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Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Where To Begin


Oh, I know where to begin. That's not the problem. The problem is finishing it -- can you finish a blog?

Mr. Science & I met here in Scottsdale, last year. We both moved here from out-of-state to work at the same company; he, from Connecticut; me, from Texas.

We both love Golf, we love it so much that we capitalize Golf when we say Golf. We both were members of Golf Clubs, back home, and we agree that it is an amazing coincidence that we both were members of the best Golf Club in the country.

Mr. Science plays to a 10, and I play to a 22 (I always point out that the slope at my course in Texas was 143, so that 22 "might" be as low as a 13 anywhere else -- matter of fact, I spent a few years up in Dallas awhile back, and if I didn't shoot 85 on those wide-open pasture-pool-tables they call courses up there, I'd get upset, even tho' I was going thru a rough patch with my woods then and only hit a 1-iron off the tee. Now you gotta realize I'm only teasing about those DFW courses: there are many that I admired, just none that I loved the way I loved Walden on Lake Conroe http://http://people.txucom.net/dbadave/spelvin/poems/walden_on_lake_conroe.htm
-- but that's all in the past: Don't Look Back, Don't Look Back!)

Mr. Science once admitted that he would miss his course back East, but that was all he would ever say, and just that once. He swallowed hard, twice, then went away over to the other end of the practice range to hit his bucket of balls. I remember I tho't it was odd at the time . . .

Mr. Science and I both were devoted to a club for quite awhile, now that we are free, we feel just a little frisky, and no longer willing to commit to the obligations of club membership, the monthly tournaments, the committees, the social affairs, etc, and we don't want to be faithful to just one club anymore -- a membership eats up your whole golf-budget, if you know what I mean?

In my own case, my wife said she figured her budget was the same as my golf budget, and I had to agree it was only fair, but the cold-blooded part came when she was looking over my golf bag in the garage. "What?" I asked.

"Don't you think you need some more metal woods?" she asked coyly, but I saw right thru that ruse: I'm still using the same set of clubs, plus-or-minus a couple of shafts, as I was using 6 years ago!

Mr. Science had a vision -- he's great with the vision thing, sorta like Lord Nelson, if you know what I mean: A Quest: to play all 215 Phoenix Area courses. He did the arithmetic in his head in a nanosecond: "It'll only take 2 years: 2-a-weekend, and we'll make up the rest on holidays!"

This was last summer. Both our first summers here. I'm from Texas, where I could walk around in 100 degree heat with 100% humidity for 18 holes, and they all ride carts here most everywhere, cuz only the most reckless young flatbelly could walk 18 out here on a summer mid-day, so I didn't think I'd have any problem, and I wasn't worried that Mr. Science would make any mistake, but there is no doubt about it: it is HOT here in the summer.

All this would make it difficult to get up a regular foursome: we had an appetite for strange & new courses, we wanted to play for reasonable rates (so we would play later), and we wanted to play twice a weekend. Plus Mr. Science and I both have a rather Calvinistic View on Golf, a conservative, old-school philosophy that frowns on some of the liberties taken of late from the Rules of Golf: Egregious mulligans, long gimme putts, lax execution of the free-drop procedure, teeing of the ball in the fairway. That might put some people off, too.

We started out on our quest. We settled into a routine: Golf as early and cheap as we could, retire back to Mr. Science's secret lair for enough soaking in the pool to re-regulate our body temperature, a couple of beers just to restore our hydro-equilibrium , then dozily watch the last of the Golf on TV on his superscreen.

Then his Scottish discipline kicked back in, and he ordered, "We've got to get going on our production! We have to play twice this weekend!"

I said, "You Betcha."

Saturday we scheduled the TPC course, where the pros play. It seemed like an uneventful round, tho' I remember not playing well, and we were paired with a young couple. I've played with a lot of different couples over the years, as a single, and by-and-large, the woman could out-score the man. Just my personal observation. This was not one of those cases. But they were very amiable.

We got around to the 17th, the famous short par-4 where all the rowdies hang out. Mr. Science was really looking forward to the hole, and was telling me the history of the hole as we drove up to the tee.

We both wanted to play safe and strategically, so naturally we got banana hooks into the church-pews bunker, instead. We got out and onto the green, and Mr. Science was measuring his par-putt when it felt like a mortar round had gone among us. The group behind us on the tee had driven into us: a ball had bounced in the middle of our group, bounced off Mr. Science's shoulder, came to rest about 8 feet from the hole.

Well, I was about faint, but I always been a little shaky that way, but Mr. Science merely staggered fom the glancing blow, righted himself, then pounced on the ball and poloed it out into the water hazard next to the green. His face was purple, but dispatching the ball had given him his humor back. I congratulated him on his alacrity, and he made his par putt.

As we walked back to the carts, a young flatbelly jumped out of a cart and blithely said, "Sorry about that."

"Oh, that's all right!" said the young woman with us. I will merely observe that it was not her place to speak.

"Hey, where's my ball?" growled the young flatbelly.

We had avoided talking or looking at him as we passed from green to cart, but now we just jerked our heads toward the water and kept walking.

"Well, you didn't have to be a dick about it!" snarled the young flatbelly.

"Drop Dead!" we said. He wasn't going to do anything about it. He knew he was wrong.

I remember getting my par, a sandy on # 18, but I think Mr. Science had a lip-out bogey, after all that. Pretty good composure for him; excellent, for me. . . but then I cope well with adversity, it's just prosperity that throws me off. Like the time I got a hole-in-one.

We went to Mr. Science's Secret Lair, cooled off, rehydrated, dozed some Golf, and met the next day at the Sanctuary. For this round we actually had a 4some, so we were looking forward to playing with people we knew.

Mr. Science & I both were unadmittedly a little shakey from the previous day, so we got off the tee on the 1st hole very conservatively, in the middle of the short, downhill fairway.

The last guy up is a little rushed, I think they were late arriving or something, so he had no warm-up, but the long-and-the-short-of-it was that he hit the nastiest low, vicious, smothered pull-snap-hook I've ever seen. It looked like the video of a tomahawk missle correcting course in mid-air, and when shattered a large picture window, it sounded like a missle had hit its target. When the irate homeowner ran out in his silver speedo, mouthing excited imprecations, Mr. Science and I, just pointed to the other cart and went on down to our balls.

While we sat in our cart waiting and watching the 4some in front on the green putting out, I said to Mr. Science, "I think Golf in Arizona is going to be too violent for me."

Mr. Science applied his Famous Rational Thought to the situation and said, " Well, Cactus, I guess we'll just have to break into the beer a few holes early today."

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