Not everybody plays golf willingly. Here's a bit of proof. Larry
On Father's Orders...
When the name, Peyton Feminita appeared on the entry list for this year’s Custerd Cup, heads spun and tongues wagged. “A 13 year old girl should not be playing in one of the biggest mens tournaments of the season,” says Mickey Dogslaw. He’s a longtime area golfer, player in “The Custerd” and a man who speaks for many. “That girl needs to play dolls and learn how to make pie.” Dogslaw takes a moment to finish his beer and carefully consider what he says next. “On top of that, if she beats the men who want to win it, what’s that say about the men who want to win it? We need a judge to stand up for the men in town, kick out the girl - so a man can win the trophy…legally.”
For his part, Eugenia Creamwell High School Football Coach Laverne Feminita says he’s not pushing his kid. “I’m just trying to give her a chance to prove she’s as good and as tough as the next man...or person...as the case may be.”
In case you’re wondering, Peyton was allowed to enter qualifying for the tournament because those checking the entry blanks did not realize she was female.
Geoff Deleary, Competition Chairman for this year’s event, says there is nothing in the rules that prevents females from entering. “We depend on our guys who read the entry forms to weed out the women. But, in this case, they missed it. I mean, her name’s ‘Peyton’ for corn sake. Next year, we’ll change the rules. But, come on. Who names their little girl ‘Peyton?’”
It turns out “Peyton” is one of the most popular androgynous names given by parents these days. Her Dad explains: “As a kid, I was always teased because my parents named me Laverne. Sure, it can be both a girl or boy’s name. But, when you pair it up with my last name, Feminita...well, it was rough.” The Coach took a moment to collect his thoughts. “I guess I wanted my daughter to have the same opportunities I did.”
Her mother, Cameron, agrees. “Our parents did it to us. We did it to her. Aside from being kind of bitter and angry, I don’t think it hurt us at all. In fact, it made us both determined to do whatever it takes to get even with Life.” Cameron says she’s happy her daughter has been “put in this position by her Dad, who only wants the best for her. Of course, we’d also like to see her in a pro golf career…which we would manage for her...as our retirement.”
In that qualifying tournament, by the way, the 13 year old shot a near course record 65, beating the next best qualifier by 12 strokes. She carded eight birdies and one bogey. That lone black mark on the card came after she got into an argument with her caddy (her father) about her allowance.
One of those playing in her foursome, Chaz Pestril, reported “I didn’t know Peyton was a little girl until we stopped at the halfway hut and she trotted into the ladies room with a pushy older broad who turned out to be her Mom.”
I caught up with Peyton on her personal practice range, better known as the football field at Eugenia Creamwell High. Even though the signs clearly say “No Golf Practice,” it’s clear someone is bending the rules.
“I’d rather be at camp right now with my friends,” says the 13 year old phenom. But, that’s not happening.” Whack! She hits a crisp 5 iron it rises high over the football field, flies at least 200 yards and lands in a small island of grass in the school parking lot. Her Dad, is there to pop the ball into a shag bag. He gives her a thumbs up and yells something unintelligible. “I tell my Dad, it would be better for me to practice somewhere bigger. And, if he uses the phrase ‘Good effort’ one more time...” Peyton’s voice trails off as she sets up for another practice poke.
I ask her about the possibility of a lawsuit - filed by Mickey Dogslaw and Elmer Pittswheel. Whack! We both watch as the ball, off the face of the 5-iron, on nearly the same path - until it misses the small patch of grass and bounces off the asphalt and ricochets off several parked cars - setting off multiple car alarms. Coach Feminita yells something we can’t quite understand, as he runs away from the parking lot. Peyton puts the 5-iron in her golf bag. “My Dad says it’s a free country. And, that means I’m free to kick their butts.”
I help the Golfing teen pick up her gear and hustle into the wooded area next to the parking lot. Amid the sounds of approaching sirens, we shake hands and go our separate ways.
For a girl, that guy’s got a really firm grip.
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."