Archive for Thursday, June 22, 2000

I swear: it was still a fun round of golf

June 22, 2000

Every golfer knows the feeling of a miss-hit after a big drive. You crank one down the fairway on a short par five and know you can reach it in two.

Next thing you know, after waiting for a threesome to get off the green, you chunk a three wood and in frustration, blow a wedge over the green. Now, instead of an easy tap-in birdie, you're struggling to even make par.

What comes out of your mouth? Godbless America? Maybe, if you're Kate Smith. Godwhy do you punish me? For some, who have issues with the big man on their lot in life. For most of us, it's something a little worse. Take my advice: find out the line of work your playing partner is in before you let anything worse get out of your mouth.

Pat was hacking away in Hawaii and I needed fodder for this column. As noted in this space last week, a better player can be made worse by playing with a hack. So to shed myself of Pat "The Jinx" Sangimino, I asked someone who could push me a little, without destroying my saving thoughts like the hack can.

This week's round was an enjoyable match with Matt Fisher, a friend of mine who is the sales and marketing adviser at The University Daily Kansan in Lawrence.

Matt and I dueled to a draw after nine and the battle was joined on the back nine. Literally. We joined a nice couple of fellows, Jim and John, for the back nine. Both were good sticks, shooting a 39 and 41 on the front, I discovered. Matt and I were satisfied with 43s even though we both played better than we scored.

On the 11th hole, we got to know our new partners a little better, and unfortunately, they got to know us a little better as well. As any golfer knows, one bad shot is annoying. Two bad shots in a row are aggravating. Three, in most circles, is obscene. Which leads to my original piece of advice: when you're playing with strangers, you might want to know if one's a minister, mister. Jim was gracious enough to let us know before we dug ourselves too deep a hole with our playing partner and the big man upstairs.

Which brings me to my second lesson on the course: even after you find out what one playing partner does for a living, it helps to ask what the other one does. It took until the 15th hole to find out the Jim we were playing with was Jim x, owner of Taco Via, a faithful advertiser. If I'd have known that, I would have complimented his shots more, given him anything on the green and personally tracked down his beverage of choice.

John and Jim couldn't have been any nicer, and more patient with their inconsistent partners. Case in point: Matt followed a birdie three with a triple six. I supported a 290 yard drive with a 72 yard chunk sand wedge.

Matt and I fought to the end, only to go home with no blood, both shooting 87. I don't know what John and Jim shot, but I'll certainly try to go to church this weekend and go to Taco Via for lunch.

Next week, the hack is back, maybe with a bottle of magic sand from the shores of Kauai. I'll be sure to help him control his tongue, though a hack usually doesn't get mad enough to invoke the Lord's name after any amount of bad shots in a row.

As for Mr. Fisher, I enjoyed the round. See ya at Taco Via. We'll leave the spiciness to the food.'S

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