Note from Larry: Golf Course Club Houses often are the sites for wedding receptions...even ceremonies. In Persimmon Pines, the most exclusive location for these events is Woodstone Country Club at Horehound Landing. If you'd like to schedule your wedding for this unique venue, be sure to read the note at the end!
The Bride and Groom looked nervous. The balding Wedding Photographer lined up his shot, “Big smiles, you two!”
Just as the smiles began to bear fruit, from about 80 yards away, Dr. Twill Wartner - well known local GP - called out: “Fore!”
The young bride squealed and raised her bouquet over her head as her new husband ducked and rolled in his baby blue tux across the perfectly manicured carpet of grass that is the 18th green at Woodstone Country Club at Horehound Landing.
A gleaming white ball landed where, moments before, the couple had been posing. It took two hops, stopped and drew back about 12 feet. The wedding party clapped appreciatively as Doc Wartner, tipped his cap and strode onto the green to tap in his birdie putt.
Unusual? Weird? “Not at all,” says Woodstone Assistant Manager in Training Wip Myazoff. “Couples come here for weddings and receptions because this is a unique opportunity to blend fun, enjoyment and -- well -- weddings.”
How is it possible to make weddings enjoyable? Myazoff explains. “We give every wedding party a free day of golf the day of the wedding. By doing that we cut down on the chance that the reception will run too long -- because the guys always want to get out to play while there’s still enough daylight. And, let’s face it. Weddings can be a bit long and tedious. Especially when it drags on into the evening. This way, we help get the marriage off on the right foot by setting expectations: The honeymoon doesn’t start until the groom taps in on 18.”
Regarding the scene described at the beginning of this column, Myazoff chuckles. “Thanks to the silly environmental wetlands laws that hamstring us, dry ground is at a premium around here. That’s why, we send the wedding party out to the 18th hole for all pictures. It’s near the Clubhouse - so, it’s convenient for them -- and us. If someone gets clipped by a golf ball, our first aid kit is right inside the door!”
Aside from the rich golfing experience that’s part of every moment of a wedding adventure at Woodstone at Horehound Landing, there’s also the historic background of this special place. A romantic Traylor County legend has it that, back in 1867, a young couple, Travis Dongler and Bettina Sputz wanted to get married.
Their two families had a long history of disagreements. Some likened it to the the Montagues and Capulets or the Hatfields and McCoys. (Ironically, all these families have recently celebrated weddings at Woodstone CC.) In any case, after threats of violence, the couple was forced to elope. They paddled a leaky canoe across the Plunker River to the marshland near the mosquito infested licorice port of Horehound Landing. There, they acquired dockworker attire, joined the Union and became Longshoreman. And, seven years later, they had earned enough money to buy a ticket back to town, catch a train and move to Atlanta, where they each met someone else, got married and lived happy, contented lives far from each other and Horehound Landing.
The story of the original Horehound Landing, however isn’t as sweet. After the licorice famine of 1890, the anything-goes boomtown built on pilings above the marshland and swamps of Plunker River backwaters fell into bankruptcy and ruin.
In 1935 Acme Pesticide and Chemical Company dredged and reclaimed land for a testing facility. Just a year later, the site was abandoned in a panic by workers after a mysterious killer fog developed over Horehound Landing. The area remained pest and animal free for 20 years.
In 1956, the state condemned the property and built Horeland State Prison on the property. But, only months after opening, on a moonless night, the Prison mysteriously sank into the muck and mire of the swampland, taking the state’s most hardcore inmates with it. A partially submerged guard tower is the only sign that a prison was ever in this area. The tower is included in the design of the signature 16th hole. Every Halloween the Club invites townspeople to visit the “Haunted Tower of Horeland Prison.” Some say, if you listen closely, you can still hear the angry voices of the incarcerated trying to get out. Although, every year, there are fewer angry voices to be heard.
Most recently, Developer T. Earl Gerbley purchased the land for the exclusive golf course and high-end housing concept he named Woodstone CC at Horehound Landing. His protegé explains, “Mr. Gerbley wants to expand the amount of land by dredging silt from the river bed. But, the Feds keep bringing up ‘environmental concerns.’” He uses his fingers to indicate quote marks. “What are we trying to save? Mosquitoes?”
A large mosquito lands on his nose. He swats it. “Whatever. We’re not talking about politics right now. We’re talking about the fun of getting married at Woodstone Country Club at Horehound Landing.” Myazoff stops to savor the idea. “If I could get a girlfriend...Follow me!”
The Assistant Manager in Training quickly ushers me into the kitchen area, where Director of Catering, Chef Denis (spelled with one ‘n’ - pronounced like it’s spelled with a ‘P’), waits to continue my tour. Chef Denis is better known to many residents as Dennis Butterfield, former owner of Butterfield’s All You Can Eat in Nesters Crotch. (The popular stuff-your-face-place famously went under after a group of College kids on Spring Break and Senior Citizens Discount Promotion hit on the very same day.)
“My aim,” says the man in the big, poofy hat, “is to make food anybody can eat with one hand at a reception. That’s why I put hot dogs, burgers and grinders on toothpicks. It’s the best way to keep people eating while they’re doing other things -- such as dancing, kissing the bride or, holding a drink and soggy paper napkin in the other hand while talking over 80’s music played by a DJ who doesn’t even remember the 90s.”
In order to illustrate a typical wedding and reception at Woodstone CC, this Reporter has arranged for New Bride, Monica Terbilent of Lickendine Gap to share her wedding day diary.
Saturday May 28
My wedding day finally arrived! Getting married at historic Horehound Landing was a dream come true! Even though, until we found it in the phone book, I had never heard of Horehound Landing, it’s still historic. As Dad often says, “There’s a lot of history in through here.”
We arrived early at 6 a.m. so I could get into my gown in the Ladies Locker Room. I had to dress early, because there was a big Memorial Day tournament going on and the members needed to have the space to put on their shoes and whatnot. Anyway, it was fun wearing my bridal gown for 5 hours before the wedding. Not many girls get to do that!
Keith and his best man, Timmy, arrived a couple of hours later. They looked so cute in their tuxedo coats, cummerbunds and shorts. They chose shorts because they didn’t want to take too long to change before hitting the links. It was good practice for the honeymoon, too; because, Timmy came along with us so Keith could have someone to play golf with during our special seven days.
The ceremony on the First Tee was amazing! The views of the Plunker River backwaters are breathtaking. You are so close to the marsh, you can really smell it. Minister Radke had a good time exchanging one-liners with the guys who were teeing off, too! BTW: I liked the way the Minister used golf metaphors during his sermon. Like, he said the first year of marriage is like a perfect drive down the middle of the first fairway. No matter how perfect that first one is -- there are plenty more opportunities ahead for you to screw it up! Boy, that got a big laugh!
We had one brief thing that was a little awkward. A guy hit a bad shot, turned around and threw his golf club. It sailed over my head and hit my Mom between the eyes. Luckily, her glasses took most of the blow. They broke. And, I think that was a blessing - because those things were sooooo out of style. I’m writing this a couple weeks after my wedding; and, I’m happy to say her bruise is fading...and, her eyes have uncrossed.
Before the reception, we went to the 18th Green to take our wedding pictures. What a beautiful setting! If the mosquitoes hadn’t been there, I think it might have been almost perfect. Oh, and if
it hadn’t been so humid, too. Oh, and if the swampy smell wasn’t so strong...it would have been more perfect than it turned out to be.
I don’t remember much from the picture taking - except when a ball hit Uncle Rick on the noggin! He fell over, hard. But, it wasn’t more than 10 minutes before he was sitting up acting like he didn’t know his name or where he was! Uncle Rick is such a kidder!
Then came the reception -- with all that food! I’ve never seen so much food either wrapped in a bun or a tortilla! And, thanks to Chef Denis for his wonderful suggestion of having cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. I loved the squiggly white lines on top -- and the creamy filling! Mmmm!
Not much more to say, Keith, Timmy, my Dad, Uncle Rick and Minister Radke left to play golf, Mom, Aunt Dennie and me hung out on the veranda and munched on complimentary peanuts at the bar.
The boys were gone longer than expected and we missed our flight to Puerto Rico. But, still, based on my other four -- this was my best wedding, yet!
An important final thought: Weddings are booked through the middle of next year. Because of the long waiting time, Woodstone CC suggests you book now, and find a suitable mate later.
Note from Larry: Generally, we don't have any problem teeing it up on weekends on BHI...unless it's a big holiday weekend, or we're in the middle of the Summer season. But, other parts of the world face a weekly horror show of weirdness to find a way to get in 18 on a Saturday or Sunday or (God forbid) BOTH! Here's one way one course handled the situation - based on the actual way it was handled when I spend a year as an Assistant Pro back in 2005!
Potential changes in the way area Golfers make tee times at Hooking Hills, the County-owned Golf Course on Route TT, are currently being challenged in Court. The proceedings last week, in the Court Room of Circuit Judge Orson E. O'Hall took a decidedly negative turn when Mickey Dogslaw, one of the complainants acting as his own Lawyer, accused Assistant Golf Professional Terp Seemley of wanting a change in the rules "just so you could go home to sleep with your wife, occasionally." Seemley, on the stand for the County, retorted, "At least I still have a wife," at which point Dogslaw broke down and began crying - irretrievably broken. Court was recessed until next year.
So, in an effort to raise the level of the discourse on this subject, Golf Beat is happy to present an inside look at how the newer system of phone reservations for weekend tee times is working at Slippery Meadows, the City-owned Golf Course operated by PGA Pro Ralph "Jabs" Wacksmeier.
I dropped by just before 6 a.m. on Reservation Wednesday at the Slippery Meadows Pro Shop to watch what I had been told was a flawless operation. The cacophony of phones beeping and ringing made it hard to do more than wave to Wacksmeier and his Assistant Hake Weed. They stood behind the Pro Shop Desk looking more like Captain and First Mate on the bridge of a Starship about to meet Klingons than Golf Professionals about to take tee times. Off to one side, Greenskeeper Nugs Custerd arranged and rearranged pencils and pens in front of the sacred Three Ring Binder labeled "Tee Times."
Wacksmeier shook my hand. "Noisy in here right now. Some people call early - try to be first." He pointed at the phone in front of him. "This one's been ringing since I got here at five."
"What if it's something important?" I asked.
The Pro smiled. "Nothing is more important on Tee Time Wednesday - than taking Tee Times!" He turned to his Assistant. "Hake, remember: The Sickmans can't play before 2." Hake Weed, always cool under pressure, glanced back at his Boss like he was checking out a six-inch tap in.
Wacksmeier checked the clock and pointed at the edge the Golf shoe display. “Take a seat. When the action gets going, we won't have time to answer any questions. It moves quick; and, it can get complicated.”
I strained to be heard over the noise, as I sat on a pair of size 8 Footjoys. "I'm guessing you guys answer the phone and take names for tee times."
The Pro paused. Then, nodded. "That's about it." The ringing of the phones was intense. It seemed even louder, more insistent as the clock's second hand neared 6 a.m. Jabs watched the sweep hand. It touched the 12. "We're on! Go! Go! Go!"
Almost simultaneously, Pro and Assistant went to war. "Slippery Meadows Tee Times Wednesday!" -- they said in unison. Weed continued with his call. "Yes sir, Mr. Rouse - six a.m. Saturday. Regular Foursome? Gotcha." He pointed to Nugs Custerd who scribbled in the four names. How did he know the names? He anticipated my question. "Rouse, Hoostabeek, Biles and Deekel. Been playing together for 40 years." Weed was in the middle of his second call already. But, Wacksmeier seemed caught, stuck on the phone, listening.
"I didn't know it was you, hon. Yeah, it was ringing when I got here; but, it's Tee Time Wednesday. I can't take your Mom to the Emergency Room now."
Hake Weed glanced over, in the middle of his fourth call. He was now bouncing back and forth between his phone - and a third phone. "Slippery Meadows Tee Time Wednesday - please hold."
Annoyed? It wasn't clear. But, it was clear that the slack in the system caused by the personal phone call was definitely throwing a monkey wrench into the process as some players were starting to trickle in to play.
"Babe, I know she's dizzy. She's always dizzy. Sit her down on the couch. I'll be home around 10. Gotta go!" He slammed the phone down. It rang instantly. Bert Quinkley, a Golfer looking to get out early strolled in. He smiled at the Pro. "Hi Jabs. Get me out first thing?" Wacksmeier yanked the phone off the cradle. "Tee Time Wednesday." Quinkley's smile evaporated. "Hi, Mrs. Halterheiser. You and your Husband with the Tuggensuds?” He looked to his scribe who held up 9 fingers. "Nine o'clock. Gotcha." He turned to Mr. Quinkley. "$35.00. Cart, right?" Quinkley held out a 20 dollar bill. "No cart." Jabs grabbed the 20 and the ringing phone in one swipe. He took the next call while punching the keys on the register. Quinkley walked out, muttering, "Could at least say 'thank you'."
Meanwhile, Weed had a slight emergency of his own. “I’m sorry Mr. Schmuckel, you can't join Mr. Neeland’s Foursome. He's already called in with Mr. Iswiggle, Mr. Ginley and Mr. Wasco." He paused while the caller yelled something unpleasant. "I'm sure Turk Neeland had no idea you’d be out on bail so soon.” The Assistant considered the response and replied. “I’ll bet Mr. Wasco would probably be happy to give his spot to you - if that's his only alternative to ‘a good clubbing’ with your nine iron.” Hake paused to for another brief rant. Okay, Lucky. You’re in. Wasco’s out. See you Saturday at 7:16." He hung up the phone. "Nugs - need you to call Bill Wasco - and tell him he needs to find a game on Saturday. Unless he wants to leave the first tee, toes up. Lucky Schmuckel made bail, already." I think Custerd would have responded, but Wacksmeier was already calling out a Foursome for 8:34.
So it went for the next 45 minutes, until all the tee times were taken and next Saturday morning's schedule was completely filled in. That is, until Nugs Custerd noticed something. "Why do the Donatutis and the Fingalicks have three tee times?"
Jabs looked up. "You're supposed to keep an eye out for that, Nugs."
"I thought I was supposed to just write down what you guys holler."
"They all call to back each other up and be sure they get in," added Hake, helpfully.
It took another hour to reach members of the Foursome and to help them arrive at a time that was convenient for all. By then, the flood of Golfers, looking to get out, bumped threateningly against the Pro Shop counter. Wacksmeier checked his schedule. "I've got a lesson in 10 minutes." He turned to his Assistant. "You'll have to watch The Shop."
Weed nodded. "What about your Mother-In-Law? Did somebody else take her to the Emergency Room?"
The Pro checked his watch. "It's only a half hour lesson." He put on his sunglasses and headed out to the lesson tee. "When I get back...don't let me forget to call home."
From the Pages of The Persimmon Pines Times
The Stonewood Room at Woodstone Country Club at Horehound Landing is darker than a mausoleum and twice as quiet. It's as if speaking in anything above a hushed whisper would offend the rich, walnut-colored plastic veneer pillars which dot the landscape in this haute cuisine Dining Room in the southwest basement corner of what, in one of his brochures, Developer T. Earl Gerbley describes as "The Mother of all Club Houses.”
Last Sunday afternoon, I had just played a complimentary 18 holes at what I believed at the time was Mr. Gerbley's expense. I happened into the restaurant while trying to find my way out of the massive 500,000 sq. ft. edifice. Lost, I decided to sit down with an oddly-brewed cup of lukewarm coffee and begin writing an article about the recent course renovations I’d just experienced, first hand. But, my plans changed when I looked over the rim of my cup at Wip Myazoff, Assistant Manager in Training, as he stumbled through the door, blood dripping from his nose. Confused and dazed - and, perhaps in the dim light, thinking I was a fellow employee, he came toward me. "Jesus! Jesus is that you?" He stopped when he recognized me. “Oh, Jesus!” He moaned when he realized I wasn't the Head Busboy. "Oh God," he said as he cover his face with his hand.
Too late. I’d seen the damage and he knew it. I waved him over to my table. “Hi Wip.” Busted. He sat heavily in the chair opposite me and waved the Waitress over for a cup of...coffee. His right eye was a swollen, reddish, meaty mass and his split lip made him spit, instead of speak.
"I never thought it would come to this...never." He blotted a spot of blood from the corner of his puffy lip while he used his other hand to hold ice to an ever-darkening black eye. "I think I got a mouse!"
The Waitress dropped the coffee pot. "Ohmigod! Mice? No mas!" She ran from the room, whimpering in terror.
Myazoff turned to me. "I've got the mouse...under my eye! There are no mice in the Stonewood Room. Ever. Really."
I opened my Reporter's notebook as Myazoff dabbed pitifully at his swollen, purplish cheek. “This happened here? At Woodstone?” The Manager in Training put down the ice cube and pointed toward the walk-out French doors.
"Right out there, on the veranda." My eyes followed Myazoff's trembling finger out through the broken glass to the twisted and bent umbrellas, the shattered glass tables and a slate patio littered with broken teak chairs and the dangling, tattered remains of colorful Chinese lanterns. "It looks so peaceful now," I said. "What happened?" I don't know if it was a tear, or simply a bit of melting ice, that ran down Myazoff's cheek from his swollen eye; but, he quickly blotted it away and plunged into the events of the morning.
"Nancy Neva showed up this morning with her friend Lucy Schmuckel. You know Nancy, she owns her own car wash on Castor Street -- 'Neva Clean Car Wash.'" I nodded. I’ve always had my cars nearly cleaned there many times. "She's a nice lady,” I offered. Myazoff nodded. "She is. But, she associates with some - how should I say it? Low-lifes? I mean, Lucy Schmuckel is always stirring up trouble."
For those who don't know, or remember, Lucy Schmuckel is the Wife of Lucky Schmuckel, the only man ever to beat the house at the Chockasoutauk Indian Casino. Lucky and his Partner, Dub Wheelock, were later arrested for gaming violations after a two-way radio was found in Schmuckel's ear and high powered binoculars were found in Wheelock's pocket. Both are now serving time in Old Fergeltowne State Prison outside Suckelberry Junction.
So, yes, Lucy causes trouble. But, still, I had to ask. "What did Lucy Schmuckel do?"
Myazoff bit his quivering lower lip. "She broke the Club's dress code for women. At least, I think she did." He pulled out a copy of the Woodstone By-Laws. "Here, you read it. See what you think."
On page 94 of this Season's Country Club Rules of Conduct, I found a section entitled "Women's Golf Attire" which states the position of the Club's Board of Governors clearly and concisely: "Women (those of the female sex) should always present themselves on the first tee in tasteful, proper feminine Golf attire. This includes, but is not limited to; shorts, pants, skirts, culottes and a top, usually not sleeveless (but, possibly so) with a collar, unless said collar would reflect poorly on the top's otherwise fashionable presentation. In the matter of shorts, skirts and culottes, length should be tasteful approaching the knee or midway down the thigh so as not to expose more flesh than others might wish to see."
I closed the book and looked at Myazoff. “What's the problem?"
"Ms. Schmuckel showed up in a pair of tight little red shorts and a pink, sleeveless, collarless top." He paused to grimace and reflect. "I think we'd have been all right, if she hadn't taken so much time flirting with the boys in the Bag Room. But, by the time Nancy got her to the tee, several other women members had arrived." The group of "other" women included Jewell Gasworth, Linda Curdlesbeak, Devilva Sputz-Demott-Turdball, Blanche Trent and several others.
According to witnesses I talked to later, Mrs. Sputz-Demott-Turdball had already complained about Schmuckel's attire on previous visits as Ms. Neva's guest. On top of this, feminine tongues were still wagging over the "look-the-other-way" leniency shown to Lissa Bresteson's sleeveless top by Assistant Pro Elrod Hubbard.
The two ladies began a furious verbal assault on each other. "In fact," reported Myazoff, "the vulgarities they were yelling at each other were so loud, we got complaints from caregivers at the nearby Holy Trinity Adult Day-Care." That, according to the Assistant Manager in Training, is when he got involved.
I asked if a situation like this called for the expert diplomatic touch of the Club's Golf Professional, D. Ray Yoinkers. Myazoff just shrugged. "D. Ray told me the stuff Lucy Schmuckel was wearing is sold in Golf shops across the Country. He wasn't going to get in the middle of a cat fight 'just because a bunch of middle-aged old biddies' butts are too big to fit in a pair of tight little red shorts.' And, then, he added, 'besides whose butt would you rather look at all day?'"
"Can I quote you on that?" I asked. "Go ahead. You're not quoting me. You're quoting D. Ray. Right? Anyway, that's when I decided I had to get involved. So, I headed down to the first tee."
"And, that's when Lucy Schmuckel attacked you?"
"What? No! She'd already teed off. She was gone. When I got to the first tee, Blanche Trent asked me what I was going to do about Lucy Schmuckel. I told her I couldn't do anything because the tight little shorts and formfitting top was considered 'Golf Attire' by the Pro. That's when Mrs. Sputz-Demott-Turdball hit me on the nose with her 7-iron."
This Reporter noted a red and purple spot on the bridge of Myazoff's nose, reflected the imprint of a Big Bertha iron. "So, how did things end up on the veranda?" Myazoff looked dolefully at the patio where Carlos and Eduardo were removing debris. "I tried to retreat with as much dignity as possible. But, after I turned and started running, they caught me right out there. They were surprisingly fast, considering the size of the butts they haul around."
For those considering looking for an account of this event in the Police Report section of this newspaper, don't bother. Aside from one report of someone "screaming hysterically like a little girl," there are no eye witnesses to corroborate Myazoff's account. Besides, Myazoff said he didn’t call the police because “I don’t want to bring any publicity to the mess these old biddies caused. And, I sure don’t want anyone to know they beat me up.”
In the meantime, this Reporter has it on good authority that a group of influential female Club Members will soon petition the Woodstone CC at Horehound Landing's Board of Directors to amend the Women's Dress Code with these words: Tight little red shorts that ride up in the crotch and hot pink tops that dip into the cleavage are specifically outlawed. This means you, Lucy.
From the pages of The Persimmon Pines Times
Angra Buttshugg-Demott thought she knew her Golf Etiquette and Rules. That's why, recently, after she hit her ball into a collection of leaves 12-feet to the right of the third tee on Valley Heights Country Club's Blue Course, she announced that, even though the ball could not be found, she would play another from an approximate spot where the original ball entered without a penalty.
Problem was, the leaf pile was adjacent to the out-of-bounds stakes which run along the property line shared with the stately home owned by Rex Usall, former local Champion Golfer. Rex happened to be at home, watching some hired help clean up fallen leaf debris from his yard and deposit it in a convenient place just off the 3rd tee where Golf Course workers would be apt to see it and pick it up quickly without the need for Rex to pay for costly removal. This is how he came to be close enough to overhear Mrs. Buttshugg-Demott's declaration of a penalty-free shot. Being an upstanding citizen and former outstanding Golfer, Usall stepped forward, from behind the tree where he and his workers had secreted themselves, and tendered his opinion for everyone in the playing group to hear. "You can't do that. The ball might be out of bounds. You must find and identify your ball or hit another from the tee with a stroke and distance penalty."
Witnesses to the event say a decided chill filled the air. Usall and Buttshugg-Demott found themselves in, according to a player in the foursome, “a stare-down lasting "in the neighborhood of 12 minutes."
Some, who are less educated in the ways of Golfers, might say the fact that Buttshugg-Demott and Usall are currently locked in a nasty legal battle could have been a complicating factor in the confrontation.
For Readers who have not perused the Financial Section lately, the lawsuit was brought by Buttshugg-Demott and her current husband, Hoary Demott against Sputz and Sputz Financial Advisors in general and Rex Usall, Senior Financial Advisor, in particular.
But, those who know Rex Usall understand his intent has always been to make sure the rules of The Game are respected and upheld. His integrity is held in the highest regard by anyone who has never used him as a Financial Consultant. He is well-known as a champion Amateur Golfer who once won the Traylor County area Grand Slam of Golf (Custerd Cup - The Francona - The Dickster Open - and The Woodstone) In fact, he won three of the tournaments that year based on allegations of rules violations he raised against competitors who finished ahead of him. As Usall said after one of these wins: "I don't write the rules. I just use 'em."
That said, reports from bystanders who were present at the time say it seemed obvious that - champion golfer that he is - Usall had only the interest of fair play in mind when he tried to be helpful with his intervention in that particular ladies four-ball match which included a woman with whom he is currently involved in a multimillion dollar lawsuit.
What happened next seems to be in dispute. The only fair way to report this story seems to be to start with the official Police report. It indicates that Buttshugg-Demott, after the stare-down with Usall, thanked him and continued looking for her golf ball. However, after Usall turned to go back into his yard, he reported he saw the ball, just outside the out-of-bounds stakes, under some leaves.
The police report states that Buttshugg-Demott felt that Usall's reporting of the discovery seemed "a little too gleeful." So, instead of a "thank you," she responded by flinging her three wood at Usall, hitting him in the ankle and causing him to fall on the ball. On this next point, all agree: When Usall landed on the ball, it squirted sideways - ending up clearly in bounds, and on a good lie.
As the former Local Grand Slam winner said from his doctor's office, during a check up on his cracked ankle: "If the ball is moved by an outside agent, it is considered 'rub of the green,' and play should continue from that point. Ms. Buttshugg-Demott was entitled to play from that point without penalty."
Buttshugg-Demott's Attorney, Thermal Goude, said his client would have no comment on the story. He did, however refute the charge that his client cracked Usall's ankle with her three wood. "And, even if she did," Goude told this Reporter, "he had it coming. He took my client's money against her wishes and invested it in a long-term investment that meant she couldn't get at it right away. It made her angry."
I asked Goude if that was a reason to throw the 3 wood. He said Ms. Buttshugg-Demott was simply acting out. "She's very young. Her husband's very old. She, quite often, feels very much like she's treated like a little girl. I think that's partly because of the way Mr. Demott makes her dress in those braids and all."
Whatever the cause of the sudden angry outburst, it has resulted in a lawsuit by Usall against Buttshugg-Demott that's even bigger than the one she filed against him.
But, in this world of high finance, none of that seems to matter right now. While she won't talk about the lawsuits or assault allegations, Buttshugg-Demott did grant me a quote about the rest of her day on the Golf Course.
"Thanks to the 'outside agent' ruling on my ball. I was able to play without a penalty - and made a bogey - which made me really happy. I got mad right after that, though - the more I thought about things. None of this would have happened if all those leaves hadn't been piled up right there in that odd place beside the tee. So, I called Marge Wilburite, the General Manager and told her to fire everybody on the Grounds Crew."
Later that day, 14 people filed for unemployment benefits from Valley Heights CC.
I contacted Usall, by phone, for his perspective on this aspect of the story. His reply was quick and succinct. "The Rules of Golf are clear and leave little room for interpretation. However, the rules of life are less well defined. It is in these gray areas that life's winners and losers are often determined."
"What does that mean?" I asked.
There was a long pause, then a sigh on the other end. "There are more leaves behind my house, beside the third tee -- and, now thanks to another fit of pique from Angra Buttshugg-Demott, everybody got fired and there’s no one left to pick 'em up and get rid of ‘em. Looks like I gotta pay for a dumpster.”
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."