Archive for Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Playing the yellow tees, practicing for retirement

July 26, 2000

Hamsters, in my narrow-minded way of seeing things, have always been cute, cuddly creatures.

I'd never want one occupying my house. After all, they're still rodents, not much different than their cousins, the rat or the mouse.

Where is this going? You ask.

What does any of this have to do with golf?

No, I haven't gone off the deep end and started a pet column, nor am saying all of this so that you'll run out and buy a Habitrail, which I consider second only to the dogless leash when it comes to pet-related inventions.

I bring up hamsters only because The Big Sigh did during our round of golf last week at Sunflower Hills Golf Course, the pride of Bonner Springs. Unbeknownst to us, we played from the senior citizen tees.

It was an honest mistake to start with.

The yellow tees were located right next to the white ones on the first tee box a little behind the white, in fact. On most golf courses, we play the white tees. So we chose yellow.

As our round progressed, we realized our tee boxes were a long way from the blue tees the tips. That meant we were shaving a whole bunch of yardage more than 1,400 yards off the 7,000 yards of real estate Sunflower boasts.

It was on the 128-yard, par-3 fifth hole that The Big Sigh blurted out the words, "Man, I feel like a hamster playing from these tees."

Not so much that we moved back, mind you.

But The Big Sigh had a guilty conscience.

The good news about it was that we were playing at 6 a.m. The previous week at Alvamar taught us a valuable lesson: Teeing off early in the afternoon will take its toll, particularly in the later rounds.

We wanted to beat the heat and what better way than to get to the golf course before the sun.

There were other people out there at that time. Of course, they were playing from the yellow tees because, yes, they were senior citizens.

Hey, I'm not proud.

Anything anyone wants to do as a means of cutting a few strokes off my score is greatly appreciated. As for The Big Sigh a.k.a., Mr. Golf, he was really torn. Keep in mind that he carries his U.S. Golf Association rulebook is his bag a fact that was officially confirmed during the editing process of this column and he believes he has a moral and ethical obligation to the game to play it correctly.

The guy just turned 31 last month. He's many years away from getting a call from the National Association of Retired People. Many years before he begins his new career as a golf course marshal.

But there he (we) was, playing the yellow tees.

We always talked about playing a round from the women's tees just to see how well we would score. We had heard that a player is ready for the PGA Tour if he can shoot four-straight par-or-better rounds from the women's tees, four straight sub-par-or-better rounds from the intermediate tees and four straight sub-par-or-better rounds from the tips.

We don't plan on trying out for the PGA Tour any time soon, but it was an interesting theory. And since you have to start from the women's tees, we figured we would play a round from there. Of course, we planned to invite a woman to play with us as a way of legitimizing it.

For the record, The Big Sigh might not be ready for the PGA Tour, but he is certainly ready for retirement. His round of 80 was impressive quite un-hamster like, it should be noted.

As for me, let's just say that my propensity for giving away strokes continues to plague my quest to become a bogey golfer.

On a day that I drove the ball poorly, chipped with the finesse of a three-legged dog in a hubcap factory and putted even more badly, my round of 97 was well-deserved.

Maybe I'm the hamster.

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