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.
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."