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From the Editor

The Humor of Golf

They say that laughter is the best medicine. Well, if that is true then anyone who wants a good, strong dose should take up golf. Over the years golf has provided me, and my buddies, plenty to chuckle about. Unfortunately, those hearty laughs often come at someone else’s expense. That is just one of the many mysteries of the game.

My first hysterical golf moment came at the third hole at Guyan Golf and Country Club when I was 12. My playing partner that day was my good friend and neighbor, Greg Hawkins. Poor Greg wasn’t playing very well through the first two holes, and on the third he topped his tee shot down a hill about 25 yards. He marched down to his ball, took one waggle of the club, and topped the ball again. Off he went ahead of me, topping the ball over and over again until he finally reached the end of the fairway and his breaking point. I watched him in the distance as he raised his club high into the air, blurted out an obscenity, and threw it to the ground. But, in his moment of fury, Greg miscalculated and the club hit his golf bag, bounced upward and smacked him square in the jaw. He fell backwards and hit the ground like a heavyweight fighter laid out on the canvas. He eventually regained consciousness but was unable to continue. He recently told me that he still has some neurological damage from the traumatic incident.

In my mid-20s I found a regular foursome that included Dan Kennedy, Dale Oxley and Michael Collier. We were all pretty evenly matched and enjoyed many afternoon battles at Sugarwood Golf Club. On one occasion, we stepped up to the tee of the 7th hole and hit our best drives of the day. The last person to hit was Collier, admittedly the cockiest guy in the group and the king of trash talk. As he stood over his ball, he turned to us and proclaimed: “You’re all going down because I’ve got the beat stick in my hand.” With that, he unleashed a powerful swing and missed the ball. As he held his follow-through position on the tee, the three of us literally fell to the ground. We were all holding our guts and roaring with laughter as Collier humbly asked for a mulligan.

I have only been hit by a golf ball three times in my life, and all three shots were fired by the same person – HQ Photo Editor David Fattaleh. He shanked a 5 wood into my calf once, nailed me on the shoulder with a pitching wedge approach shot on another occasion, and somehow managed to plop me in the foot after hitting his tee shot while I stood directly behind him. One afternoon David and I were playing at Orchard Hills when a gentleman asked if he could join us. Shortly thereafter David hit a poor drive into the rough and lagged behind to search for his ball. When he finally found it, he yelled ahead to warn our new playing companion that it would be prudent to take cover. With that, the man walked into the midst of an enormous pine tree and stood behind the trunk and its many low hanging branches. David then took a mighty swing and his ball went whizzing into the pine tree where it somehow managed to find the poor man’s leg. He emerged from his hiding place hopping on one leg and, in obvious pain and shock, declared, “You hit me!”

“I told you to watch out,” David replied indignantly. “I hid inside of a freaking tree,” the man yelled back. David had no reply for that.

Of course, I have had my fair share of embarrassing moments on the golf course. My temper has gotten the better of me on more than one occasion, the most memorable of which took place this past summer on the 17th hole at Guyan. My playing partner that day was Bob Massie. I hit a long tee shot which left me a sand wedge to the green. However, I chunked the shot which resulted in a large clump of earth being removed from the fairway, much of which flew back into my face and mouth. In my disgust, I hurled my sand wedge towards a pine tree where it became stuck. The club was too high to reach, so I tossed another iron into the tree in an attempt to knock it down. I lodged seven more clubs in that tree before a kind man drove by with a ball retriever and assisted me. I was steaming mad, but Bob was laughing hysterically. He later told all his friends that the thick pine should be named the “Houvouras Tree” in honor of my moronic feat.

Those are just some of the stories that surround the game I love...and hate. And, God willing, I will be laughing at my friends and myself for years to come.


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