Outdoors

First Golf Outing of the Season

Lurching from one near disaster to another...

Since the middle of December, everyone I know has been looking for deep, untracked powder snow. Now in the late spring, many of the same friends are looking for short green grass with a small hole 300 or 400 yards away. For some dumb reason the object is to put that little white ball at your feet into that very small hole by hitting it as few times as possible.

I recently lifted my golf bag out from under the outboard motor that was leaning against it. The bag full of clubs and stuff was right where I left it last November. As I started to move the bag, a mouse escaped and scurried across the garage floor.

Now the mistakes of migrating from our island home to our Montana home are surfacing as the seasons once again change.

When I dug out my new golf shoes is when the first real dumb mistake showed up. I had stuffed my wet socks in my shoes from the last round of golf I played during the heavy rainstorm in November. Running late I stopped by to pick up my occasional golf partner, Ole.

Ole lives down in the hollow because his grandfather used to have a hog farm and Ole inherited it when his grandpa died while he was in college. Ole immediately quit studying computer science and took up hog farming and golf. Ole makes the rounds of all of the restaurants on the island after they close for the night and collects leftover food to help feed his hogs. This last winter was long and cold with very few tourists so his hogs are pretty skinny this spring.

Ole is a good golfer and has eyes like a hawk. He keeps his eagle eyes on where I hit my ball because my eyes are getting bad. He is a little hard of hearing so when I find his ball for him I have to use arm signals to let him know where it is. We definitely are the odd couple of the local golf course.

On this first golf outing of the season, the cloud that had been hovering on nearby Turtleback Mountain suddenly dumped rain on us and we drove the golf cart at maximum speed towards the clubhouse. In our haste Ole drove us through a puddle of rainwater that came up over the floorboards of the golf cart and we were stuck. Since he had the goulashes with the golf cleats on them he became the designated golf cart pusher until we somehow got to higher ground. But we could not get it up the hill and back to the clubhouse so we left the cart.

The man who was running the golf course that day had forgotten we were on the course and had closed up and left for home to watch an NBA playoff game. There was barely enough shelter on the small porch for Ole and me to shake some of the water off our bodies before we headed for the car.

Ole was able to make the most of the day because he had suggested we take his truck to the golf course instead of my wife’s new station wagon. We stopped by a couple of his restaurants that were having wedding receptions and he was able to get several buckets of leftover food for his hogs.

On the wet drive home I rationalized that the first game of golf in the spring is the same as the first day of skiing in the fall when you know that two inches of snow will not cover all of the rocks.

The dumb things we do while we search for freedom. Freedom is why I don’t keep score when I play golf because it is called a game, you know.