It's a Daily Occurrence
Getting out on crowded golf course first thing in the morning can create quite a scene. Larry
On a recent Friday morning in June, I decided to get in a quick 18 holes at the area's most affordable spot to tee it up, Traylor Park Golf Course. The attractive, if somewhat short, flat and treeless, former logging site on Town land in Traylor Park, is run by Legolas Demott, heir to the Demott Persimmon Factory Fortune and PGA Professional.
I arrived shortly before sunrise and was shocked to see a full parking lot. Having a Press credential is always helpful when the need arises. I knocked at the back door, waving my credential - and scaring about a dozen employees who thought I was with INS. After a confusing few minutes, Quito, a restaurant cook, let me in, waving his card...a green one.
In the Pro Shop - where only the security light burned - Legolas Demott was counting the cash in the cash register. He looked tense. His normally friendly demeanor - wasn't. He eyed me suspiciously. "You here to work...or play?"
I almost told the truth. Luckily, my keen Reporter's sixth sense told me to say otherwise. I pulled the press credential from my pocket - again - and waved it in the air.
"Good." He went back to counting the cash in the drawer. "If you'd a said 'play,' you'd be outa' here on your Friday ass."
What? I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The usually gregarious, devil-may-care, first-born son of Hoary Demott seemed sour...or anxious. Maybe both.
"Here for a story on the nightmare of Golf on a weekday morning?" He cracked open a roll of quarters and dumped them in with a flourish. "About time somebody noticed!"
I put away thoughts of playing as I tried to figure out where to start on this story I had only just discovered. But, I didn't need to worry. The clock was approaching 6:15. There was a loud banging on the Pro Shop door. The Pro didn't look up. I guess he didn't have to. "You're early again...Mr. Fosgate." Demott, closed the cash drawer a little harder than mechanically necessary. He glanced my way with a world-weary look that said, "See?"
It was Jenks Fosgate, a retiree from the Persimmon plant run by this Pro's Father. He pressed his face against the glass door and pointed at his watch. "Hey Pro! I got a doctor's appointment at ten! Let's go. Let's go!"
It was 6:10. Legolas sliced open a shipment of Golf balls. "Jenks is part of our 'Dawn Patrol.' Every morning he's here with his..." the Pro searched for the right adjective as he slid a few new sleeves of Golf balls into place behind the counter and turned back toward the door..."posse." He looked at Fosgate and pointed to the Pro Shop clock which read 6:11. "We open at 6:15, Mr. Fosgate."
Fosgate pointed to his watch again and yelled through the glass, "Doctor's appointment, d-mn-t!"
Demott nearly smiled in the eerie half glow of the emergency light. "I made a mistake, once, of opening up a few minutes early so the 'Jenkster' could make a doctor's appointment. Now he's got one every day." The Pro flicked on the shop's lights.
I looked out the door, past Fosgate and his "posse" to a line of Golfers of all ages and descriptions. While some seemed to be taking the wait in line in stride, most fidgeted. Even though it appeared their place in line assured them an early tee time, things were not exactly as they appeared. This was especially true for any Golfer who did not heed the large signs posted on the Pro Shop wall behind the cash register, on the door outside and at the entrance to the parking lot: Golfers will not receive a tee-time until all members of their group are on the premises. Preference to Foursomes. No Twosomes.
6:13. The more or less single line in front of the door was a bit more ragged. The Dawn Patrol still held their highly prized position on the pole.
But, behind, from 4th to about number 30, exact positioning was unclear. After the Pro Shop lights went on, those who had seemed unconcerned, suddenly began looking for a way to ensure an early appearance on the first tee.
For instance, Pug Utley and his son Doug - both hoping to get in a round of Golf before heading home from third shift jobs at Traylor County Gas & Electric's Plunker River Dripping Nostril Dam - chatted amiably with each other. But, when Toucan "The Bird Man" Thomas seemed to be making an attempt to slide ahead in line, two pairs of meaty Father and Son hands quickly redirected the Pet Store Owner back to his original place in line. A smattering of applause cascaded from the Golfing throng. (The Bird Man, later, told this Reporter he wasn't cutting in line. He was trying to catch a glimpse of his van in the parking lot to see if he had remembered to close the rear doors, after he got his clubs, because he had a shipment of cats and rare birds, inside.)
6:14. Gundy Parkhurst, somewhere around 20th in line called out to all who could hear him. "Ya'll better have your whole group up there when ya'll check in - or ya'll don't bother." His warning was greeted by a series of catcalls and hoots. "I'm serious ya'll. Pro don't take no crap. Read the sign. Right there on the door." The catcalls subsided as those who didn't know already looked at the large, hand-lettered sign on the door. "By the way," said Parkhurst, "I'm a Single lookin' for a game if anybody wants a 3rd or 4th." Within seconds, Parkhurst had bargained his way from 20th to 3rd in line.
In the Pro Shop, Demott watched the final seconds to opening count down on his clock and I scribbled notes. "Watch this. Here's where everybody starts better dealin' each other. It can get ugly." He turned and called into the Bag Room. "Diego. Time to get outside and find the Singles." Diego saluted and hurried outside.
In the next few seconds, the somewhat straight line of Golfers suddenly turned into a milling mass of deal makers and deal breakers, disappointment, disgust and disbelief. In much the same way the Galaxies coalesced billions of years ago, Foursomes formed, fell apart and reformed in different ways. Twosomes linked up with a Single, disengaged and found other Twosomes, leaving Singles to either link up with other Singles or go home and come back some time after 10 when things settled down.
6:15. Legolas Demott opened the Pro Shop door. A smiling Jenks Fosgate was first through the door, driver's license in hand. "Senior discount," he said as he made a beeline toward the cash register and slapped down his greens fee. He reached into the jar on the counter and took out two 50-cent balls recently retrieved from the pond on the 3rd hole. "Senior Discount on these, too?"
Legolas Demott was ringing up the extra dollar. "You ask me that every day, Mr. Fosgate."
"It's a joke, Legs - lighten up. When I was Foreman for your Daddy at the Persimmon Plant - I joked with him all the time."
"Good joke, Mr. Fosgate. Sorry. Have a great day Gentlemen!" He motioned the Dawn Patrol forward. "You fellas are number one on the tee." Diego returned to The Shop, leading a small, dejected-looking troupe of Golfers. Demott nodded and pointed to an area by the putter display. "Wait there." The forlorn group shuffled into place as the Pro started running the cash register as if he was a concert pianist...never looking at the keyboard...always making eye contact with the customers - And, always asking the most important question of all: "Is all of your group here and ready to play?"
They were, until he got to the sixth group. “Ms. Slurry. You paying for your group?”
An uncomfortable pause. A half smile. "Oh my. No. They'll pay you when they get here."
Rules. Demott looked past the woman to the anxious eyes of the addicted behind her. "I can't give you a tee time unless you have your entire group here and ready to play."
"Legolas, I went to school with your Father's second wife." A pause for effect. "My girls will all be here within the hour. Gertrude had a thing and she picks up the other girls, after.”
Behind her, Pug Utley pushed into the conversation.
"She can play with us. We got three." Pug and his son, Doug, were now teaming with the man they had unceremoniously sent to the rear of the line only minutes earlier - Toucan Thomas. "Why that would be lovely," said Ms. Slurry.
"What about your friends?" asked Demott.
"Hey!" It was one of the Singles. He was wearing a red cap and plaid shorts. "I'm a Single. Your guy said I'd get the first Threesome that came up. She's gotta wait for her group."
Ms. Slurry's smile faded. She spun on her heel. "What pig said that?"
The man, who had started to walk toward the cash register stopped as if he'd been shot. There was a fire in Ms. Slurry's eyes. She clenched her fists. The man in the red hat sized her up. If he had to, he could take her. But, instead of fists, he went verbal. "Didn't take long to 'better-deal' your friends, did it?"
The sticks and stones rule didn't seem to apply to this set of words. They hurt. Ruth Slurry sagged. Demott stepped in. "All right. All right. Take it easy, guys. Ms. Slurry, it's the rules. The Singles fill in to make up Foursomes."
"But, what if I say I'm a Single?"
"Then, you join the pool over there." Demott wasn't finished but, Ruth had heard all she needed to hear. She left the line and headed for the "pool."
"I'm a Single. Put me in with the next group."
The man in the red cap howled. "I told my wife I'd be home early. You can't do that!"
The Pro nodded. "He's right, Ms. Slurry. You can't. You left the line - lost your place and now you're in the Single's pool - the last one in - and you'll be the last to get into a group."
"What if my girls show up?"
"Back of the line. That's the rules."
Color drained from Ms. Slurry's face. She turned toward the door. "I'm going to join a Country Club!" It sounded weak...not believable. Defeated, she walked out the door - to light applause from the Singles' Pool. It was brutal for her, sobering for me and a great opportunity for a few jokes from everybody else.
If I wasn't going to play Golf, I decided, I might as well go to work. I thanked Legolas for his time. "Leaving so soon? This was nothin'. You need to hang around for the 'Wanna get in 9 during lunch' crowd." I assured the Pro I had all I needed; and left.
As I walked back to my car, I saw Ruth Slurry in the parking lot trying to explain to her just-arrived, soon-to-be former friends why they weren't going to get to tee it up on this fine morning. Suddenly, I was glad I don't play much early-morning Golf - and that I don't rely on Ruth Slurry for anything really important.
Late last Friday evening, Persimmon Pines Police finally got a break in a case they'd been trying to solve for more than a decade. Persimmon Pines Police Chief Candy Stazniack, announced through her spokesman, Commander Tee Yun Kim, that Police had arrested Plunker Landing resident Guy DeChamois, 51. He was arrested on the 4th fairway at the Slippery Meadows Golf Course after witnesses saw him bolt from a hiding place behind a large rock and scoop up a Golf ball that had just been hit from the 7th tee by the Chief, herself. She later reported: "I saw this little Frenchy guy dart out and grab my ball while it was still rolling. So, I called for back-up and nailed him in the woods."
DeChamois, the Owner of Le Chat en les Chapeaux - Un Parisienne Haberdasherie, was booked on suspicion of aggravated ball-hawking and possession of Golf ball stealing equipment. Specifically, Police say, he was found to be in possession of several plastic shopping bags full of new and slightly used Golf balls.
DeChamois' Court-appointed Attorney, Patricia Ulyee, Daughter of longtime Hooking Hills Starter Nat Ulyee, said her client is "innocent, unless he hasn't told me everything - or, the Chief of Police is telling the truth." The Prosecution argued DeChamois was a flight risk and Judge Orson E. O'Hall agreed - ordering the Defendant held under house arrest until trial next January.
For Readers unfamiliar with the history of this case, it had its genesis in April, 1984 when a 911 call was answered by then Patrolman Candy Stazniack and her ride-along partner, Cadet Tee Yun Kim. The pair was parked in a secluded area of Valley Heights Country Club "staked out for perps." Valley Heights Head Pro Snoot Dockery reported members had lost several golf balls in the "Poor Man's Elbow" section of the course which borders the condo community known as Traylor Acres. Stazniack recalls the incident and said she and Tee "threw yellow crime scene tape all over that Golf Course and closed it down for days. But, forensics turned up nada." (That’s a foreign word meaning, “nothing.”)
Over all the years since the first report of lost golf balls, DeChamois has lived here in Traylor County. Plus, Police reports indicate several Golf Course sightings of "a flamboyantly dressed man in the woods."
Since this column is entitled "Golf Beat," this Reporter decided to pay a visit to the Defendant in the case at his home just off State Road TT, along the banks of the Plunker River.
Guy DeChamois, a short man, well known in this area for his wiglet and his extravagantly colorful clothing choices, readily invited me in. He is out on bail; and, views his house arrest ankle bracelet as a fashion accessory. We sat down in the Den of his home over glasses of imported wine and some unidentifiable cheese (definitely NOT American Cheese) and he told me his story.
"I have a sale going on right now at Le Chat in les Chapeaux. So, the day I was, how you say 'arrested,' I was wearing my merchandise - a bright yellow shirt covered in red flowers - and a very hip pair of purple pants we are selling for only $35.00, don't you know?"
I nodded. "Nice pants."
"Merci. So, after a hard day of selling the pants et. al., it was important for me to get the exercises. You see?"
"So, you're saying you were not at the Golf Course on any kind of nefarious mission?"
DeChamois nearly choked on the large sticky mass of cheese he had just bitten into. "Mais no!" He coughed and stood. "Excusé moi. I must get a, how you say, 'napkin.'"
He hurried out of the room. I relaxed, took a sip of wine and tried to swallow the piece of cheese in my mouth - which seemed to be growing larger all the time. At first, my eye went toward the window looking out over the dry bed of the Plunker River.
Of course, there's no water in the river bed right now. but, in the Spring, when the Traylor County Electric Authority releases water from the Persimmon Spires Dam on Buffalo Pelvis Lake, my guess is, it's probably much more wet looking.
As I pondered what the river with water in it might look like, my eye wandered away from the window and across the walls of the Den. It was then I realized every square inch of the walls in the room was covered with Golf balls.
What I had at first taken for wallpaper was, in fact, thousands upon thousands of golf balls. Inset in the "ballpaper" were framed collections of various balls from different periods of Golf History. I was sitting in a veritable Golf-Ball-Atorium.
By the time DeChamois came back into the room wiping his chin with a paper towel, I was on my feet examining the evidence. "Ah! My collection! You noticed!"
I backed away; not wanting to appear overly interested. "Nice. How did you stick your balls to the wall like that?"
"Epoxy," he offered.
"How long..." My voice trailed off, as I was struck by the enormity of the evidence in front of me.
DeChamois took another sip of wine. "Since 1984 - the year I move here from Toronto."
Was he toying with me? Was this some kind of sick game for a Serial Golf Ball Stealer? I had to get out of there - and quickly! I grabbed my notebook and stood. "I have to go. My Mother just sent me a text message."
"So quickly Mr. Green? You haven't had time to examine my balls!" He put his hand on my shoulder and pushed me back into my chair.
He handed me another glass of wine and explained his side of the story in a nutshell.
He told me he has an addiction to golf balls - a psychological need. The medical term for this condition is "Golfospherizoidinal Psychosis." He told me he could get a note from his doctor, if necessary.
The accused swears every ball he picked up was either lost or about to be - and he does not feel he did anything wrong. "Wrong-ish perhaps. But, not completely wrong," he asserts. He went on to say that he had friends in high places with several Golf Ball Manufacturers. They have offered to pay for his legal defense - because, his affliction "has resulted in a very large boost in sales in this area."
I guess my silence spoke volumes. Tears welled up in DeChamois' eyes. "I am not a criminal. I am a collector. I could not stand being in prison - surrounded by walls...and no balls!"
As I drove home, I realized one inevitable truth: For DeChamois to get into this mess - it took a lot of balls.
Editor's Note: Since this story was written, the Persimmon Pines Times was been contacted by Mr. DeChamois' Lawyer, Patricia Ulyee. She asked us to "cease and desist" from printing this article on the grounds that Mr. DeChamois could be construed to be "incriminating himself." Well, Of course he is. He's a crook and needs to be sent to prison for a long, long time. Ed.
At one Golf Club, they've found a way to keep golfers safe - while, at the same time, opening new revenue streams! Larry
Dr. Twill Wartner still shivers when he thinks of that day, last month. He was hitting his 5th shot on number 12 at Woodstone C.C. “Maybe it was my 6th or 7th shot. I’m not good with the rules,” he opines. “I’d hit two or three balls into Gator Lick Pond. So, of course, I went looking for them. But, between the reeds, mud and snakes, I gave up after about 15 minutes.” He takes a drag on his cigarette and thinks for a moment. The smoke rolls out of his mouth as he speaks. “Actually, I was playing with the Billswack Twins, G. Roy and Roy G. One of ‘em got impatient. I can’t tell ‘em apart. But, they were tired of me looking for balls. And, I think the three groups behind us were, too. So, out of courtesy, I teed up a ball on the edge of the pond and set up to swing.” He shivered - again - and took another pull on the remaining stub of a cigarette.
We are sitting in the Golden Rule Cafe, across the street from the Persimmon Pines Times. Dr. Wartner - most in the area know him simply as “Old Doc Wartner,” sees me glance at some crusty scabs on his arm. He pulls a flask from his back pocket, takes a sip. It seems to steady him. “Had some more lesions cut off. I probably should wear sunscreen - but, it makes my hands slippery. Not good for my handicap.” I make a note. Doc continues.
“So, as I was taking the club back, I hear a splashing sound. I thought the guys behind were hitting into us. So, I stopped my swing and was turning around to cuss ‘em out. That’s when I saw that big gaping maw -- and all those white teeth.” He pauses to light a new cigarette from the dying stub. Another shiver.
“The Twins were running in the opposite direction, screaming like babies. The groups behind me lit out for the club house. It was just me and my six iron -- and a 10-thousand pound gator.”
Doc Wartner’s story continues, of course with many twists and turns and colorful language. But, we only have so much room in the newspaper, so let’s cut to the chase. He survived.
Now, the question facing every Golfer at Woodstone CC is, “What is the Club doing to protect us from such dangerously huge and prehistoric creatures?”
Now, I’m sitting across from Wip Myazoff. We’re in the dining room at Woodstone CC, where the Assistant General Manager is sipping coffee and waiting for exterminators to arrive to deal with a vermin problem in the kitchen. “First off, it’s not a 10,000 pound gator. He’s barely 6,000 pounds...or a few hundred over.”
The coffee cup clatters as he puts it back on the cracked saucer and reaches for a danish. “Second, Mr. Gerbley is against removing ‘The Woodstone Creature.’ That’s what he wants us to call it. He says it’s a potential goldmine in tourism dollars.” We pause as the exterminators arrive. Mr. Myazoff runs his hands through his thinning hair. He nods to the team in hazmat suits and breathers from Curddlesbeak Exterminators. As the crew enters the kitchen, Wip takes another bite of his danish. He looks at me, “You want one? Fresh made this morning in our kitchen!”
“Had breakfast,” I say. “So, you were saying...about the tourist potential with this possibly deadly alligator?”
There’s a moment for thoughtful reflection, then another bite of danish. “Yeah. That’s why we’ve hired Everglades Champion Gator Wrestler, Ollie Flukephist, to watch over everyone who hits a ball near Gator Lick Pond.”
“An Alligator Wrestler? Why not just have the thing removed?”
“No need! Ollie is an expert when it comes to handling these things. He still has most of his left hand. And, the hook on his right wrist really helps him control something like a 6-thousand pound gator.”
I start to protest; but, Myazoff waves his hand to stop me. “When he gets that thing to roll over on its back -- then he strokes its belly until it falls asleep...” The Assistant GM’s voice trails off into silence.
Suddenly, piercing screams and crashing dishes, silverware and pans from the kitchen shatter the silence. “Pardon me, won’t you?” Myazoff takes a quick puff on his cigarette, stubs it out in the remaining piece of danish, stands and pulls a small gun from his back pocket. I guess I look surprised.
“I have a permit.” As he rushes into the kitchen, where the screaming and sounds of banging pots and pans has intensified, I hear him mutter, “Around here you better have a gun.”
Four gunshots and a few screams later, Myazoff emerges with the crew of exterminators who are carrying a large duffel bag that seems to be oozing a sticky, red liquid. He returns to the table and lights a fresh cigarette. “It’s all good. We’re pretty sure that was the Queen. At least, if rats have queens, that one was big enough.”
I sit there for another 45 minutes, but Mr. Myazoff doesn’t say anything else of import. “Said too much already, probably.”
So, to wrap up the story. If you’re planning to play a round at Woodstone CC at Horehound Landing, remember there’s a huge gator living in Gator Lick Pond, next to the 6th fairway. You don’t have to fear it, because the Club has hired a professional gator wrestler to wrangle the beast if he shows up.
As this goes to press
Late word from is that “The Woodstone Creature” will appear in three wrestling exhibition shows daily at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. in the 6th fairway. Golfers get to see the show for a small extra charge -- or, play through by way of the 7th fairway. Others, who are looking for a thrill, should arrive at the Country Club parking lot one half hour before show times. The charge is $30.00 per person and includes a Golf Cart ride to the 6th fairway.
Golf History is often told in terms of the Classics...like Homer's Odyssey. This story contains some of the same elements. Namely: Words and paragraphs. Larry
Occasionally, this Column takes a detour from the present day Golf Scene here in The Persimmon Kingdom onto the dusty side road of Golfing history that occurred in our special part of the world.
The Story of George William Kurrs
Traylor County Golf has attracted several famous names over the years. And, in the 1930s, the most famous of the Golf elite to tee it up in the shadows of the Persimmon Spires had to be George William Kurrs...better known to the Golfing world as "G. Willie."
It was September of 1937, Kurrs was coming off his best year, ever. He had been third alternate for the U.S. Open that year. And, had played well enough several times to get his name in the Box Score section of The Persimmon Pines Times. Plus, he was invited by local legend Turley Burd to play a charity exhibition match. Burd once challenged Gene Sarazen to a match, blindfolded. However, Sarazen declined to put on the blindfold, unless Burd did too, and the match never came about.
On this day, Kurrs and Burd teed it up at Valley Heights in front of at least 2,000 fans for a Handicap Match set up by Burd who teed off from the regular tees. Kurrs, a true trick shot artist, was forced to start each hole from unusually difficult spots - behind trees, out of streams, through drainage pipes and the like.
The front page story from that day describes how Burd and Kurrs played a tight match through 15 holes with Burd up one. At the par three 16th, Burd hit his tee shot beautifully onto the green, one-foot from the cup. Kurrs, by the rules of the match, had to tee it up from behind a tall stand of thick pine trees. There was only one way to make this shot - with a very high flop shot over the 40-foot trees.
The following is quoted from The Persimmons Pines Times of that day:
Our hero, Mr. Burd, was certainly in the catbird seat, as it were. One up with three holes to play. His barely creased Kro-Flite ball rested just 12-inches from the hole. One up with three to play - and Mr. Kurrs forced to tee from behind the stand of impossibly tall pines, the odds were heavily in favor of our local hero leaving number 16, dormie.
However, his opponent had shown great ability on previous holes in finding a way to make a match of it. On the fifth, he was forced to tee from under a bridge, off a partially submerged rock. At number eight, he was placed nearly out of bounds in a drainage ditch and nearly managed an eagle. So, no one, least of all Mr. Kurrs, seemed to think this match was over.
His Caddy handed him a highly lofted iron and Mr. Kurrs studied the obstacle in front of him. With very little hesitation, he swung the club and, quite literally, popped it straight up in the air. The crowd, in spite of their obvious desire to see their local favorite prevail, applauded in wonder as the ball floated high into the air and arched over the thick pines toward the green. But then, a gasp from the throng! Mr. Kurrs' balata had come to rest - very near the top of a huge pine.
According to the newspaper account, Kurrs, knowing he had only five-minutes to play his ball - or declare it lost - climbed into the tree with his niblick, "like a chimpanzee on his way to a banana."
And, with his Caddy calling out directions, the Golfer was soon in position, hanging by his knees from a branch, staring down at the ball resting on the pine needles.
In what has to be one of the most amazing shots of the time, Kurrs swung at the ball while hanging upside down - flipped it out of the tree and onto the green - where it hit Burd's ball and knocked it 20 feet from the hole. (Back then, the rules required Burd's ball to remain where Kurrs' ball had caused it to stop.) Burd, in exasperation, amazement and deep admiration, looked up into the huge pine and yelled: "G. Willie Kurrs, you're good!" G. Willie went on to win the hole. The match ended in a draw.
Afterwards, Persimmon Pines earned its place in the popular lexicon of the day when Persimmon Pines Times Reporter Otto Dobinsanski reported the story. Before long, people everywhere were using a new word, born of the match, which English speaking people around the World used to express awe and surprise: "Gee Willikers!"
We've all read - or at least own - some kind of Golf instruction book. Some are based in the experience of the author or deep research and physics. Some, are based in...magic. The book described here is definitely the latter. Larry
On most days, Conor Owen, who lives in Stuporville Junction, sits at his computer, with his thesaurus. "I'm a Writer," he says. "Freelance mostly. Right now, I'm working on an interior design article." He leans aside and invites me to squint at a picture on his computer. It's a cat sleeping by the fire in front of a floral sofa under a large window as snow flies outside. Under the picture, Owen has written:
A cozy nook for a warm cup of Earl Grey with a splash of milk and honey. Here is all you need to bring the joy of life to a cold winter day as your kitty purrs a heartfelt, homey tune.
"Interesting," I say, as I look for a clean sheet of note paper. The Writer fills in the dead air. “In the last month, I’ve also written 'To Glue Stick or Not' for Bingo Monthly, an uncredited piece for The Weekly Shopper entitled ‘Tag Sale, Yard Sale, Garage Sale: Which One is Best?’ and my favorite: 'A Visit to My Attic' for Lo-Cost Travel Adventure Magazine."
I turn my notebook upside down and begin writing on the back of previously used paper. "So, you've written a Golf book."
He takes a long, satisfied sip from his tea cup. "Yeah. Actually, I'm on the verge of having two Golf books. I just finished the first draft of Turley Burd - His Glory Year in Traylor County. But, it needs some tweaking." (Turley Burd, of course is the late local Golf legend who famously challenged Bobby Jones to a match - with both hands behind his back. (Jones refused to play with his hands behind his back, so the match never happened.) “But, here’s what I’m really proud of!” The Writer reaches into a desk drawer, pulls out at least a ream of paper and plops it on the desk. Its title is simple and straight forward: Instruction Manual for Golf - The Head Game You Play With Your Hands and Your Head…But, Mostly Your Hands.
Good title. So, I ask the obvious: "Are you a Golf Professional?"
"No. But, I'm a student of The Game...and the brain. It's your brain that plays Golf." Owen hands me the stack of papers, title page up. "Go on. Pick a chapter. Any chapter."
I do. It's good! So good, I thought it was worth giving you a little preview before what's sure to be a bestseller hits bookstores. Here, with Mr. Owen's permission, is an excerpt:
A Brief Medical Discussion
No matter which grip you choose to use during a round of Golf, one thing remains constant: The club connects to your hands. Medically speaking, and I think most M.D.'s will back me up on this, your hands connect to your forearms, which "hook-on" to your upper arms with an ingenious device known as the "elbow." Your upper arms connect to your shoulders, then your neck - and through a series of what I call "brain muscles" - to your mind. There, in your body's control center, all important Golfing decisions are made. Your hands simply carry out your brain's commands! If you ever wondered what the old Golfing axiom, "Its all between your ears," actually means, perhaps this will clear it up for you! This old saw refers to your "brain," which, in most cases, is located in your head! And that means, it's - between your ears!
Right away, I can see this guy had a grip on the basics. But, I have to ask: "Medical background?"
He takes the book out of my hands and flips purposely through the pages. "No. Common sense. Check this out." He flips more pages, looking for a favorite passage.
"Where do you play?" I ask.
He's still flipping...looking. "Traylor Park. I've had a few lessons from Legolas Demott. We went to High School together. Ah! Found it! Here. Read this." He plops the stack of paper back into my hands.
Plan Your Swing Keys
Your swing keys are the key to your round. Perhaps that's why they're called "keys." Of course, every individual who plays The Game must, and should, have different keys or "thoughts" that will help that person make a swing that's smooth and effortless every time. In this case, I have a hard and fast rule: Plan (and re-plan if necessary) your swing keys for the day - in the car as you approach the Golf Course parking lot.
Usually, I'll turn down the radio briefly, look into my eyes in the rearview mirror to get my attention, and say: "Okay, Conor. Let's get serious." As soon as I have my attention and I know I have something important to tell myself, I go through each swing key with precision.
"Hands ahead," I intone as I mentally put my hands ahead of the ball at address. Sometimes it helps me to close my eyes to visualize the ball. "Kick the right knee in." My right leg usually jerks, adding a burst of speed to my already-over-the-speed-limit trip. "Low and slow," I mutter firmly. My hands move imperceptibly to the right. "Turn!" I usually twist in the car seat, straining against the shoulder strap, my right foot drifting briefly off the accelerator, car gliding right toward the sidewalk. Pedestrians scatter. But, only because they don’t know I’m only practicing my golf swing - not driving dangerously! “Swing, as if you were pulling an overhanging light bulb chain!” My car almost always swerves back to the left - away from foot traffic - and pick ups speed as my right foot returns to the gas pedal. I have heard others say that you'll never play well unless you can play with one swing thought. I’m pretty sure, this example shoots that idea down in flames!
Now, as your car lurches into the parking lot of the appointed Golf Course, you will have the quiet confidence of knowing that you have completed all phases of Preplanning your Plan to Play. You will have used the checkoff list in the back of the book as a reassurance that you have covered all your bases. So, as you emerge from your vehicle, you will be ready to face anyone, except someone really good, in a winner-take-all match (up to and including $1.00)!
Shortly after I finish reading the excerpt - and, before I can formulate a response to it - Owen gets a call from the Home Furnishings and Decor Editor of SuperGood Home Decorating Magazine and has to excuse himself to rewrite some cut lines for the picture of the Birdcage near the Armoire. I get up to leave...impressed. Here is a local boy about to make good! As I reach the door, the Writer puts his Editor on hold. "If you know anybody who would publish this - let me know. I'm not sure how many more sofas I can write about."
I tell him I'm sure, if he self-publishes, he might get his book in a rack at the local Health Food Store, "Natural Nugget."
Editor's Note: A follow up call to Natural Nugget management revealed Mr. Owen's book is under consideration for a potential position in the self-published book kiosk at the back of the store near expired canned goods sale rack. Ed.
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."