August 24, 2012

On The Rebound: Dusting off the old golf clubs

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — My golf clubs hunkered in a corner of the outbuilding behind Christmas trees, garden tools, and the things we hide when company comes over. Spiders claimed the golf bags and it looked like a scene from Indiana Jones when I pulled them outside with the webs stretching behind them.

I didn’t really want to play golf, but when an 11-year old begs you to take her golfing you go. It might take two weeks for her to break you, but you go. My oldest wanted to go to Rockcastle River and catch salamanders, which actually sounded cheaper and less frustrating.

The last time I played golf was with this same threesome. Most people don’t believe me when I say both of my girls shot in the lows 70s that round. That’s an impressive score and you are probably thinking we only played nine holes. You would be wrong. We only played two holes.

My goal this time was to play at least three holes.

Crooked Creek has a great deal for families. After 6 p.m. your family can play for $20. I’m not sure what the limitations are or if it’s good on weekends. You might want to clarify that if you are the family from 18 Kids and Counting. The days are still long enough now that you can play several holes.

It was unusually crowded this day, so we cruised a little looking for a hole that we would be able to take 35 to 40 shots on without slowing other groups. We jumped ahead to No. 11, a par three over a pond.

Maggie drilled her ball over the pond and just to the left of the green. Cassidy sailed a John Daly drive that looked like it might leave the neighborhood. Who were these kids? They even chipped onto the green. I had a tap-in par which is only less impressive because I was playing from the ladies’ tees.

We skipped ahead to the next open hole, which just happened to be another par three. Two more good tees shots by the girls, although this time we picked up our balls when the group behind us caught up.

We fought for 10 minutes over who would drive the cart. It got ugly and I finally had to use the dad voice to rectify the situation. Maggie drove anyway.

The sun was getting pretty low in the sky and most real golfers were heading for the 19th hole. We jumped ahead to No. 1.

Cassidy shot a six or seven on that hole depending on how lenient you want to get with golf rules. Maggie got an incomplete and decided to look for golf balls in the pond. Cassidy shot a semi-honest five on No. 2 and Maggie found two more golf balls. We were making good time now and cruised through several more holes.

I was getting swings in where I could, but mostly running herd on the girls. Then magic almost happened. I have never come close to a hole in one, but as the ball left my club it looked straight and true. The ball landed a couple of feet left of the hole, but wandered down to its general direction.

Would a hole in one count if your witnesses had a combined age of 23? Would it matter if a full grown man was hitting from the women’s tees?

Not to me. My picture would be in the Sentinel-Echo holding that ball.

The ball didn’t drop and it’s probably a good thing. I look up and one witness is chasing a damsel fly and the other is in the woods looking for the pink ball she lost two months ago.