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Free Golf

By Tim All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Humor

Blurb

A hilarious story about a golf course, those that run it, play it, and inhabit it. These characters will resonate with every golfer as frustration and fun intermingle. Free Golf, chronicles the events of one summer at White Lake Golf Course with one golf pro chasing women, one running from the woman he has, and a staff of retirees who are more interested in free golf than working. There's an eccentric range ball picker, colorful customers and of course the resident alligator. Whether it's paratroopers invading, a golf shoe heist, a fist fight over slow play, speed golfing women, international tourists, or aggressive deer; there is never a dull moment at White Lake Golf Course. A series of mad-capped night golf and gambling events keep the fun going after the sun goes down. However, an investigation into a corrupt county official's water bottle scheme brings an unwelcome spotlight to some less than authorized activities.

Chapter 1: Baseball Caps and Bad Golf

The sun was about to rise over the hills as the dew withdrew from the first tee. The dark sky was ready to fade away, leaving us with a beautiful spring day. All hell was about to break loose. This was my favorite part of the day, the moments just before dawn. It was my last chance for peace before the rising sun would bring the morning’s first golfers. Unfortunately, I had to get to work just 4 hours after the bars closed to enjoy much of it. I didn’t always make it to work that early, but it was well worth it when I did.

The golf course had healed slightly from the previous day’s beating. The dew glistened in the morning’s first light. The chirping of a few early risers could be heard and the fading gray moon had not yet retreated. I was sitting on the last golf cart that I had driven out of the barn and parked in a line outside the clubhouse. I leaned back with my left leg casually sticking out of the cart and my foot on the ground. I faced away from the clubhouse gazing out onto the course. With my right hand resting on the steering wheel, I held a bottle of Mountain Dew in my left hand.

John, one of our assistant golf professionals was inside getting the pro shop ready. I had the carts and the starter’s table set-up and ready to go. After a few moments of tranquility, I heard the door of the clubhouse open. I turned to my right spotting John coming through the door. Then, I noticed cars turning into the golf course driveway. The headlights were getting closer and closer. My beautiful, quiet, empty golf course was about to be invaded. The wonderful public. The public who park their carts six inches from our greens. The public who fail to replace their divots in our fairways or repair their ball marks on our greens. The ritual unleashing of the animals was about to begin.

John was approaching me with a big grin on his face. I was afraid that he might have bad news. Maybe, Mark, our other assistant pro who was supposed to be the morning starter had called in sick. Then, I would have to deal with the tee.

I pulled myself out of the cart and sipped my modern coffee. John was still smiling when he arrived. John was tall and intimidating. He stood about six feet three inches. He had wavy brown hair and a young-looking face. He was one of the strongest players in town, but he was a country boy at heart.

“Guess who’s going to be late?” he asked me.

“Well, I hope he’s bringing us breakfast,” I replied acknowledging that I knew he was indeed referring to Mark.

“Yeah, he said he’d hit the McDonald’s drive-thru for us,” John replied.

“I’m just glad he’s coming in,” I commented. “I don’t want to be stuck out here all day.”

We both turned toward the parking lot as we heard the first cars parking. The sound of doors and trunks opening and closing accompanied the image of modern day soldiers preparing for battle. They scurried about, putting on their golf shoes and arranging clubs in their bags.

“Brian, it looks like we have some hungry golfers today,” said John.

“Yeah, you’d think we were giving away something,” I replied.

“We’re giving away freedom,” said John. “It’s the frustration we charge for.”

“Sounds reasonable,” I responded.

“Give me a hand with the phone, while I ring up the first groups,” he suggested. “They won’t be out to the tee for a while.”

I followed John inside. As soon as I made it in the door I could hear the phone already ringing. We walked behind the counter of the pro shop to start our Saturday morning. I began answering the opening barrage of phone calls.

“White Lake Golf Course, Brian speaking, can I help you?”

“What’s it looks like down there?” an old man’s voice asked.

“Well, it looks pretty nice. The grass is green and the sky is blue.” I answered.

“No! I mean are they playing?” “Is who playing?” I asked.

“Are you open? Damn it!” the old man demanded. “Sir, it’s 73 degrees and the sun is rising. Yes, we are

open,” I said sincerely.

He slammed his phone down.

I couldn’t help but get frustrated by some of the stupid questions. I met a lot of people at the golf course. Most of them were very nice and friendly, but some were just clueless. Golf has a way of bringing out the best in some people and the worst in others. As Shivas Irons says in Michael Murphy’s Golf in the Kingdom, golf is a microcosm of the soul. I agree.

White Lake was such a large facility in the heart of town that it drew all kinds of people. In addition to the 18-hole golf course, the facility included a driving range with

80 tees, practice greens and a nine-hole par three course.

On weekday mornings, the course would swarm with senior citizens. Then, there would be a nice break from just before noon until around 4:30 when the “factory pros” came out. That’s what we called our after-work rush and evening leagues. When the factories let out, they headed to White Lake. On weekends such as this particular Saturday, we would be booked solid with tee times through 3:00 PM.

Although the lake itself had been dry since shortly after the golf course opened in 1949, the county never bothered to change the name White Lake. The large lake that once separated the land that is the front and back nines was said to appear white when the sun hit it. Before the golf course was built, it was a very popular fishing spot. In 1944, the county closed it down when a fisherman was apparently attacked by an alligator. The story goes that a plane carrying snakes, alligators and other wild animals for a show crashed on approach to nearby Williams field. Only two out of the four alligators on board were found in the wreckage.

Some hunters were hired to capture the gator, which was eventually taken to the zoo. However, many people believed that there was either a mate or offspring left behind. Rumors of occasional sightings were enough to keep the fishermen away, so eventually the fishing hole was closed. In the era of great public works projects, the lake was drained and the county built the golf course. The project coincided with the expansion of nearby Williams Field, a small municipal airport.

Now, trees, shrubs and a small creek fill that gully known as “the jungle.” During the construction of the golf course in 1947, workers reported seeing a 12-foot alligator several times. In order to ensure the land was free of alligators before the course opened, the area was searched by the 1940s versions of The Crocodile Hunter, but nothing was found.

Since then, there have been numerous sightings that the county has tried to keep quiet. After all, White Lake was a strong source of revenue. However, many of us who worked there certainly believed in Vader the gator, as he had been named after Darth Vader in Star Wars. We all used extra caution when retrieving balls from the jungle.

People new to the course would come in and ask me, “Where’s the lake at?”

I would tell them, “It dried up as the result of a dangling preposition.” Most would walk away confused, but some would inquire further until they got the condensed story out of me.

We actually had one old guy come in and ask us, “What a beautiful lake you folks have here, are there any fish in it?” John and I had to ride out there just to make sure we weren’t crazy. Maybe the old guy was.

It was still early, but the clubhouse was coming alive. It was a large, old, English Tudor building that seemed lifeless without people in it. It had high ceilings like a ski lodge and was divided into two sections.

The pro shop, where John and I were, was filled with golf equipment and clothing. There was dark green carpet with stonewalls. We had a small section of top of the line equipment, but most of our sales came from our large stock of cheap clubs, shoes and used balls.

The grill was filled with tables and chairs. There was a concession stand at one end and a plasma TV at the other. A fireplace was on the rear wall and four ceiling fans hung from the rafters. From sunrise to sundown, there was usually a group of old men huddled together playing cards and lying about their rounds. The concession stand wasn’t much, but it had the essentials. Beer was the hot item and it flowed all day long.

There were people browsing through the merchan-dise and others eating breakfast. I continued answering the phone and giving out tee times, while John sold greens fees.

Once the first groups were making their way outside, I abandoned the phone and headed outside to play starter until Mark showed up. I didn’t mind being starter first thing in the morning. It was easy when you were running on time and there weren’t any walk-ons yet begging to be squeezed in. I got the first four or five groups off with relative ease. I even got a few “nine holers” off on number ten. It was actually kind of fun to stand on the tee, shoot the shit and watch everyone tee off. It sure beat answering that damned phone. I could see through the window that John had drafted Paul, one of our senior citizen volunteers, to help answer the phone.

After the sixth group got off the first tee, I saw Mark heading toward me from the parking lot with a McDonald’s bag and a cup of coffee in his hands.

“Well at least you came bearing gifts,” I said as he approached.

“But of course,” he replied.

Mark was about five-foot-ten and pretty stocky. He had straight brown hair and always had a smile on his face. He had a red staff shirt on with khaki pants and brown and black saddle shoes.

“Did Ashley make you clean up the house before you left this morning?” I asked.

“Funny,” he replied.

I showed him where we were on the tee sheet as he pulled his Egg McMuffin and hash brown out of the bag. I took what remained in the bag inside with me and relieved Paul from phone duty. John and I each ate with one hand and worked with the other for a while. The morning began to fly by as groups of golfers continued to pour in. After a while, I peered out the window to see how much of a mess was out there.

Mark had them lined up on the first tee like an amusement park ride. We could have probably used some turnstiles. He was standing by the starter’s table talking to Paul. Paul was a retired high school teacher who spent more time gabbing at the clubhouse than he did watching the pace of play on the course. He was actually pretty helpful though when you were in a pinch.

“I hope that you left Mark some starter times,” said John.

“Oh, but of course. We have the Marley foursome. The Garcia group, and oh yes, the Allman foursome.”

“Very nice,” said John.

Giving the starter some bogus tee times gave him a way to either catch up or work in some walk ups that made it worth his while. I doubt that the county would approve, but we did what we had to.

As I hung up the phone I heard a woman in her twenties ask John if she and her friend could start on number ten since they were only playing nine holes.

“No ma’am, you can’t start on the back nine because I have people making the turn,” he explained.

She turned and walked outside to Mark with a confused look on her face. I learned long ago that sometimes you have to just smile and laugh with people.

John was only 28 years old but he had this way about him that demanded respect. I think it was because he was such a great player. John more or less became a golf professional by accident. He grew up in Virginia and learned how to play working at a country club. After high school, John and a buddy hit the road for California. A year later he had only made it to Cincinnati. He ended up at White Lake hustling people by day and tending bar at night. When the head pro, Andy Pader, found out how good John was, he offered him a job teaching. Andy was overwhelmed with people who wanted lessons and needed some relief from handling it himself.

The phone rang again and I could see from the caller ID that it was Ashley, Mark’s fiancée, who had the endearing habit of calling for him about every 30—90 minutes. She always called for him a lot; but since they had been planning the wedding, she had gotten out of control.

“Guess who?” I said sarcastically.

“Isn’t it too early for her to be lost in her car already,” replied John.

One day earlier, she had gotten lost on the way to look for wedding dresses and Mark had to talk her back to the interstate.

“White Lake Golf Course, Brian speaking, can I help you?”

“Hey Brian, is my Mark standing nearby.”

I hated the way she said, “My Mark.” At least she was very up front about being overly possessive.

“No, I’m sorry Ashley, but there was another alligator sighting so he headed out to the jungle with a garbage can and some rope,” I answered.

John started laughing as he made change for a customer.

“I’m going to kill him,” she replied. “He has new pants on. Have him call me on my cell, will you?”

I assured her that I would and said goodbye knowing I had momentarily gotten her all worked up. It felt great.

The morning went by quickly because we were so busy. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon and I was getting anxious to play. Mark had already spoken to Ashley several times and had eventually convinced her that he hadn’t gone out after Vader the gator. I had my clubs out and was swinging them behind the counter. I was a little upset be- cause I played poorly the day before.

John had just finished helping a customer with a pair of shoes and came over to the counter. He was wearing a white Ashworth golf shirt and a pair of olive colored Dockers. Black spikeless shoes and a Ping hat made him look like a typical club pro. That was until he spoke with his southern twang. He watched me take a few swings brushing the green carpet of the pro shop.

“Not bad Bri, playing today?” he asked.

“Yeah, as soon as I get off,” I answered. “Mark said he might play with me. Help me a little.”

“It will be crowded as hell out there at 2:00. You’ll have to skip around a little.”

“That’s OK, I’m not worried as much about playing as I am practicing,” I replied.

“All the time you spend out there, you’re gonna be good soon,” John commented.

I laughed, “I don’t know about that. Seems like the harder I try, the harder it gets.”

“Yeah, that’s the way it is. That’s why all these people are screwed up. The more they practice, the worse they get. It’s an evil game. Hasn’t Mark been giving you lessons?” he asked.

“Yeah, he says my head is screwed up,” I answered.

“I could have told you that.”

“Screw you,” I replied and turned to look out the window at the first tee, as John greeted a group of college guys.

I had seen a lot of faces that morning. It had been a typical Saturday morning for White Lake, busy as hell. The Saturday morning skins game had just come in off the course. I could hear them carrying on over in the grill. It had been sunny and clear all morning, but now I could see darker clouds moving in. It looked like it might rain. That actually made me feel better. It meant that the course would be less crowded. Though I had been working continuously, there was only one thing on my mind. I wanted to be out on the golf course.

My fingers felt dry from handling all the morning’s cash as I turned and grabbed my sand wedge that had been leaning against the wall. I stood behind John and began to take a few swings toward the back of the counter area. I dropped some range balls onto the carpet and hit a few short lobs. After five near misses, I landed three balls in a row in the garbage can.

Working at the golf course was a good job for a

22-year-old college student. I got to play golf for free, got my balls cheap, and made enough money to support my interests. I sold greens fees, merchandise, answered the phone and found enough excuses to ride out onto the course a few times a day. The job was fun. I liked the people that I worked with and the people who hung out there. I was usually busy enough that my shift went by pretty quickly.

“You guys might get lucky,” John said. “Things have been slowing down now that the clouds are rolling in.”

Indeed, things were slowing down. Afternoons were always less crowded, but the threat of rain had kept a few more would-be golfers at home. By 2:00, Hank, one of our retiree cashiers, had arrived. We had a lot of retired guys working at the course. Sometimes it felt like I worked at a rest home. I considered it my community service.

Actually, I did feel a bond with some of the old guys. They had more experiences to share, more to teach me than people my own age. Some of them worked very hard, some were just in it for the free golf, but they were all characters.

Anyway, with my relief on duty, I headed to the grill to have some lunch. I walked behind the counter, poured myself a beer and grabbed a burger. Lisa, the snack bar manager was selling old Charlie Pendyke a beer. Charlie was one of our regulars, a 74-year-old retired realtor. He liked to talk as if he owned half of the town. He was about five feet six inches, bald and plump as Santa Claus. I think it was more like three apartment buildings that he owned.

“What’s up Charlie?” I asked.

“Haven’t made a par in six months, Brian,” he said with a frown and walked back to his table.

“How’s it going, Brian?” asked Lisa as she started to take down the candy and snacks from the counter.

“I’m good. You’re not doing away with the chips and candy, are you?” I asked

“No. Cunningham’s wife called and said to clear off some counter space. Something about a water bottle display.”

Hugh Cunningham was the director of golf for the county. His wife was the governor’s daughter and also worked for the distributor that supplied the county course with all their food and drinks. Most people would consider that a conflict of interests, but somehow, they got away with it.

“Water bottle display, don’t you have some bottled water back in the fridge with the bottled sodas?” I asked.

“Yeah, we sure do,” answered Lisa. “I don’t bother asking her questions. I just go with the flow.”

“That’s probably a good decision. Got any good horses for me today?”

Lisa had given me a couple of great tips over the years for the track. Not too many, but when she did; boy, were they worth it.

“No, nothing today, but I hear there’s a poker game tonight if you’re looking to lose some money.”

“That’s OK,” I replied as I dropped a couple dollars in her tip jar. “See ya later.”

“Bye Brian,” she said in her sweet voice as I walked away. Lisa had a sweet voice and a nasty voice. She was sweet most of the time, but she sure could cut into you if you upset her.

The guys around White Lake, who played cards, were about as honest at it as they were their golf. There is something about golf that easily lends itself to gambling. I guess that’s why golfers love to play cards and go to the track.

“Get in the hole god damn it!” shouted old Charlie. He and the rest of the guys from the skins game were watching the tournament on TV. I walked over and had a seat with them while I ate my burger. John Daly was back in contention after another long absence and that had most of the boys excited and drinking even more than usual.

“You know what the problem with Daly is?” Charlie asked. “He wears a damn baseball cap. No good player wears a cap. Mickleson wears a visor, Vijay wears a visor, and Nicklaus wore a visor. None of these guys wearing caps are worth a damn.”

Charlie had a theory on everything.

“You’re full of shit, Charlie!” yelled Al Harper. “Tiger wears a cap.”

“He’s at his best when he takes it off,” replied Charlie with a grumble.

Al and Charlie always found a way to get an argument going. Before I knew it, the whole table was arguing over baseball caps versus visors. Even news junkie Fred looked up from his morning paper and weighed in.

“Villains throughout history have always had a piece of signature headwear,” he said. “Look at Castro, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam.”

Fred was married to Alice who was the regular cashier at the driving range. He didn’t play golf anymore. He was sitting in front of the TV here at the clubhouse on September 11th and he has virtually stayed there ever since. He was addicted to cable news. Each day he still came to the golf course; but instead of going out to play with the rest of the guys, he just sat in front of the TV. We’d have to fight with him just to put a golf tournament on the TV once in a while. On weekends, Fred generally read his paper and insisted on frequent news checks during commercial breaks in the golf tournaments. He stayed on top of the news and insisted on keeping us all informed.

“Hitler was rarely pictured wearing a hat,” commented Al Harper.

“There’s always the exception,” replied Fred.

It was just one of the many deep philosophical debates that went on within the confines of the White Lake clubhouse. I didn’t want to get caught in this one so I swallowed the last of my burger, got up and walked back toward the pro shop with my beer.

“And another thing,” I could hear Charlie say. “What’s with these collarless shirts some guys are wearing? They look like they should be mowing the fairways.”

I was happy to be missing this debate.

When I got back to the pro shop, I realized Mark was stuck on the phone with the wedding warrior herself. I couldn’t keep my food down and listen to him talk to Ashley so I walked into the office behind the counter. I sat down at the desk a d watched John chip balls into a short, narrow, metal garbage can. He had made five in a row that I saw.

Mort, one of our part time starters, had taken over for Mark, so as soon as he could shake Ashley, we’d be on the course. John bounced his sixth chip shot off the front edge of the garbage can with a loud bang. The ball bounced backward and rolled toward John.

“Fore,” shouted Hank from the counter.

“Caught it a little thin,” I commented.

“Yeah, I think I’ve worn down this spot on the carpet,”

he replied.

Unfortunately, I could still hear Mark. He spent a few moments trying to convince Ashley that he loved her more than golf. It was starting to make me sick by the time he was off the phone with her.

After hanging up the phone, Mark stepped back into the office.

“You are the sorriest piece of crap,” said John.

“Yeah, it’s really painful to listen to you talk to her,” I

agreed as I sipped my beer.

“Then don’t listen,” Mark answered defensively. “Let’s go. There’s hardly anybody on the back nine. I told everyone we had to keep the back open for a shotgun outing.”

“Shotgun outing,” said John sardonically. “You come up with more shit. If someone calls downtown, it will be your ass.”

“No, it will be the starter’s ass,” said Mark. “I’m the assistant pro.”

“Yeah, Mort is retired anyway,” I said.

“Exactly,” said Mark as he dragged his staff bag out of the closet and began pulling out a few clubs.

I picked up my clubs and headed outside. I knew better than to grab a cart. Mark believed that walking was the only way to play the game. He tried to walk at least nine holes every day. He claimed to be a traditionalist, but we all knew he was trying to stay thin. Ashley would kick his ass if he got any more of a beer belly before the wedding. I would have rather ridden in a cart since I could do it for free, but I wasn’t about to upset Mark.

As I stepped onto the first tee, the sun disappeared behind the clouds. It was a perfect day to play. It was cloudy enough to keep all the fair weather golfers at home, but it still wasn’t raining. I took some practice swings with my eight-degree Ping G3. I was ready to play and forget about everything else in the world.

Mark arrived at the tee carrying his old MacGregor persimmon three wood, a five iron, a wedge, and an old wooden shafted putter in one hand. He had two bottles of Budweiser in his other hand.

“Where’s your bag,” I asked.

“This is all I need,” he replied as he handed me a beer.

I had played the par-three course with just a few clubs before, but never the regulation course. I couldn’t imagine him playing too well with only four clubs. I had fourteen and I still had trouble.

After taking a drink of my beer I teed up a ball. I had been waiting so long to play today, that I had a lot of built up energy. I wanted to kill the ball. I wanted to hit it straighter and farther than I ever had.

I took a big swing and struck the ball with everything I had. The ball flew straight up and landed about 160 yards out.

“Shit. I popped it up,” I moaned to myself as I walked off the tee. I waited for Mark to tell me what I did wrong, but he said nothing. He stepped forward and teed up his ball without saying a word. He lined up, addressed the ball and knocked it straight down the fairway with his three-wood. I was too pissed off to say anything, so I hurried along to my ball. I had a double strap on my bag which made it easier to carry a beer as I walked. Mark followed along still not saying a word. I wasn’t going to let one bad shot get to me. The thing about walking is that you have more time to think between your shots. Sometimes that was a good thing and sometimes it wasn’t.

By the time I reached my ball, I had 20 different swing thoughts in my mind. Determined to reach the green on this 380 yard par four, I hurriedly addressed my ball and waggled my three-wood a couple of times. I successfully cleared those thoughts from my mind and without thinking about the shot; I swung and ripped one onto the back fringe.

“Cool,” I muttered as I saw where my shot landed. Mark birdied the hole with a tap in after landing his approach shot one foot from the pin. I was happy with my par after my bad day yesterday and today’s terrible drive to start this round.

On the next hole, my drive was better, but I struggled to make bogey. I just wasn’t hitting the ball solidly. Mark made birdie again with ease. We moved on to the third hole and Mark still hadn’t said anything about my swing.

I took out my driver and addressed the ball. Gathering myself together, I remained calm and thought about just making contact. I tried to focus on an image of the drive that I wanted, but as I started my back swing, the thought of my ball heading right and into the trees popped into my head. I swung at the ball. It made an ugly ascent into the air then sliced right and down hard rolling under a pine tree. It was damn near a shank.

“Shit,” I said with a whine of exasperation.

“What did you want to do that for?” Mark asked.

I couldn’t believe him. I wanted to scream at him for saying that, but all I could mutter was, “I dunno?”

Then, he hit another tee shot down the middle and I hurried off to my ball. I was hoping that it had rolled through the trees. If it did, I would still have a chance to make par.

However, I wasn’t that lucky. My ball had made it past the trunk, but there was still a limb impeding my swing. I studied the shot. I can make this, I thought. A half swing three-iron should roll far enough to get to the green if it fades a little. If it didn’t fade, it should still be close to the green.

I took a few practice swings to see how far I could go back without hitting the limb. Adjusting my stance, I got ready to swing. I tried to imagine my perfect shot rolling onto the front of the green, but I couldn’t. The only image that entered my mind was that tree limb.

As I swung, my club went too far back and hit the limb. That threw my timing off and I couldn’t get the club back to the ball. My club hit the ground first, then skipped into the ball making it trickle about 20 yards into the fairway.

I could feel my blood pumping. My head began to get hot. My hands tightened on the grip of my three-iron. My arms began shaking. First, I looked at the tree limb, then my club head. I raised the club with my trembling arms. I wanted to hit that limb. I squeezed the club tighter. I thought of my ball laying 20 yards ahead of me. I wanted to break the damn limb and my three-iron. But with some ounce of self-control left in me, I turned away from the tree. I raised my club over my head and threw it as hard as I could. It landed about 30 yards down the fairway. It was farther than my ball had gone.

“Nice throw,” Mark said casually.

I walked to the ball, dropped my bag on the ground, and addressed the ball without lining up the shot. Not caring what the hell happened, I took a swing with my seven-iron. The ball just floated in the air, hung there for a while, and then landed softly on the green.

“Nice shot,” Mark said as he walked to his ball.

I could only mutter a breath type grunt noise in reply. I was still in awe of my shot. Mark landed his second shot on the green and made par. I two putted for a bogie.

We played the rest of the front nine rather quickly. Mark was very quiet for someone who normally talked so much inside. It was amazing how well he was playing with only four clubs. I spent the time playing poorly and bitching about my swing and a few other things I thought of during the course of the round. By the time we walked off the ninth green I could see dark clouds rolling in. It was definitely going to rain.

I was pissed off by then. I was blaming everyone and everything for my terrible round. I followed Mark into the clubhouse. He walked up to the snack bar and I dropped my clubs behind the counter of the pro-shop. Hank was on the phone giving someone a weather report.

“You want a beer,” Mark yelled back to me.

“Yeah, sure,” I said as I sat down in a chair looking out at the first tee. I was about as depressed as I could get. Having worked at a golf course for the past five years, you’d think I would have learned how to play. I was physically and emotionally exhausted.

Mark returned and handed me my beer.

“You want to play another nine?” he asked as though he hadn’t seen my pitiful performance on the front nine. I couldn’t believe him.

“I thought you were gonna help me,” I lashed out at him. “You didn’t say one damn word to me out there. What the hell is the matter with you?”

“Brian. I was watching you out there,” he replied. “You analyze every inch of your swing from start to finish. I can see the gears turning inside your head while you address the ball. I know you. You think about five things each time you swing. One is dangerous.”

“Well how am I supposed to get better?” I replied.

“By analyzing your swing on the practice range with a purpose in mind. You don’t even pick a target before you swing. You only think about the swing itself. If you don’t line yourself up and concentrate on where you want that ball to go, the best swing in the world isn’t worth a damn. What did Harvey Penick say? Take dead aim.”

“You are kind of right,” I confessed.

“Go back to the basics. Pick a spot in front of the ball that is in line with your target and line up with that. Think about where you want the ball to land. A specific spot, not just a general area. We can fine tune your swing little by little on the range.”

“Ok, I’ll play some more, but it looks like rain,” I said. “We’ll take a cart,” he replied.

“That means a cooler,” I said and walked towards the grill.

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Brandy: What a great take on the idea of finding your dream man. The story was very emotional with strong characters. I would recommend this story to any who wants to read a good love story. And yes, Italian food does make everything better.

sujitha nair: What's so distinct about this story was that it could easily be real. Praveena can be your classmate, neighbor or that girl you saw at the coffee shop today. The important decisions she makes and the dilemmas she faces, remind us of our own twisted lives.

hridhyaraj: I am only able to read till the bonus chapter of boyband...please someone tell me what happens after that.... I can't wait to know what happens next. does aqueela and jt get back together? what about Troy? I feel pity for the guy...and where does Emma and Xavier move to? I'm just flooded with ...

Destiny Lee: This is amazing. It's totally realistic - cool girls have flaws, too, okay?? Totally awkward girl picks up her mom's old bass from her garage, messes around, and realizes, hey, maybe I can move on after all. She has moments where everything's hopeless for her, after all, an alcoholic dad and a fl...

Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...

More Recommendations

Tavis Ryan King: "What Happened to Charlie Carmine" is a fabulous mo-gee-toe cocktail fuelled midget orgy of psychology, fantasy and sarcasm. I laughed out loud when reading this novel so many times it made the London commuters I shared space with look at me with curious disdain - and I did not care. [Rating: 4....

ArgyrisMetaxas: Thrilling story which builds layer ontop of layer. A few mis spellings every few chapters. What I found special was that it took a modern day problem and took it to its logical conclusion and plays this realism with gritting precision. I'm always on edge ready to shout from adrenaline. This is gr...

Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...

Lydia Sherrer: I first read The Speaker almost a decade ago when I first discovered author Sandra Leigh. I loved it then, and I still love it now. It is a simple, easy read, yet deep in meaning and rich in storyline. I do not know what kind of research or prior knowledge Leigh has of First Nation tribes, but sh...

ryder: This is an excellent read. From beginning to end the author showed his creative and imaginative writing skills. Twists and turns, surprises, humor, and sorrow: This book has it all. I strongly recommend this book, and I am already recommending it to my friends.

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