Golf Is Not A Sport

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by Mark A George

“They call it golf because all the other four letter words were taken.” — Raymond Floyd

Lester was minding his own business, drinking beer and playing Golden Tee video golf on the arcade machine at the Thirsty Turtle.  The Turtle was his favorite bar and Golden Tee was his game.  It was Saturday night and usually he’d be hanging out with Dean and Freddie, his real and video golf partners since high school.  But it was Dean’s weekend to look after the kids and Freddie was working a double.  That didn’t matter much.  Brundidge, Alabama is a small town and Lester knew everyone in the bar by their first name.

Which is why he was surprised when a voice he’d never heard, with an obviously non-Southern accent, came from behind.  “Ha! Golf is not a sport.”

You don’t grow up in rural Alabama without learning how to fight.  Lester had spent enough time in bars to recognize someone looking for trouble.  He turned slowly, ready to throw or dodge a punch.

His surprise grew when he realized the source of the insult was a short, pudgy, middle aged man.  At six foot three and 225 pounds, Lester towered over the stranger.  While a linebacker on his high school football team, he’d chased down and squashed much larger, stronger men than the one facing him.  He said, “Mister, you got some kind of problem?  I can probably fix it for you.”

The man grinned.  “Whoa, my friend.  I didn’t expect you to be the sensitive type.”

A woman standing next to him spoke.  “Come on Johnny, let’s get a beer and shoot some pool.”  She took him by the arm and they moved on. 

Lester stared at the couple.  He had a vision of Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny.  That’s how out of place they looked.  He thought, “If I don’t end up kicking his ass, someone else will.”  He turned back to the video game. 

After more beer, Lester made a trip to the men’s room.  On the way out, the stranger was at it again.  Holding a pool cue like a golf club, he swung it back and forth.  In a loud voice, he said, “Hey look everybody, Johnny is a professional golfer!”

That was enough for Lester.  The man was obviously trying to push his buttons.  There was no reason to wait any longer to find out why.  A few steps and the men were face to face.  “You either need to walk out of here on your own, or give me reason not to drag your unconscious body out by the feet.”

The grin reappeared on the man’s face.  “Friend, I promise I’m not trying to cause trouble.  I was just making a point.  Tell you what.  I’ll bet a hundred dollars I can beat you at golf.”

That cleared things up for Lester.  “So, you’re some big city hustler, and you think you can take money off of an unsuspecting rube by pissing him off?  That’s not going to work.  I’m leaning towards dragging you out by the feet.”

Johnny persisted.  “No, no, I don’t want your money.  How about this.  If you win, I give you a brand new hundred dollar bill.  If I win...”  He paused long enough to turn and point at the Golden Tee machine. “...you have to give up that video game for a week.”

Now he was confused.  Why did this clown care about Golden Tee?  After five Budweisers, Lester wasn’t in the mood for deep thinking.  A hundred dollars would pay his bar tab and buy a dozen Titleist Pro-V1 golf balls, his favorite brand.  “Alright, you got a deal.  How are we going to do this?”

“This is your town, you tell me.”

As usual, Lester’s golf clubs were in his pickup truck, in back of the Turtle.  An open field sprawled behind the parking lot.  Lester didn’t have any trouble convincing several of the regulars to line up their cars, headlights beaming across the grass.  A crowd gathered.  This was the most interesting thing that had happened at the Turtle in a while.

Lester grabbed a shovel and a rake from the truck’s bed and paced off 40 yards.  He dug a hole and buried the rake, tines pointing up.

He explained the rules.  “This is what you call a closest to the pin contest.  The object is to hit your ball closer to the rake than your opponent.  Whoever hits the best two out of three shots is the winner.”

He looked at Johnny.  “You can go first if you like.”

“Nah, why don’t you show me how this works.”

Lester pulled his pitching wedge from his golf bag, made a few practice swings, then lined up on the target.  As always, he emptied his mind.  His reflexes took over and a swing happened.  The ball flew in an expected arc.  After a bounce and some roll, it stopped ten feet to the left of the rake.  Not a great result, but outdoing it will require skill, or a lucky shot.

The crowd applauded.  He held the club out to Johnny.  “Your turn.”

Lester watched as Johnny took his practice swings.  Lester recognized good golf technique when he saw it, and he wasn’t seeing it.  Johnny’s shot didn’t look any better.  The ball skittered off to the right, nowhere near the rake.  A few people laughed.  Round one went to Lester.

While he was watching his opponent hit, Lester thought about his first shot and figured out why it missed to the left.  He adjusted his swing a bit and his second shot finished five feet from the rake.  Getting better.

He offered the club but Johnny waved it off.  “I don’t think that’s the right club for this shot.  Let me see what else you’ve got.”  He walked over to Lester’s golf bag and pulled out the three iron.  “Yeah, this is the club I’m looking for.”

Lester smirked but didn’t say anything.  The three iron is designed for long shots, Lester used it when he needed to hit the ball 200 yards.  No one would use it for this kind of shot.

However, the laws of physics control golf, and they don’t say you can’t hit a ball 40 yards with a three iron.  Because that’s what Johnny did.

“Had to be dumb luck,”  Lester thought, as he watched Johnny’s ball come to a halt just inside of his.  The audience made a surprised sound.

“Alright, we’re tied.  This one is for all the marbles.”  Lester swung.  It was his best shot so far.  The ball ended up three feet from the target.  The onlookers cheered.

Then things got strange.  Johnny said, “I still don’t think I’m using the best tool for the job.”  He spent a moment looking through the other clubs in the bag.  Then he turned to Lester’s truck and grabbed the shovel.  After a couple of swings he said, “This should work better than those flimsy golf clubs.”

Lester knew something was fishy, but before he thought of something to say, Johnny hit the ball.  It made a beeline for the rake, bounced off, and stopped just inches away.  The crowd gasped.  Johnny had won.

That was when Lester heard two men laughing.  Quite loud, and strangely familiar.  Laughter he usually heard on the golf course, after he’d missed an easy putt.  Dean and Freddie emerged from the shadows.

The men were laughing so hard they doubled over.  Freddie’s face turned red.  Dean tried to speak. “You’ve been...you’ve been...”  But he couldn’t finish the sentence.  Johnny took over.

“I think what Dean is trying to say is, ‘You’ve been had.’  Allow me to introduce myself.”  Johnny handed Lester a business card.

It read, “John J. Martin, Golf Trick Shot Artist Extraordinaire.”  The logo was a drawing of a man, swinging a shovel like it was a golf club.

“It just so happened that my niece married Dean’s brother.  We met at the wedding.  He came up with this crackpot scheme while we drained a few bottles of champagne.” 

Lester spoke.  “Okay, I get it.  But what’s the deal with not playing the video game?”

By then, Dean had recovered enough to talk.  “Johnny really got you flustered.  So much you’ve forgotten about the tournament next Friday night.”

Lester’s eyes got big.  Now it made sense.  The Turtle had an annual Golden Tee competition.  The winner got a $250 Amazon gift certificate.  He’d won the last two years.  He was stunned when he realized losing the bet meant he wouldn’t be able to play.

Again, Dean and Freddie burst into maniacal laughter.  When they calmed down, Freddie spoke.  “Aw, come on Lester, we were jerking your chain.  You can play in the tournament.  We did all this just to see the look on your face.  It was totally worth it.”

Lester woke up the next morning with a headache.  He sipped coffee while he ran last night’s events through his mind.  When the golf contest finished, everyone filtered back into the Turtle.  Johnny bought a round of drinks for the house.  By the time the bar closed, he and Lester were buddies.

After chowing down on scrambled eggs, Lester noticed Johnny’s business card next to his wallet.  He had an epiphany.  On the way out of the house, he threw a few items in the back of his truck.  Then drove to the golf course.

The driving range is where golfers warm up and work on their swing.  As usual, Lester put a $5 token in the machine and a basket of balls tumbled out.  He walked to his favorite spot near the end of the practice tee.  Just like he’d done for years.  Today, however, was a bit different.  This was the first time Lester had ever hit golf balls with a shovel, a tennis racket, a sledgehammer, and a two by four.

Because for some people, golf is not a sport.  It’s a journey. 


Submitted: April 03, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Criss Sole

Lester's got some pretty interesting friends. Certainly sounded like a fun evening that opened up a door to new possibilities.
I was worried for a second there that he lost the bet and would not be able to enter the tournament.
I read this and found a funny video on youtube where the golfers were using different objects like a hammer and a frying pan to shoot the golf ball.
That would be fun! Spices up the game a little hehehe.
Great story!
Glad Lester had fun and made a new friend.

Sat, April 3rd, 2021 2:36pm

Author
Reply

You can hit a golf ball a long way with a tennis racket. Along with shooting off model rockets, not a good idea around other people's houses. Thanks for reading.

Sat, April 3rd, 2021 7:45am

D. Thurmond aka JEF

A Great ending to a fun short story. --- The bar sounded very familiar too, almost Twilight Zone familiar, but they had a "Pong Game."

Sat, April 3rd, 2021 6:14pm

Author
Reply

Hehehe. The Thirsty Turtle is a real bar, complete with a Golden Tee game. But it's not in Brundidge, I've never been there. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sat, April 3rd, 2021 12:11pm

Mark A George

Serge, I loved it! Great story.

Wed, April 14th, 2021 10:45pm

Author
Reply

Thanks Mark, I appreciate the read and the comment.

Thu, April 15th, 2021 5:09am

Sharief Hendricks

Hahaha, good one Serge !

I just love your golf stories.

I enjoy a couple of trick shots I have mastered too, I just don't enjoy the scars they left behind LOL !!

Loved it !

Wed, May 5th, 2021 3:07pm

Author
Reply

Thanks! In another week or so the rainy part of spring will be over and I'm heading to the driving range. Maybe I'll find inspiration for the next story.

Wed, May 5th, 2021 10:39am

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