Archive for Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Ball-grabbing trees grow everywhere

August 2, 2000

Another week, another golf excuse.

Keep reading. By the time we're done with this summerlong series, we'll have every excuse know to man - excuses suitable for everyday consumption by everyone - for why what should have been a good round of golf could turn so dreadfully wrong.

Dreadful. How apt. Our weekly tour took us to Kansas City, Kan., home to Dub's Dread. Its rich heritage was something to behold, but those blasted trees were not.

They're everywhere.

Big, nasty, ball-grabbing trees.

It's nothing new for me. Heck, I freely admit my propensity for being a hack, but I was beginning to fear the sanity of my partner, "The Big Sigh," who spent at much time in the shade as I did.

This is a guy who was coming off a 76 at Overland Park Golf Club. He was feeling pretty good about his game, but by the end of our round at Dub's, I believe if Dan would have had a chainsaw, a hatchet or even a Bowie knife, one of those trees would have been felled in vengeful redemption.

When Dan teed off, there were usually three sounds that immediately ensued:

Swoooosh (club hitting ball). Plunk (ball hitting tree). #&%&#! (The Big Sigh voicing his opinion).

Little did I realize we would start our round on the 14th hole because of a tournament that was kicking off. That wasn't too big a hassle. We played the last five holes of the course in pretty good time.

Heck, Dan and I even birdied the 444-yard, par-4 14th hole. His was a little more conventional: A tee shot down the middle, a nice approach shot to within five feet of the hole and a short putt. Mine was a tee shot, an approach into the fringe and a 40-foot chip that somehow rolled in.

As my golf game began to disintegrate, my clothes got wetter and wetter.

Worse yet was word from the marshals that the remainder of our round would be played with the carts on the path.

In other words, when you hit to the other side of the fairway, you brought with you two or three clubs you might use.

We teed off from the sixth 30 minutes later. The Big Sigh had time to head back to the clubhouse and eat a hot dog, while I took a pitstop. That was the way it was the rest of the tournament. Play a hole, wait 20 to 30 minutes to tee off again and try to regain any semblance of rhythm.

It took us nearly two hours to play the last seven holes.

After playing the ninth hole, we went back to the clubhouse. Dan hoped to catch a few holes of the British Open only to find that the gal behind the counter at the concessions stand had her heart set on viewing "The Price is Right."

Instead, we went to the 10th hole tee box, which rests next to driving range, and found a stray bucket of balls on the range. So we hit balls and waited and waited. One might think the time on the range would have helped. Nope. It hurt. I hit about 10 balls, all of them more putridly than the previous ball. I left the range with my confidence in tatters.

And then my game turned around and I never hit a bad ball the rest of the round. I had a par on the 11th and then teed off on the elevated 12th fairway and won a buck from The Big Sigh by putting my drive past the marker in the middle of the fairway.

The marker was from the tournament in front of us and I have to tell you, if I would have been entered, I would have won a prize for longest drive. Forget that my longest drive cleared the longest drive by a woman, it was still a milestone, a building block and that's what this game is all about.

Building on the positives.

That, and coming up with excuses to compensate for the negatives.

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