One needn’t be a golf addict to appreciate the flukes awaiting the perpetual-novice.
These freaky foibles can be your friend, or like the priest in Caddyshack, make you growl, “There is no God!” Personally, I have never had a lucky bounce.
Lincoln Reese witnessed my excellent second shot on a clear trajectory to the green when the flight was canceled by a tree on the edge of the fairway that grabbed my ball, never releasing it back to earth. That was a month ago and to my knowledge, that Slazenger remains nestled in those branches to this day.
Conversely, nephew Jay has such uncanny, fortuitous luck, I and other wagering combatants wonder if a misguided angel has his back. Ah, but under Trump, the rich keep getting richer and the poor, poorer.
Last week’s incredible stroke of luck you’re about to hear defies human logic. Aiming to reclaim my money on the back nine, I chipped nicely onto green No. 10. Quite the opposite, Jay blasted a short chip far over the green at a speed and trajectory guaranteed to take him into the penalty-hungry canal.
As the ball rose like a 747 leaving LAX and the day’s first breeze playfully toyed with the pin’s flag, his errant shot vanished. As Sam Holm is my witness, that flapping flag sucked in his ball, lovingly furled around and hugged it for a few seconds, before dropping it straight down, inches from the hole.
Then there was the hidden, out-of-bounds rock on No. 12 that rejected his penalty stroke and spit his ball out onto the middle of the fairway. And don’t get me started on the series of astonishing flukes on No. 17 that turned my sure par into a double-bogey. Still, it was the flag-kidnapping that in the end shoved the one-stroke loss in my face.
Now indulge me as I revisit a disturbing episode on No. 9 many years ago that prompted a letter-to-the-editor days later. I only rehash because I recently learned the name of the second perp in this nearly-criminal practical joke, and he just happens to be one of Cody’s finest.
Already agitated from previous holes, I cursed my drive sailing far, but wide right. Flirting with out-of-bounds, I was relieved to find my ball in the patchy grass, but safely in-bounds. During a textbook, perfect backswing, I saw my ball actually move inches on its own. Fearing some kind of poltergeist activity, I screamed across to Jay, who had his own problems on the opposite side of the fairway.
It happened again on my second swing attempt and I finally noticed the fishing line tied to the ball and realized some prankster inside a house window had found a witless victim. I wrote a letter saying in part, “Whoever you are, maybe it wouldn’t have been so funny had I had a heart attack or soiled myself.”
It was years later that Loren Grosskopf revealed it was his son Todd and a buddy who had rigged this atrocity, and only a month ago when he released the name of the accomplice. Officer John Harris, there is no statute of limitations on outrage!