12: Sunday Drivers

12: Sunday Drivers

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Golf and Sport

Sunday Drivers

Golf combines two favorite American pastimes: taking long walks and hitting things with a stick.

~P.J. O’Rourke

We have to make a lot of choices in life. Do I want the Big Mac or the Whopper for lunch? Will I sit in the recliner or lay on the couch to watch the game? Should I get up at 6 A.M. on Sunday morning and head off to the golf course for our weekly Duffer Tournament, or should I put on my Amazon outfit and finally mow the lawn enough so that we can see out the windows again?

As luck would have it, the mower was somewhere in the yard, and even after a full two-minute search I couldn’t find it. I took this as a sign. I was sure my wife would agree, but being a gentleman, I didn’t wake her to ask.

The sun was already coming up when I arrived at the golf course, so by the time I parked and rummaged through the trunk until I found both golf shoes and a pair of socks that weren’t too stiff, the West Coast Duffers were already at the 1st tee, choosing up. Twelve guys and serious bragging rights on the line. The conversation went something like this....

Skip: “Okay. Me and John take on Jim and Pete; Rich and Willie, you’re up against Vern and Tommy; Ernie, you and Joe-Joe play Bobby and Big Mike. We’re giving two strokes on the front nine, even on the back.”

Big Mike: “I don’t wanna be with Bobby. He has gas.”

Bobby: “I told you that was a medical thing.”

Rich: “Since when has frijoles been a disease?”

I rummaged through my bag and found two golf balls, both dented and covered with tree marks. “Anyone got any extra balata balls?” I asked.

Jim: “What? The squirrels ain’t happy with your range balls anymore?”

“I think I sliced all my range balls right back into the range the last time we played.” I searched the bag again.

Joe-Joe: “I think it should be me and Big Mike. We haven’t played together since July.”

Big Mike: “That’s okay with me, but my back’s out a little, so I’ll need to shoot from the white tees for it to be fair.”

Jim: “Yeah, right. And what about my wrist? I’ve got carpal tunnel syndrome.”

John: “The way you were tossing ‘em back last night, it’s a wonder you ain’t got carpal head syndrome.”

Tommy: “How ‘bout Pete and me?”

Pete: “No way, Tommy. Ever since you got that Pennzoil cap, you’re a psycho with a golf cart.”

Tommy: “Well, if you could hit the ball in the same direction twice in a row, we could drive slower and still finish before the moon comes out.”

Luckily I found a few balls. I also found half a Snickers bar stuck to my divot tool. “Anyone got any extra tees?” I asked, gnawing on the Snickers. Big Mike threw me half a dozen of his wife’s pink tees. They matched my left sock perfectly.

Skip: “Pete, how ‘bout you and Vern?”

Pete: “Okay, but Vern’s a lefty, and this is a righties’ course, so we’ll need a couple of strokes.”

Vern: “Sounds fair to me. We’ll take on Skip and Ernie.”

John: “I thought I was with Skip.”

Big Mike: “You’ve been really hot lately, John, you gotta be with Rich.”

Rich: “What’s that supposed to mean, you shanker? Your handicap is higher than your annual salary.”

Skip: “Willie, you and Jim?”

Willie: “I guess so, but no eating in the cart, Jim. The last time, it took me ten minutes to get all the french fries out of my spikes.”

Skip: “So. We got John and Rich. You guys are with me and Ernie. That leaves Jim and Willie up with Joe-Joe and Big Mike, and Pete and Vern with Bobby and Tommy. Any other problems?”

“I need a ball marker,” I said. Ten ball markers hit me in the head.

Pete: “We got a right-hander’s wind going today, too. Vern’s gonna need a stroke or two for that.”

Tommy: “Why doesn’t the poor guy just have an operation and become a normal player?”

Vern: “I’ll show you who’s normal, Buddy. Let’s make the odds straight up.”

Pete: “Oh, swell. Who do I make the check out to?”

Jim: “Make a check out to Ernie so he can afford to buy his own stuff next week.”

“Hey, you guys. It’s not my fault. This isn’t my regular bag,” I said defensively.

Willie: “No kidding. You borrowed it from me three months ago.”

“Oh yeah. I think mine is in the yard somewhere near the mower.”

The loudspeaker announced that we were up on the 1st tee.

Skip: “Okay, then we’re all set. Now... who’s gonna go first?”

An awkward pause ensued as we all looked at each other.

Tommy: “I’m not going first. It’s bad luck.”

Willie: “I went first last week.”

Vern: “Lefties should never go first.”

Rich: “I call last.”

Jim: “I already called it.”

Rich: “No, you didn’t.”

Jim: “Did too.”

Rich: “Did not.”

Next week. The lawn. I promise.

~Ernie Witham
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul, The 2nd Round

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