They just played The PGA at Bethpage Black. One of the regular bits of info the announcers dropped in was that golfers line up in cars and spend the night to get a tee time - which might be late in the afternoon - to play the course. You might say - this story is based in fact...sad, dumb, weird fact. Larry
The Traylor County Council recently discussed the controversial topic of changing the way local citizens get weekend tee times at Slippery Meadows Golf Course. The changes have been discussed for months in Council meetings, the Media and now in open court.
One witness speaking in favor of the change was Attorney Morris “Mo” Gaylock. He represents a Golfer who was recently sent to the State Psycho Hospital for the Mentally Untenable in Tilda’s Bend. Attorney Gaylock presented a portion of the man's Diary as evidence the current procedure needs to change to "a system less destructive to families, relationships, the body and the mind."
The current "Racking System" requires someone from a Foursome to remain on the grounds the entire night previous to a round of Golf on Saturday or Sunday in order to obtain a morning tee time. Those opposing the change say the Racking System is a tradition that separates wannabe golfers from real golfers. Mickey Dogslaw and Elmer Pittswheel, longtime members of the Men’s Club at Slippery Meadows, are behind the legal effort to block proposed changes.
Attorney Gaylock, who is also representing the Golfer in his divorce, presented these rambling notes of his client, taken from his personal Diary. As he began to read, Gaylock asked Judge Dackie Donson and the jury to “listen carefully to the tortured life that unfolds before you, as he puts us in his shoes for ‘racking duty.’”
5:30 p.m. Arrived home from work on time. Marilyn reminded me of 50th anniversary party for her parents at 7. Reminded her this was my week to rack. Think she understood the situation. As she took the kids and left the house, she said next time she'd see me would be "in Hell." Boy, is she ever right! Those anniversary parties can be brutal! Just enough time to chip a few balls before I shower for the party!
7:00 p.m. Arrived at 50th anniversary party on time! Must admit, wearing Golf shirt to a black-tie affair caused a few stares. Told "Dad" (I hate calling him that), that it was my Friday to rack. He nodded. But said, "Don't mention that to 'Mom.'" Turns out I didn't have to. She saw my Callaway hat from across the room. Said something like, "At least you didn't wear your spikes in here!" I didn't have the heart to tell her, I was wearing soft-spikes.
7:25 p.m. Getting antsy. The "pre-line" for spots is forming earlier and earlier. If I'm too late, I might not get a shot at a good number! Dinner's supposed to be at 8:00. That's waaay too late. I'll feign stomach cramps and leave in 15 minutes.
7:28 p.m. Marilyn asked me to leave, because I didn't "fit in." I think she was just being nice. As I left, Tommy asked me if he would ever see me again. I reminded him. "I'm just racking!" What a kid. Diary! Remind me about this: Tomorrow evening when I get home, I'll have to ask her why there are suitcases in the back seat of her car.
7:40 p.m. Arrived at the course! Sure enough three guys were here ahead of me. But, at least I know I'm in line to get a number to get a spot to get a tee time! What a relief! Last week, Al didn't get here until almost 11, ended up 31st in line! Luckily, he got number 2 out of the hat! What was he thinking? Nothing to do now until 11. Think I'll try some putting.
8:05 p.m. Lost 50-dollars putting with two guys I don't know. I need to be more careful about that. I'm pretty sure one of them had his name sewn on his bag.
8:15 p.m. Two more cars just drove up. Poor guys! There's four cars ahead of them! One of 'em's me! Maybe I'll listen to the radio for a while.
8:22 p.m. Whew! Forgot what talk radio sounds like these days after dark! Man, there are a TON of weird people on this planet. Thank my lucky stars I'm normal!
8:45 p.m. Just talked with Norm. Says they might go to a different system of picking tee times next year. Some kind of telephone deal. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want to mess up my family life with a bunch of calls at 7 in the morning! That would be very disruptive.
9:07 p.m. Less than two hours 'til the draw. Wonder if I should call Marilyn. Probably still at that party. Poor Marilyn!
10:23 p.m. Must have dozed off with the radio on. Cool air coming through the open window gave me a bit of a stiff neck. Battery dead. Hope somebody has jumper cables! Tried calling Marilyn. Still not home. Must be some party!
10:34 p.m. Charlie, from the Pro Shop just drove up. Looks angry as usual. I hear Charlie worked at two different jobs for 19 and a half years each...and was fired both times just before he became vested in his retirement plan. So, he got a part-time job at the course...but can't afford to play. Maybe that's why he's so nasty. Or, maybe it's just because he has to stay up all night every Friday during the Summer!
10:45 p.m. Must be 50 cars in line now! Guys are getting a little pushy. Charlie's had to wave a Big Bertha around in a big circle to keep us back from the hat. One more call to Marilyn. No answer. Glad to see she's having fun at Mom and Dad's 50th.
10:59 p.m. Drawing next! I'll let you know what happens!
11:03 p.m. What a rip! I was the fourth guy in line. I sat here all night. Right? Right! So, here I am...number four! I reach into the hat...and pull out #36! I could end up with a tee time in the afternoon! Nothing to do now, but wait all night...and hope somebody ahead of me wimps out.
PS: Marilyn still not home. Hope she didn't have car trouble.
1:07 a.m. Woke up with the shifter pushing my spleen. Lower back went into spasms. Shook it off, got out my five iron and did a 30 minute "loosening" program.
1:48 a.m. First "loser" is discovered missing from car. Number 12 is "outa' here!" I'm up to #35! Still a long way to go!
2:04 a.m. Can't get back to sleep. Should I call Marilyn? Better not. Don't want to wake her. Also, don't want to hear her complain about Golf. Better to wait 'til I get home tomorrow afternoon!
3:36 a.m. Must have dozed off. Argument between some guy and Charlie. The guy was yelling that he hadn't left...he'd only gone to pee in the woods, but Charlie kept yelling: "If you had to pee, you shoulda' seen me!" Bottom line? #26 is history! I'm up to #34!
4:01 a.m. It's easy to forget how dark and cold it is at this time of the day. Only three more hours until I can get a tee time and plan the rest of the day. Have to take a little "walk"... better tell Charlie.
4:55 a.m. Two more wussies hit the road. Wasn't there, but heard that one got a call from his wife to "get home, or else!" What a witch! Up to #32.
5:45 a.m. Doubt that there'll be any more drop outs. Looks like #32 is where I'm doomed to stand in line. Just saw Hank pay some guy 50-bucks for a better number. Wish I hadn't lost that money putting!
6:00 a.m. Charlie's wife arrives -- blows her horn several times in the parking lot and wakes everybody up. Thanks a lot!
6:05 a.m. Line starts forming. Nothing better to do.
7:00 a.m. After the longest, chilliest hour of my life...line starts moving. My feet feel like concrete. Maybe it's because I've only had a couple hours sleep. Or, maybe it's because I've been wearing my Golf shoes for more than 12 hours straight!
7:45 a.m. Just got my tee time. 12:38 p.m. Could have been worse. Several guys ahead of me left when they couldn't get an earlier time! Called the guys first, to let them know. No answer at home. Better call the phone company and report a problem! Hope I can straighten my neck without pain before I tee it up!
Emotional and riveting as the Diary testimony was, Jules Weiner, Attorney for Elmer Pittswheel and Mickey Dogslaw, said his clients would be “irretrievably, even more emotionally damaged than they already are” if the rules were changed “because it would mean others would avoid the kind of trauma their lives had seen as a result of the long-standing, racking rules.
Judge Donson called a recess “that might last several months. Because, I have better things to do.”
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."