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If you’ve played golf as long as I have, you can look back at all the crazy things that happened on the course and laugh.
A dog darts out of the woods, grabs a ball off the green and disappears into the trees. A fabulously long drive rolls toward the pond and nestles against a sleeping gator.
My friend Bonnie once lay down a putter while she hit out of a bunker. When she picked it up, she didn’t realize it had been sitting on a fire ant hill. Because she had long sleeves on that day, those buggers silently crept up her gloved hand and arm until they reached her neck. Suddenly Bonnie was hopping all over the green, shrieking and swatting like a madwoman.
It wasn’t funny at the time, but now we look back and laugh.
When my son-in-law hit a 4-wood on the fairway, the head came off the shaft and sailed into a pond.
The game of golf is played by fallible human beings. It is played over a 5-mile track of turf, ponds, creeks, swamps, bridges, flower beds and cart paths. Add wind, rain, extreme heat, equipment malfunctions, assorted animals and insects and you’ve got a real hodgepodge of possibilities.
Here are some of my personal funniest golf stories.
Story I: For several years, Bonnie, Jackie, Jean and I played in a big cancer benefit in Myrtle Beach, S.C. It was always a captain’s choice (scramble) where everyone drives, the team selects the best drive, then everyone hits from that same spot. The drill is repeated until the team has holed out, always picking the best shot of the four and going from there.
The three other gals were long hitters and their shots were always 20 or 30 yards ahead of my feeble efforts. After 12 holes, my drive had not been used once. When we got to the 13th hole, I eyeballed the wide expanse of fairway in front of me, stepped up to the tee box and announced I was sick and tired of the team never using my drive.
“I am going to hit a monster drive on this hole,” I proclaimed. “You’ll see.”
My teammates nodded and hid their grins.
I can do it, I muttered to myself. I just need to swing harder.
I swung the club with all my might. The club passed over the ball with a mighty swoooossssh and the wind from it moved my ball off the tee about 4 inches.
I turned to look at my so-called friends who were standing there, grinning from ear to ear.
“I don’t think we’ll use that one,” Jean drawled in her thick Virginia accent.
Needless to say, the four of us still laugh about “Elsa’s best drive.”
Story 2: I was playing a blood-and-guts semifinal match in a trophy event against Kaye, my good friend and longtime bridge partner. We were evenly matched and I had a one-stroke lead when we came to the 15th hole, a long par 5 with three consecutive water hazards: a gulch, a creek and, finally, a pond in front of the green rimmed with large irregularly shaped granite rocks.
We stood on the hill before the final pond and the green. Kaye had chipped up to the pond and was lying three. I was there in two.
I hit a decent shot to the green and it settled about 40 feet from the pin.
Kaye skulled her shot straight down the hill toward the pond. I’m thinking (rather mean spiritedly), aha, this is it! She’ll be two down with three to go.
The ball hit a rock, sailed about 80 feet into the air, then landed softly onto the green, no more than 8 inches from the cup.
She tapped in and I three-putted. Kaye won the match.
Story 3: This happened in a charity event. This time the format was one best ball of four.
We played pretty good that day and were definitely in contention until we came to a long narrow par 4 with a thick high hedge all the way down the right side of the fairway. The wheels came off and we all struggled on that hole, hitting out-of-bounds shots and losing balls in the thick hedge. By the time we got near the green, everyone’s ball was in her pocket, but Mary Lou’s.
The poor thing was all alone, about 70 yards from the green, with the fortunes of the team resting on her shoulders. There was a swamp behind the green, but nothing directly in front.
Mary Lou took out a wedge and hit it thin. The line drive screamed toward the green and the swamp beyond like a heat-seeking missile. Suddenly, with a huge doinnnnnnng, it hit the flagstick and dropped straight down into the hole.
We won the tournament.
Story 4: Years ago, my husband’s cousin, Cathy, was a young married woman just learning to play golf. One Sunday afternoon, her mother-in-law invited her to play at the prestigious club, where the family had had a membership for several generations.
Cathy eagerly accepted and on that fateful day tried desperately to play well. She was doing just fine until the 14th hole, when she hit her ball into a very rough grassy area on the side of a hill next to the fairway. As she searched for her ball, Cathy stepped on a yellow jackets’ nest. In an instant, dozens of the stinging bees flew up the legs of her slacks.
Cathy started hollering and swatting at her legs as several nearby foursomes stopped what they were doing to watch.
Her mother-in-law, realizing what was happening, shouted, “Drop your drawers!”
Cathy did and as she ran around in circles, the yellow jackets flew away after only a few stings.
I’m sure that the members of that club still talk about the memorable Sunday afternoon when a pretty blonde woman danced around a hillside in her undies.
As you can see, golf can be a funny game. You won’t find stray dogs or fire ants at the bowling alley and there are only so many things that can happen to a tennis ball. The infinite possibilities are what makes golf the game of a lifetime.
In the interests of continuing this levity, I invite y’all to send me your own funny golf stories. If I get enough, I’ll do a column on them in the next few months.
Just send your true golf stories (include your name and phone number) to email@example.com.
GOLF GAB GROANER
A foursome of golfers wandered around in the deep rough searching for Adam’s ball. After poking around for several minutes, Adam reached down and pulled out a ball. “I found it,” he yelled to his group.
“Liar,” Bill yelled back. “I’ve got your ball in my pocket!”
ELSA BONSTEIN is a golf columnist for the Beacon. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.