Bethpage Black Deeds

Sport / Golf /

I played my golf starting in my forties, most of it initially at the Lido Beach course, a public links course on the Long Beach barrier island of Long Island. I started when my business was promising, I played obsessively when my business went south. I played when I could while broke and writing.

I’d hit balls on the driving range in the afternoon, then carry my bag around the course. The guys I crossed paths with were typically also businessmen, come home from the city in time to play a bit before dinner. As I played everyday all day as met a different demographic representation. One guy had been a dental assistant, lost his job, had unemployment income. My buddy mockingly called him ChiChi: he was Hispanic, he was not ChiChi Rodriguez, who still amused us on TV, 1980, 1981 …

ChiChi also drank in the bar next door to me, Dirty Dick’s. I lived in a wonderful airy two bath apartment on the top floor of a building at the end of Long Beach Road: every room was directly on the surf except for the second bedroom which had an indirect view of the Atlantic: you had to stand kind of ear the window to see the ocean; in all other places in the apartment the surf was right in your ear as the view was right in your eye. When I first moved in I couldn’t understand, at midnight, what I was hearing, the power wasn’t on yet, the fridge couldn’t be running. I opened the door to the terrace, tracking the inexplicable sound, stupid me, of course! It’s the waves! It’s the surf! Hallelujah! Midnight, New Years Eve, I’ve got the surf, 24/7, right in my face, no electricity required.

Dirty Dick’s was on the opposite corner. The story was the guy was walking on the beach in the Depression, found shelter under some driftwood, started serving drinks. In the late 1970s his widow owned it while her two sons, Dick and Bob, ran it.
I drank: wherever I was, in bars, parties, on business, and at home. I also went into Dick’s a few times: had one pre-crash on the floor scotch that New Years moving in. So: I see ChiChi every day, sometimes I see ChiChi in Dick’s, talling everybody what a great golfer he was.

Good manners in golf by my standards require leaving people alone, don’t distract the player: no talking on the tee, no talking on the driving range: no talking. I’m a talker, but not when I’m golfing. ChiChi never stopped talking, he’d impose advise on anyone who didn’t threaten to hit him in the throat with a 2 iron if he didn’t shut up and back off. And in the bar, drunk, ChiChi was still at it, telling everyone how great he was, telling everyone how to be great, like him.
I’d also see Dick and Bobby on the course: they’d go through a case of beer in 18 holes, getting fairly obscene by the 16th hole: a great hole, stories coming.
I was 42 when I first swung a club. I don’t know about ChiChi. Dick and Bobby had been playing all their lives, but drunk: they ran the bar, they sometimes golfed.
I wasn’t there, but my buddy was, Don told me: ChiChi was mouthing off in Dirty Dick’s, telling everybody he was going to go pro, he was shooting 80, high 70s, improving daily. Bobby and Dick were high 90s until they were too drunk to break 100. Finally Don says that ChiChi bragged he’d play anybody on Bethpage’s Black for $1,000, cash: players have to show a $1,000 bill on the first hole, put the bill in the cup before putting starts on 18, the winning putter removes the bills to his pocket. Bobby can’t stand it any more and accepts the bet.

I was alarmed. I went out of my way to find Bobby. I said, “Bobby, don’t play ChiChi for money unless you have a second following him arond and coutning every single time he cheats: ChiChi’s ball lands in the rough, he kicks it onto the fairway! on the fairway it’s in a divot, he kicks it onto fair grass. And Bobby, he doesn’t know he’s doing it! No point telling him to stop, he’s dishonest to the core.

But Bobby played him, Dick caddied. Dick stood over ChiChi on every shot. ChiChi’s strokes got counted, penalties assessed. Out of bounds? you’re still on the tee, still about to hit a drive, but now it’s not 1, it’s not 2, it’s 3!

Bobby played terrible. They got to 18. ChiChi had to put his grand in the hole with Bobby’s. Bobby putted for a total of 126: and removed the two bills.

What I would have liked to have seen was ChiChi’s explanation for whoever sponsored him the wager, ChiChi didn’t have any money. Some moron listens to ChiChi, now he’s out a grand.

I knew the Black. I’d played it once, got a birdie on the front side, scored nintey-something: 95 or 96, 93 my usual score at Lido.
Thing was, I had no drive. My irons were good, my putting was OK, but my woods sucked. Two five irons probably would have done me as well as a flubbed 1 wood followed by a 3 iron. If only I could have gotten onto the fairway in one I might have been able to score fairly well.
Hell, for me, 95 or so was a good score, a very good score.
I sure didn’t recognize the course that Tiger won on, first Open played there in a while. Thrilling to see, but I didn’t recognize it as any place I’d trod.

Cheat Like Hell
2018 01 30 Norweigan LPGA champ Suzann Pettersen, reports that Trump cheats like hell on the golf course (probably cheats like hell in business too).

I repeat the allegation here, much reminded of ChiChi in the above stories. I emphasize, ChiChi didn’t know he was cheating, self awareness, awareness in general, was not his forte. Playing by himself ChiChi would walk to his ball, see that it was in the rough, and wuold kick the ball toward a better lie. The scores he reported at the end of the round (or at any tallying) did not include penalties. He counted his intentions, not his accomplishments. Sheer human nature, I’ve done it myself. But I don’t tell the world my little lies. ChiDhi did, Trump does. Where would we be without the Suzann Pettersens?

With the cheater counting his own score, he shot a seventy-nine: not that far from scratch; with Dirty Dick counting, ChiChi shot in the one-twenties.

Also, never forget, ChiChi was not playing with his own mney: he’d conned some joker to put hp the grand for him. Few of us count our partners’ capital with the care we cont our own cash.

Citizens don’t count their own money: their own money isn’t in their hands! it’s being cared for by the Stalins.


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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