Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Personal / Stories / Themes / Sport /
I’ve got golf stories to tell, mine and others: I’ll string them, initially using this as a scrapbook. The gold section of K. was only getting started when I was arrested and K. destroyed by the US.
As I kid, through the country club hedge, I saw fat men with cigars get out of a golf cart, whack at a ball, get back into the golf cart, drive to wherever their wretched swing had propelled the ball. My friend and I sneered, “That’s not sport!”
I don’t intend to limit my life by what my eight year old self once thought, but I did have an under-appreciation of golf: until I tried it in my early forties.
In the 1960s my friends and I drove up to Montreal, stopped at Cape Cod, slept on the beach at North Truro, on our way to Provincetown. Wow, look at the big dunes.
In the late 1970s I was on the Cape again, doing business. To and from P.town I noticed a golf links atop the North Truro dunes. Now that made sense, I thought: were I ever to play golf, that’s where I’d want to play: an excuse to walk around atop the big dunes. I decided to take a lesson on Long Island, be ready for my next trip to the Cape.
The golf pro at the Lido Beach course was Leo. He was happy to hear that I’d never held a club and overjoyed that I didn’t play baseball: no inappropriate habits to unlearn. Leo had pure putty in his hands. He placed me on the driving range. Showed me how to grip his 7 iron, dropped a ball in front of me, and asked me to swing the club so that the ball rolled toward the tire in the field in front of us that had a sign on it reading 50. My swing rolled the ball toward the tire, the ball bounced off the sign.
Leo said Good, now try to get the ball toward the tire that has a sign saying 75. I bounded the ball off the 75 sign.
Then he told me to try for the sign that said 100. Close enough.
Very good, Leo said. Now: take a longer swing and see if you can get the ball up in air, hit it further.
I took a swing, and I’ll never forget it. The ball ascended aloft, way aloft. There was a sign out there that said 150. My ball was heading almost that distance, off to the right: but I hadn’t been aiming at anything: other than up, and further.
In hindsight I see that I sliced the ball miserably but it went around 140 yards.
Joy surged in me, my face lit up. I beamed at Leo. “How about that?” I asked him.
Leo smirked, scoffed, shook his head: “You’re not supposed to hit them like that.”
You said up, you said further. It went up, it went further! I felt betrayed.
“You’re not supposed to hit them like that,” Leo complained, “until you’ve been playing this game for months, and months.” And his smile seeped in, replacing the scoff.
After that I was at the course everyday. Leo told me not to try actually playing until I’d been practicing enough to control the ball somewhat somewhat consistently, but hell, I had a trip to the Cape coming up, I wanted walk around on top of the dunes in North Truro, but now I wanted to see the ball go up, up, and away even more.
On the Cope I completed my business with artist Robert Vickrey and told him I’d drive up to North Truro before heading back for NY. He gave me his father-in-law’s complete golf kit: irons, persimmon woods, a 2 & a 4, a putter, and a bag.
North Truro’s course proved to be sandy, very little grass: hard pan. My woods never got the ball aloft, but I rolled them like hell. Aloft, my irons sliced. I hit enough mistakes to give up on keeping score. But I played. I played everyday, sometimes all day, till the early 1980s when my life as a broke betrayed unpublished writer complicated everything.
A had a series of really proud moments in my first few years of golfing. I’ll never forget my first birdie: or the first (or second) time I holed the ball from 150+ yards out.
My first birdie came on the first par 5 on the back nine: 11 was it? My two wood went 180 or so, my four wood went another 180 or so. My seven iron sailed toward the green, landed in fringe by a trap but with a view of the green. I saw a line, kind of putt-chipped the seven iron, watched it roll true, and disappear into the cup: just as a course guy rode by in a cart and saw it. He didn’t know how many strokes that made, but he applauded just the same.
One day on #1 I slice my 2 wood onto #10. A perfect 2 wood might loft the ball over the trees bordering the two holes and carry me well up the @1 fairway. But no: my 2 wood bounces off a tree and lands in flat sand of that bordering woods. My 2 iron bounces off a different tree and lands on the sandy canvas ribbon that marks the border. That’s three: and I’m still 160 out. I swing the 6 iron again, the ball ascends to the clouds, descends, Oh God, it’s actually going to reach the green! and disappears. Wow. I gather myself and ascend the elevated #1 green, looking for my ball. It’s not on the green. I don’t see it in any of the traps, I don’t see it in any of the open rough fringes around the green …
I don’t see it! Finally, it occurs to me to look in the hole: there it is! Par!! In the hole in four!
This was late afternoon, I had the course to myself. No one was treading on my heels. No one saw the shot.
When I saw Leo I told him I holed one on #1 from 160 out. “Nice eagle!” he exclaimed. “It wasn’t an eagle,” I warned him. “Oh? Nice birdy?” “It wasn’t a birdie, it was a par.” And he made faces of commiseration mixed with applause.