My once a month golf league round started off with some bad news. As I stood at the back of the golf cart getting ready to pull a few clubs to take with me to the driving range, I find out my 8 iron is missing. I checked, double checked, then succumb to the realization it was gone.
Before giving up completely, I called Paw-in-law to see if maybe it had been put in his bag from the recent round we had played. He was on his way over to the course and would check when he got to the parking lot. Then I remembered using it after that round. So I called two of the three guys (did not have the number for the third) I had played golf with just two days ago. "Sorry I do not have it." I called the course we had played. "Sorry I do not see it. Keeping trying though they may turn it in later."
A few deep breaths, a few range balls, a few putts later and I was on the first tee. I hit a good drive. I needed to lay up on this par five hole. I use my range finder to see how far it is to the corner. "148 yards" Usually my 8 iron. I hit a hard 9 iron. My third shot to the par 5 also calls for "146 yards". I hit a soft 7 iron. The ball goes about 30 feet past the hole. I put the putt about 3 feet past the cup. My par putt does what we call "a lip out". A lip out is when the ball dips in the cup where the entire golf ball is in the hole but the centrifugal force carries the ball around the cup and slings it out from where it entered. This usually is followed by the golfer shouting, "You have got to be kidding me!"
The next hole is not much better. I kid you not the range finder shows "146 yards". I make a double bogey. The third hole I have another lip out. The fourth hole another lip out. The guys in my group are looking at me with their mouths open, but they do not say a word. The fifth hole, a 167 yard par 3, my tee shot is right on target. I raise up from picking my tee to see the ball hit the rake that has been left just short of the green and ricochet backwards into the sand trap. This is where it hits me. I start explaining to my group that about a week ago I played golf after work. "I was striking the golf ball better than I had in years. The next day at work I tell my buddy CP, 'I got it figured out' (referring to my golf swing). Since that day and including today, I have not played well."
Today's mishap's must be the golf god's showing me who is in charge. I bogey number 7. Needed my 8-iron again on 8. At this point, I am thinking about leaving the course after 9 holes. I birdied number 9. The guy riding with me says "Maybe the golf gods have finally let you off the hook." Hole 10 I use a 3 metal-wood off the tee. I make a good swing and even hold the pose for a extra second or two. Then..."CLANK!" my tee shot hits the steel 150 yard marker in the middle of the fairway and ricochets to the nearby driving range. At this point I am no longer angry; I am entertained. What else is going to happen? Finished 10 with a triple bogey. My tee shot at the par 5 11th hits an unseen to the naked eye tree limb and drops straight down about 100 yards from the tee. Walk off 11 with a bogey. Birdied 12, "Maybe NOW the golf gods have had their fun." Parred 13.
I crack open a Kashi trail mix bar my wife had told me would make a really good snack while on the course. Although I needed my 8-iron on 14 I used my 9 and made a par. On 15 tee I feel a sharp pain in my stomach. On the 15th green the Kashi bar has stirred up some trouble. "Guys I need to step into the men's room." Thank the Lord the bathroom station was on the way to the 16th tee box. I have played golf for more than 20 years and have never had to stop during a round of golf to take care of business.
My tee shot on 16 stops about a foot from a protective guard rail on the left side of the fairway. My second shot that I was trying to thread between two tree limbs, hits the higher one and dives straight down behind the guard rail out of bounds. Triple bogey 16. Par 17. On 18 I am thinking about my wife and the Kashi bar she said would be a good snack. I quickly concluded "Kashi" must be Japanese for "8 minute turbo laxative". My tee ball again finds an unseen limb. My second shot finds the left bunker (the hole is on the far right of the green). I blast out of the bunker and make a 15 footer for par. In relief I shout, "It is finally over!"
We total the scores. I shot 88. I had a flash of 8. As I reflected on the events of the day I figured with the lack of an 8 iron, the lip outs, the bounce off the 150 yard marker, the out of bounds penalty would all add up to about 8 extra strokes. The Kashi incident could even be seen as an 8; number 2 on 16 (16 divided by 2 = 8). I thought the 88 was a sign the golf god's were letting me off the hook.
I tell my buddies, "Nobody will ever hear the words 'I have got it figured out' come out of my mouth again. Losing a golf club is like losing your dog."
About three hours after I get home from the course CP calls and says "I was calling to give you Big Daves phone number, but guess what I found in my golf bag?" I excitedly ask "For real?!" CP says, "Why do I have two 8 irons? I can't use two 8 irons."