“Listen, Lewis,” I said, “to hell with it. Let’s go back and play golf."
—Deliverance, by James Dickey
The ancient history of Georgia was scrutinized today in first person. I played in the school’s annual golf tournament fund raiser with some particular Georgians: my father, my Uncle Jinks, and my Great Uncle Modean whose combined ages are a real big number.
We played at a real fancy private golf club and I’m pleased to report my ancestors were not wearing coach’s shorts and wife beaters. They looked real nice, but every golf garment they were wearing had at least ninety-two logos on it representing some golf company or golf product or golf tournament or golf charity event or national golf association. Then there were the mustard stains and ear hair scenarios.
After eating chicken biscuits with extra mustard, we went over to the practice putting green where there was a putting contest. It made sense that the woman running the putting contest is also the lady up the hill in the school’s main office who also tests students and prospective students. She's what's called a psychometrist. She was standing there with a clipboard. I asked her if this is where you come to embarrass yourself.
I bumped into the school’s athletic director. He was playing in the golf tournament, too. I said a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day at work. He laughed real loud.
I told him that wasn’t original material, and he said it doesn’t matter because it’s true. The school's headmaster was standing right behind him.
On one hole, Great Uncle Modean hit a tee shot where he swung very furiously and imparted a tremendous amount of the undesirable kind of spin on the ball, and the ball, after being struck in this manner, instantly dug a small ditch in the tee box and then the ball bounded down the front of the tee box and into some tall wet grass. After this undesireable result, Great Uncle Modean said he wasn’t going to be any good for the rest of the day. Then he thumped toward his golf cart and I believe he said a cuss word. He didn’t even pick up his tee and he's usually real Irish. This was just the seventh hole we played. There were eleven more holes to go. Golf sure is a game that examines your emotions.
On another hole, Uncle Jinks putted his golf ball and it didn’t travel near the cup one bit.
Great Uncle Modean asked Uncle Jinks if he had shoved it.
Uncle Jinks said he shoved it.
These are the conversations of men who golf with each other have with each other. If any women wonder what men who golf with each other do for eight hours on the golf course then this is pretty much it.
On another hole, Great Uncle Modean finally hit a nice shot, which seemed to uplift him. He handed out cigars.
On another hole, Uncle Jinks swung his club in such a way where he ended up hitting his ball in another such way where he said a moment later that he might really have a mental problem when it comes to hitting delicate flop shots.
I was standing there watching and I told Uncle Jinks that after watching the situation unfold that I firmly believed he did indeed have a mental problem when it comes to hitting delicate flop shots, and that the successful hitting of delicate flop shots, by the way, could be achieved by practicing the shot in your free time at the two nice country clubs you belong to in your retirement.
Uncle Jinks said he practiced flop shots all the time.
That was another type of conversation men who golf with each other have with each other.
On another hole, we rode up to a tee box and had to wait on the group in front of us to tee off. I was sitting in my golf cart behind my father and Great Uncle Modean. I heard Great Uncle Modean ask my father, loudly, because my father is a bit hard of hearing … HOW’S YER MEM-REE DOIN?
Well, welcome to the modern times of old men. I walked up there and inserted myself into their conversation and found out that Great Uncle Modean said he was talking about computers. The other day he had to put his in the repair shop, he said, and he gets worried about other people’s computers now in his old age.
On the last hole, it started to rain so we putted our golf balls fairly near the cup real quick and went inside the fancy clubhouse and grabbed some food off of a buffet and sat down and talked to each other with food in our mouths.
Men chasing little plastic balls across fields of green grass in electric-powered buggies with balloon tires.
Riveting, isn’t it?