system and began taking telephone reservations. So, he proposed a change - one he says would be more fair and less onerous to most Golfers. The Hooking Hills Board of Directors quickly approved the plan. But, that's when angry, longtime Men's Club members, Mickey Dogslaw and Elmer Pittswheel appealed to the entire County Commission to review the plan.
Vivian stared across Broad Street to the County Courthouse. "27 Lawyers later, we still got a legal mess on our hands." She crushed out her Camel, blew a cloud of smoke over my head and pointed at me. "Don't quote me in your damned article. But, I'll tell you this: Golfers have got to be the most screwed up, backwards and self-centered idiots on the planet." Then, she stood and walked outside, coughing.
For the uninitiated, here's how the old (and still current) racking system worked (works): Basically, the racking system began with the simple democratic principle of "first come, first served." Originally, you arrived at the course, placed your ball in a rack on the first tee, then teed-off in the order in which the balls were "racked." That was back in the days when Golfers arrived just a few minutes before they intended to play. As more people began taking up The Game, it became important to arrive earlier and earlier to get into the rack for a prime tee time. These days at Hooking Hills, to get a weekend tee time, you must arrive at the Golf Course by the appointed time the night before you want to play. For a Saturday morning time, you must be in line by 8 p.m., Friday. Everyone in line by this time is allowed to draw a number from a hat. This number corresponds to the order of the line for the next morning. That's when the actual tee times will be made. After that, everyone in line arranges their car in order on the parking lot, according to their number. Then, they recline the seat and wait. This is because, anyone who has a number for the line - but leaves the premises - loses the right to snag a time. Several times during the night, Golf Course employee, Nat Ulyee walks by each car, shining a flashlight inside to make certain no one has slipped home.
Then, at dawn, the bent and twisted Golfers climb over gear shifts and stumble through the mist-shrouded parking lot to the Starter's Shack where they, once again, stand in line to watch as the numbers they've been assigned are drawn from a spinning Bingo Basket. Not until their number is called, do they get to name their tee time.
It's a simple enough arrangement. But, as I said, Wilstrup, the Hooking Hills Pro, thought he had a simpler plan: "Let 'em call in on Wednesday for the following Saturday. That way, they know in advance when they're going to play." The Pro couldn't say any more for this story because, as he said, "It's all up to the Courts to decide."
However, the two men who brought the lawsuit, Mickey Dogslaw and Elmer Pittswheel, weren't as reticent about speaking out.
I met them at their usual hangout…a table in the Grill Room at Hooking Hills. Both men are in their 60s with skin the color of tarnished copper cookware. I shook hands with them and sat down to a cold Budweiser. It was 9:30 a.m. I checked the clock on the wall. Elmer Pittswheel lifted his glass in a toast. "We've been members of the Men's Club long enough to have a little pull with Squirrelly back in the kitchen! Salud!" I watched the glass of beer disappear quickly down Pittswheel's stubbled throat. Mickey Dogslaw took the pause in the conversation to jump in.
"Look, we're doin' this to protect traditions...to keep those things alive that make Golf so enjoyable and magical to those of us who honor The Game and it's heritage."
"The racking system was good enough for us for the last 30 years. It oughta' be good enough for the rich kids with their smart phones - who want to destroy our way of life." Elmer seemed upset and a little distracted as he looked impatiently around for Squirrelly. But, Mickey nodded quickly. "Exactly. And, we don't say that just because we hate kids and don't know how to use a cell phone."
"Couldn't you guys just call from home to get your tee times?"
There was an icy pause - broken only by Squirrelly's arrival with the second round. Elmer took a long sip. Mickey leaned toward me. "Haven't you heard anything we said? This is about tradition." Elmer nodded. "We'll be damned if somebody's gonna have it easier than we did. Hell, I had to choose between dating women and racking."
I tried to get the quote written down in my notebook as Mickey stood and looked out the Grill Room window at the first tee. "That's a little harsh, Elmer. Truth is, you quit dating women when they all stopped saying ‘yes.’" He turned back to our table. "Look, I'll be the first to admit that my first wife hated to see me leave on Friday nights." Mickey sat back - reliving those magical moments.
Elmer put down his glass. "Your second wife loved them Friday nights!" They both laughed. Mickey nodded. "I went to the Golf course. She was always happy. I just thought she was understanding." Elmer chuckled. "It took him five years to catch on that she was havin' her Boss over every Friday night."
"I didn't catch on 'til I came home one Saturday afternoon and she wasn't there...and neither was most of the furniture - and my TV." More laughter.
Elmer looked up at me, earnestly. "If we lose the racking system, them Yuppies will lose their chance for experiences like that!" I couldn't argue with that. Mickey was deep into nostalgia.
"My third wife was the only one who knew how to keep me home on a Friday night."
Elmer winked at me. "She took his clubs to the Dump and had them crushed." He laughed.
Mickey didn't. "It was because of her I got those new clubs with the bigger sweet spot. She really saved my game."
I looked up from my note pad. "Are you still married to her?" Mickey looked down at the two beers in front of him...grabbed a glass, chugged it, got up and walked away with Elmer close behind.
I took it as a "no."
Depending on where you live, your local Assistant Golf Professional might not be as fully employed as you think. But, that doesn't mean he or she isn't busy. Larry
It's the dead of winter. The chill winds are blowing down the pants and up the skirts of Golfers of every stripe, color, religion and sexual orientation. So, when I dropped by Pricey Mart last Wednesday on a mission to pick up a high-end close-out indoor/outdoor electric fireplace, the last thing on my mind was our grand and glorious game of Golf. Even though our friends who flock here from the Northeast insist what we call Winter isn’t “Winter,” my top of mind priority for this Pricey Mart excursion was a simple one: Buy something cool to keep me warm this Winter - for cheap.
But, Golf is always lurking. So, I unzipped my hoodie and slipped inside "The Big Box Store where other Big Box Stores send the stuff they couldn't sell.” And, who did I spot wearing the familiar chartreuse and gold smock of a Pricey Mart employee? None other than Terp Seemley, Assistant Golf Professional at the Hooking Hills Golf Course, the County-owned gem on Route TT right next to Scubbins Quarry - now operated by a Taiwanese firm - Tai-Tech of Formosa...after Juney Scubbins' recent untimely arrest and subsequent incarceration for running an outcall Golfers Massage and Caddy Service from his office trailer.
I didn't actually see Terp's face, I spotted the unmistakable rhythm of his swing, as he hit balls into the net in the Pricey Mart Sporting Goods Department. As I got closer, I could see Terp was giving what I learned later was an impromptu lesson to Leeto Weiner, well-known Persimmon Pines socialite and wife of Attorney Jules Weiner, founding partner of the powerful law firm of Gaylock and Weiner. The Assistant Pro's arms were wrapped around his student's shoulders as he helped her get a grasp on the ins and outs of the Golf swing.
"Terp!" I called out over the din of screaming babies, canned music and blaring ads from ubiquitous flat screens. I guess I surprised him. He twisted around awkwardly as the club in his hand raked a table full of discount golf balls off a display and down an aisle. His suddenly white pallor betrayed that he was more than a little surprised. I lightened the mood. "Fore!"
He quickly smiled. "Hey, Brent! Brent Green from the newspaper!" I nodded to Mrs. Weiner as she hurried into the crowd. She didn't return the wave. I guess she didn't see me.
Color returned quickly to Seemley's face. "What brings you to Pricey Mart?" I explained my quest for the electric fireplace. And, true to his Pricey Mart training, Terp quickly attempted to point me toward the Home Furnishings Department in the center of the store.
"Not so fast!" I put on the brakes as he pushed me toward the shoppers flowing down the main aisle. "I didn't know you worked here. You do, right?"
It seemed like a "yes" or "no" reply, but Terp took time to consider his answer. "Uh. yeah - for fun. In the winter, it gets a little lonely at home waiting for Springtime. The Golf Course only needs me 9 months a year. Everybody needs a little entertainment...and income."
“Ah! So, you been doing this with Mrs. Weiner for a long time?” "What?! No!!"
A moment of silence passed, as I tried to reconcile what I'd seen with what I was hearing. "Uh, didn’t I see you giving her a golf lesson when I walked in."
"Oh, right. It definitely was just a golf lesson."
Sensing I was onto a story here, I pressed on. "Come on," I said. "What's going on here?"
It didn't seem overly warm, but Terp suddenly seemed flushed. He seemed to be having a problem understanding me. "Going on?"
I knew I had something. I went for it. "Come on. Don't play all innocent with me. When did all this start?”
Terp put the six iron back in the display bag. “I’d rather not say.”
“I can ask the Personnel Department. I mean, don’t you know when you started working here at Pricey Mart?” He didn’t answer right away. Was he embarrassed? I sought to relieve the tension. "I mean it's not like you're doing anything wrong. Right?"
The brief pause was filled with a P.A. announcement advertising open box specials in the Pharmacy. "No. Absolutely not!" He turned, grabbed the 6 iron again and whacked a ball effortlessly into the netting.
I tried to explain my surprise at seeing him, with Ms. Weiner. “I mean I see that chartreuse and gold smock of yours wrapped around her little body. You're a PGA Golf Professional!” Terp whacked another ball into the netting - time time his swing was faster; too fast, he topped the ball. I waited until he turned back toward me. “I guess us Amateurs just assume you've got a full-time job."
Terp carefully rested his club against the display bag. “So, you’re here about Golf?”
“No. I’m here for the indoor/outdoor fireplace special.” But, when I came in, I saw you and Mrs. Weiner...”Terp grabbed the six iron and wacked another ball into the netting. “...and, that’s when I realized I had a real story...” He topped another six iron into the netting. "...about Golf. I thought you only worked at Hooking Hills.”
Once again, he leaned the six iron against the display bag. “I was just giving Mrs. Weiner a little refresher Golf lesson, you know.”
“Of course you were,” I laughed.
“Okay then Here’s the deal. I love being a Golf Professional. And, believe me, it's more than a full-time job when I'm at the Club. But, they only give me a check nine months a year. When things slow down this time of year, I have to come up with some other way to make ends meet, just like Elsa.” He pointed to the main aisle; at the passing flow of bodies. There, in the midst of hundreds of anonymous faces, I caught a glimpse of Elsa Cracklow, Assistant Pro at Woodstone Country Club, wearing the distinctive Pricey Mart smock. I looked quickly back at Terp. He nodded: “Bunch of us are here. Ty Benderling (Valley Heights Assistant) and Hake Weed (Assistant at Slippery Meadows), too. They're on the late shift tonight."
As I was formulating my next question, Attorney Jules Weiner stepped out of the crowd and in between myself and Terp. "You been with my wife, lately?"
In an effort to be helpful, and perhaps speed up my interview with Terp so I could purchase my fireplace, I jumped in. "Hi, Mr. Weiner! Yeah! I just saw her. She was just here working with the Pro."
The Attorney turned and looked at me. I guess he hadn't seen me before because, it seemed as if I'd surprised him. "I bet she was," he said to me. Then, he turned back to Terp. "I bet she was."
Before he turned and headed back into the crowd. Mr. Weiner looked at me, “It’s Attorney Weiner...not Mister.” He stopped at the edge of the aisle, looked back over his shoulder at Seemley. "I'll be back." Then, he disappeared into the crowd of faceless bargain hunters.
The Assistant Pro pulled out his cell phone. "So, good for you! You have both Attorney Weiner AND his wife as students! Do you do a lot of extra lessons like this in the off-season?"
Terp nodded as he waited for an answer at the other end. "Yeah - Hake - it's Terp. Can you come in a little early this evening?"
The interview was pretty much over at that point. Seemley said he had to get going. I surmised he could be meeting one, or both, of the Weiners for a private lesson. But, I thought this article was a great reminder of the sacrifice our local Assistant Professionals make to serve us at our local Golf courses and clubs.
As I left Pricey Mart that afternoon, with my indoor/outdoor electric fireplace, I found myself thinking how strange it is that this Reporter can sometimes stumble onto the most interesting and intriguing Golf stories without actually knowing what he's about to step into!
We've probably all been there. You go to see your Pro for help with a specific problem you think you have. The Pro finds something else he thinks you need. The Pro might be right. But, it doesn't always feel that way. Larry
Usually, when an Amateur beats a Pro, it’s something we report on the front page of the Golf section of this Newspaper. The fact that this story is appearing at the top of the Police Blotter section, lets you know the beating that took place did not occur on any local fairways. The Amateur didn't require any strokes or swinging clubs. He made his headlines with swinging fists.
A Visit to the County Lock-Up
“We were on the practice tee. This was about five years ago.” The man speaking is Wally Fuup, Local Amateur and former 3rd Place Runner Up at the 2011 Mixed Couples Tournament at Valley Heights CC. He is sitting on the edge of a steel bunk in a an unlocked cell at the Traylor County Jail, sipping on a rum and Coke. (More on that later.) “I was just trying to get a little help with my chipping. I’m a member at VHCC; and, I thought Ty might be able to help me.”
Fuup is talking about PGA Assistant Professional, Ty Benderling - long-time backup to local pro legend, Snoot Dockery. The semi-incarcerated Golfer takes another sip from his 12 ounce tumbler and continues: “So, I played on a Saturday morning. Shot a 78 with only a couple of ‘gimmes’. Felt pretty good. So, I went to my lesson with Ty.”
As a reporter, my job is to report the facts - not hearsay. But, I’ll have to report that when Mr. Fuup says the name ‘Ty,’ it sounds like he’s spitting out poison.
County Jail Warden, Dummar Thenspit arrives at the open cell door offering more ice - or a refill. Fuup takes both. As the ice clinks into the glass, inmates from the other cells in Block A of the Traylor County Lock-Up lean in closer to the bars of their open cell doors. Jail Regular, Lucy Schmuckel, takes a quick pull on her Jail Juice as Warden Thenspit calls it. “Go on, Wally, tell it. Tell it like you told us twelve times already!” Cups and assorted glassware clink against the bars. The inmates chant a chorus of “tell it, tell it, tell it!”
Fuup takes a sip, then puts down his glass. A faint smile crosses his lips - then a grimace. “I only wanted a little help with chipping.”
The chorus gets louder: “Tell it! Tell it! Tell it!”
One more sip, then he stands and begins pacing in and out of the open cell. “Like I said, I was hitting the ball pretty good. I had a 78 - and it coulda’ been better if I had chipped better. That’s all I needed - a tip or two on chipping. Get the ball close. I can make the putt!” A tear runs down his cheek.
“Ty Benderling did this!” It’s Lucy Schmuckel. At first it seems like she’s supporting Fuup. But, then she puts down her drink and rips open her blouse - to expose a tattoo that reads “TY.”
As the non sequitur slips into an awkward silence, Mr. Fuup clears his throat and continues: “Like I said, I went in for help with chipping, and Ty says “So, how are you playing?”
And, I say, “Pretty well! I’m hitting the ball great! I’m just a little concerned about my chipping. So, if we could work on that...
Lucy Schmuckel jumps in, “But, he didn’t let you, did he?”
“No,” pouts Wally. “he wanted to see my grip. So, I showed him. I picked up my 6-iron and showed him.” The accused looks down and carefully grips an imaginary 6-iron.
Another long pause leads this reporter to posit the question: “What happened when you showed him your grip?”
Fuup walks back in his cell to grab a quick gulp. “He looked at me like I had a disease or something. Then, he says, “There’s your problem!”
“All I wanted to do was chip a little better. But, Benderling tossed a ball on the ground and said ‘hit it.’” The memory boils out of Fuup’s mouth like a flaming waterfall. “So I hit it. I hit it sweet - ‘thwack’! I hit that 6-iron 180. Just a little draw. Perfect.”
There is no sound in the cell block. We hang on every word. Wally takes a deep breath that ends in a sigh and turns into a sob. “So, the ‘pro’ says to me, ‘No! That’s all wrong! Your grip’s too strong! Your right hand is too far under! With that set up, you should be hitting a huge hook!’ I tried to remind him I just wanted to improve my chipping. But, he tossed another ball in front of me and said ‘Hit another one. But, this time, rotate that right hand to the left. Get your right thumb on TOP of the club.’”
Fuup chugs the rest of his drink - holds it out and shakes the ice in his glass. Warden Thenspit slops more Jail Juice into the shaking glass. “I still thought we were going to get around to talking about chipping. I mean, I was paying him 50-bucks for the half hour - I figured he understood. So, I went ahead and rotated my hands. It felt awkward - awful.” He gulps. “It felt dead wrong!”
“That bastard!” It was Lucy Schmuckel, who was on all fours on the floor, looking for a button that popped off her blouse when she ripped it open.
“I tried to hit the ball - I sliced it into the trees at about a hundred yards.”
“A shank,” this Reporter offered helpfully.
Silence gripped the cell block. There was blood in his eyes as Fuup cut me off: “We don’t ever say that word. Not on the Golf Course and NEVER in a jail.” He had a point. I mouthed my apology as Wally took a sip and continued. “So, I hit the ball sideways and Ty says ‘That’s the way it should look.’ He’s talkin’ about my grip - I’m lookin’ at my shot.”
“Is that when you hit him?”
“What? No! That happened five years ago. It’s been five years of hitting the ball sideways, with a perfect grip. I finally lost it after my wife beat me last Sunday morning. That’s when I went into the pro shop and beat the pro.”
Applause fills the block - and, there’s not a dry eye in the place as the Warden pours another round. “Ain’t no jury of his peers ever gonna convict him!” The interview is done. The Jail Juice is gone - The cell doors are locked for the night. As I turn to leave, Wally leans against the bars, “Be sure you spell my name right. It’s Fuup - F-U-Up.”
Notes from the Other Side
When Golf Beat sought out PGA Assistant Golf Professional, Ty Benderling, he was busy re- gripping a set of clubs in the dim light of the bag room, next to the cart garage, under the Pro Shop at VHCC. His lip is still swollen. His puffy, black and blue eyes seem to make the job that much harder.
He measures off a piece of double-sided tape as he puts things in perspective. "It's a matter of right and wrong. I ‘get’ that he’s unhappy. He couldn't hit the ball anywhere near what he was aiming at. But, come on! He thinks he’s upset? What about me? I had to listen to him whine about it for five freaking years. And, let’s get real - his grip is - now - perfect!”
Benderling pours mineral spirits inside the grip, sloshes it around, then pours the liquid out onto the double-sided tape. "Don't tell me you can't do it. Just do it. That’s how I teach.” He slides the new grip onto the shaft. As he squints to check the alignment, he winces and touches his swollen eye.
"Wasn't he hitting the ball well when he came to you for some chipping advice?" This reporter has to ask the tough questions.
The Assistant Pro takes the newly gripped club out of the vice, stands it against the wall and gets ready to re-grip the next club. “That’s not how it works. It’s like cheating if you're hitting the ball okay - but, not doing it right. He needs to quit whining and get it right. I need to see him get it right. If he can’t get it right, that’s not on me. That’s on him. Those are his fingers on his hands that betrayed him - then punched me.” He blots at the purple mouse under his right eye with the rag he’s using to wipe excess mineral spirits.
“Were you surprised he punched you?”
The Pro cinches up another club and rips open the old grip with one swipe of a box cutter. “Yeah - they don’t usually go that far. They just give up golf and take up some other sport.” Benderling has really hit his stride - he finishes the club in seconds and racks up another.
“Look, I’m not mad at Wally. I didn’t even call the cops. My Mom did that, when I came home looking like this.” He points at his black and blue visage. “But, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do the right thing. I can’t let someone I’m giving lessons to get that far off the reservation with a grip like he had. Again - I wanna be clear: he has a great grip now!”
Before I can ask another follow up, the Assistant Pro stops abruptly in the middle of ripping off another grip. “Wait a second - am I re-gripping the wrong set?”
It turned out, he was.
A Note from Larry: Golf and Beer seem to go hand in hand. Since the beginning, having a couple after a round with friends has been an important part of the experience. At some point during Golf's evolution, beer began to become part of the game. Also known as "swing oil," some golfers can't imagine playing 18 holes without the support of their favorite brew. In this week's story, a little too much support leads to some rather big problems.
Golfers O.B. For D.U.I. at I.M.A.I.D.I.O.T Golf Outing
Last Monday, what started as a fund raising tournament at Hooking Hills Golf Course, for an organization dedicated to reducing impaired driving (Irritated Mothers Against Impaired Drivers Intoxicated Or Tipsy), turned into what Sheriff Orville Wilburite describes as “the largest one-day haul of drunks behind the wheel in the history of Traylor County Law Enforcement.” The list of those arrested is a virtual Who’s Who of local celebrities, golfers and a bunch of names that don’t matter.
At 3 p.m., in an operation code-named “Wet Blanket,” Wilburite and twelve Deputies swooped onto the County-owned Golf facility in a recently acquired government surplus armored personnel carrier. Officers outfitted in riot gear and armed with cattle prods and ball retrievers quickly began picking up inebriated golf cart drivers "like tattoos at freshman orientation," according to the Sheriff.
In local law enforcement circles, the day is now referred to as “The Great Hooking Hills Turkey Shoot.” Deputies made 119 arrests; 79 for DUI, 39 for disorderly conduct and one for solicitation - after golfer, Lucy Schmuckel, made what Deputy P. Enos Handleman wrote in his report were “lewd references to putters and balls in which Ms. Schmuckel mentioned Golf holes...without using the word ‘Golf.’”
“I’ve been in several golf tournaments where beer drinking was kinda’ part of the deal,” said Wilburite, “So, when I didn’t get an invite to this one, I thought it was a perfect time to see if we could make the County a little...safer.” Aside from the large number of arrests, 1,700 cases of beer were confiscated. The beer will be donated to Spirit House, a local homeless shelter in Pesterville.
Local I.M.A.I.D.I.O.T. Chapter President Devilva Sputz-Demott-Dongler said she was blindsided by the arrests. “This should never have happened. I thought we invited the Sheriff and most of his deputies.” She paused to run a mental checklist. “Except the really overweight one with the real red face, of course. Last time we invited him, he ate most of the buffet himself.” (After some research, this Reporter believes she was referring to Deputy Eddie “Swat” Doogler.)
Sputz-Demott-Dongler flopped into the chair at her desk, “I’ve been doing this a lot of years. I know how to run a charity golf tournament.” She spun her rolodex. “Something got screwed up somewhere. Probably by my Invitation Chairman, Purple Rayne Dibbledick. Her and the Sheriff, apparently, haven’t hit it off since their High School prom “.
The embattled President stabbed a newly sharpened pencil into the top of her desk. “I don't care about the arrests. I just want to get the beer back. I don’t want to see my beer go to a bunch of homeless guys who don’t play Golf. There are plenty of golfers whose home-life is a wreck would be happy to have a six pack of their own to cuddle with.” A small tear wiggled out of her good eye, “This has been real hard. The only thing harder was when we formed this group and spend months with a Thesaurus trying to come up with a good name.”
Piecing together events of that day, from various witness accounts, here's how tournament day unfolded.
It actually began weeks earlier, when Angry Native American Brewers of Poking Buffalo Lake was given the beer concession at the tournament. Angry Native American Spokesperson, Dave Bouncing Bear says the company wanted to do some “product placement” with a group of “guys who can really put it away.” On reflection, Mr. Bouncing Bear says this bit of product promotion may have been the seed of the problem.
Pooter Jacobs, a competitor at the event , and an I.M.A.I.D.I.O.T. board member said the second he voted for the plan to put beer in the golf carts, “I knew I had to do something. I’m good friends with Boots Cuten (Brewmaster at Nesters Crotch Craft Brewery). I told him he had to get involved! You know - get equal time. It was good for everybody. He gets a square deal, we get more beer.”
Mr. Cuten, who is also the CEO and leade delivery driver for the brewery was more direct: ”When we heard that the yokels at Angry (Native Americans) got the 12-pack concession on the golf carts for this tournament - we came in with our refill station idea. I had no idea the refill station guys would begin running onto the golf course to refill both carts and players.”
As it turned out, witnesses say that beer consumption was carefully monitored by representatives from both breweries. As bottles were drained, another cold one was always open and ready.
Bentley Garrison III, Principal at Buttshugg High said it seemed that the beer competitors took it personally if players were drinking the wrong beer. "I'd finish one and out of nowhere, I'd have an open beer in each hand. A week later, I’ve still got a headache.” He blinks his bloodshot eyes and initials a student’s hall pass. “I was definitely over- served. But, I didn’t get arrested. When the cops came, I was half in the bag - my golf bag - looking for tees. My former friend - and the now former Vice Principal at our school, Dr. Emile Everstrait was behind the wheel at the time. So, he was the one who got pinched.” (See the story from last week’s paper: “Vice Principal Arrested for DUI at Charity Golf Event.”) “Hey, I had to fire him. He was drunk in public!”
On the day of the event, Players checked in at 10; and, were given commemorative hats with the I.M.A.I.D.I.O.T. logo. Each golf cart was outfitted with an over-sized cooler and two twelve packs fromAngry Native American Brewers of Poking Buffalo Lake.
By 10:45, the beer was flowing in and out of golfers as fast as the two competing beer makers could tap a keg or pop a top. Competitor Red Isenpayne says he could definitely feel the effect of the beer barrage. “I couldn’t feel my hands. That made it very difficult to have any ‘feel’ around the greens. I couldn’t get my chip shots to hold. I also couldn’t hold my bladder.”
As early as 11:30, golfers were calling in on their cell phones to the pro shop to report porta potty breakdowns. "Right off the bat, we had a kind of odious flooding condition at various parts of the course," says head pro Bix Wilstrup. The Pro winked. “Odious was the word of the day in your newspaper. But, seriously, there was a flooding problem the likes of which we’d never seen out here before. I called the company that pretends to service our porta-potties (Blue Water Enterprises). The guy there said they were out of the chemicals that don’t work - even if they are actually used. And, he told me that overflowing portable toilets are in kind of a legal gray area - between commerce and the environment. There aren’t any rules or regulations. So, I kind of relaxed at that point.”
We called the EPA to check on Wilstrup’s environmental assertion. “All the land in the golf course tract funnels into Purdy Creek,” says Thomas DeLuge, Acting Under Secretary for the EPA’s Regional Office for Egregious Environmental Conduct. “That creek is the sole breeding area for the Striped Wink-Eye Frog. If those frogs are unable to reproduce....” DeLuge stops to imagine what would happen. He takes a breath, “It would have a devastating effect on all area French Restaurant appetizer Menu selections. But, new EPA regulations say we can only regulate businesses that ask to be regulated - and the Porta Potty people haven’t asked. So....” (A quick check with Siri showed that there are no French restaurants within 100 miles of this area. However, there are places nearby that sell French Bread and croissants.)
“The whole round is kind of like hidden in a haze for me,” says Paul Peekerwood, of Plunkwater Village. “I remember the first hole. My father-in-law and I parred the hole. We were closer than we’d ever been.” A tear welled up from just inside the puffy bulge of his purplish black eye. “Then, I don’t know. I started telling Roy how I really feel about his constant meddling in my marriage with his daughter, Paula. And then...” Mr. Peekerwood paused. He seems to be sucking in the whole day in one shaky breath. “Then, Roy started chasing me with his 9 iron.” He points to his eye. “Got me good here. To tell the truth, I was kinda’ glad when the police showed up. Especially since it was Roy who was driving, yelling obscenities and threatening to kill me.”
Deputy Donny Farkenburg says the raid when down exactly as planned. “But, only after weeks of planning. The Sheriff, he planned it down to the last detail. So, when we charged onto the golf course at 3 p.m. it was what you call a “synchro-knifed” raid.” The Deputy took a moment to ponder. “I always thought the word was ‘synchronized’ - but the Sheriff is sure it’s ‘synchro-knifed’...so...” This Reporter asked Farkenburg what he remembered of the raid. “First thing I saw when we busted through the underbrush in our troop carrier and onto one of the fairways, there was a golf cart with a couple of drunks just sitting in it. We managed to hit them with a glancing blow - and they stumbled out screaming and shaking their fists.” Deputy Farkenburg pulls out his ticket pad to refresh his memory. “That’s why Dr. Twill Wartner and his current cellmate, Tyler Prestwick got summonses for DUI and 90 days in jail for threatening an officer of the law.”
Sheriff Wilburite says his onslaught had the effect of stopping the golf tournament and the flow of beer - and beginning a chorus of “do you know who I ams?”
“We nabbed some pretty big fish in this raid,” says Wilburite. “We got the News Anchor from Channel 37 up in Waspishville. I forget his name. (Leonard Steele) But, he was real snooty until he got himself Tazed.” The Sheriff points to the TV in the corner of his office. “I saw him on there last night. I think his voice was a couple octaves higher.”
He pulls out a spread sheet and peruses it; then, hands it to this reporter. Here are other notables who were caught in the raid:
Tewk Headley (Former Quarterback at Eugenia Creamwell High School in 1978, now Assistant Manager at Innie and Outie Maternity Clothing Boutique).
Snake Lazarus (Morning Show Host of Shakin’ Snake and the Morning Crew at WTF Radio).
Ermin Furzel, former Dustwater Creek Mayor and current candidate for Congress.
Pinchey Davis, (the short one in “D-Zees” a singing group with that one hit “Doin’ the Wonky Twonky” that was popular on WTF AM1270 Hitradio! back in the early 70’s - before many readers - and this Reporter were born.
Brock Nootney, local inventor and TV pitchman for his invention that turns any car into an instant convertible: The Car Can Opener. (Currently involved in a legal battle with customers who claim he only sold them used chainsaws with a Car Can Opener decal on it.)
Kenny Dimpleman, former Traylor County Little League star. As he was led away in handcuffs, the 47 year old told officers, he would autograph photos of his game-winning sacrifice fly in the 1980 District semi-final game against Shagmore Carpet for a reduced price - if they would let him go. Dimpleman is now facing added charges of bribery.
In all 78 golfers were arrested and arraigned on DUI charges. Another 39 were jailed for disorderly conduct and/or slovenly appearance. Head Pro, Bix Wilstrup clarifies: “Actually, I partnered with the Sheriff on that last charge. I mean, the drinking was one thing. But, when the shirt-tails come out - and guys start tripping over their untied shoe-strings. Well, that’s just sloppy. It’s bad for Golf. I had to say something.”
Sheriff Wilburite, for one, is glad the Golf Pro spoke up. “Without him, we woulda ‘ missed out on several thousand dollars in extra fines.”
While the legal wrangling in this matter may take months - or even years - to work out. County officials say they’re proud of the Sheriff’s actions. “He saved lives,” says Vivian Festerhump, Councilperson at Large Pro Tempore. “Imagine if there had been school children - or a busload of blind people on that golf course. There mighta been a terrible accident. And, that’s all our lawyer is allowing me to say. In fact, he wrote all of this down for me - word for word...except this last sentence, which I probably shouldn’t have said.”
Tournament Chairman Sputz-Demott-Dongler says she definitely plans to hold the tournament again. “As soon as hell freezes over.”
Larry Caringer has been writing humor for broadcast for a long time. Now, he's writing it for you. The stories, here, are from a collection of short stories from his book "Golf Beat: A Year in the Life of Persimmon Pines."