Huffman column: Pickups, hounds, bad golf
While watching the U.S. Open on Friday, I was reminded of a couple of the more interesting golf shots I’ve witnessed.
They didn’t come courtesy of PGA golfers.
In the mid-’80s, I was a member of the Madison-Mayodan Jaycees. We were a fine civic organization, doing many fine, civic-minded functions.
On Wednesday afternoons, several of the club members met at Joe Ayers’ golf course in Stokes County. I think the name of the course was Riverview, but everyone referred to it simply as “Joe Ayers,” its owner.
It was a flat, nine-hole layout along the banks of the Dan River. It was also the only self-service course I’ve seen. Golfers stuck their green fees in envelopes and slid ’em through a slot in the door to the clubhouse.
If you wanted a cart, you needed to go to another course.
The first of the two remarkable shots I remember being fired at Joe Ayers’ came courtesy of Johnny Bowman. Johnny was a great guy and a terrible golfer. I’m bad, and Johnny was far worse.
On the first tee one afternoon, Johnny rared back and took a mighty swing. His club must have come within a hair of missing the ball entirely. The ball didn’t move forward one iota.
Instead, it bounced straight away from Johnny as if he’d nicked it with the outside head of his driver. Picture what I’m saying, please. Instead of heading down the fairway, the ball bounced weakly straight out in front of Johnny. It almost went backwards.
The ball bounced a couple of times on an asphalt parking lot, gradually picking up a tad of momentum. Eventually it bounced high enough to take a hop and come to rest in the bed of a pickup straight out from where we were standing.
My fellow Jaycees and I found this very amusing. We laughed heartily (not at Johnny, of course, but with him). Someone suggested that Johnny climb into the bed of the pickup and play the ball where it lay, but he declined.
The second of the more interesting shots I witnessed at Joe Ayers’ was smacked by Paul Veach. Paul was a few years older than the rest of us, which means he had to be pushing 35.
He was bald and the club’s senior member. We referred to Paul as “The Grand Poobah,” a reference to the Royal Order of the Water Buffalos of “The Flintstones.”
Paul wasn’t the best of golfers, but he wasn’t as bad as Johnny. On occasion, Paul could really wallop a ball.
Which is exactly what he did one day on a par four at Riverview. Paul’s tee shot came to rest on the green of the par four, only 10 feet or so from the hole.
(This was a memorable happening, especially considering what poor golfers we Jaycees were as a collective bunch.)
This is where it got interesting. An old hound was lying in front of the clubhouse and picked this particular moment to saunter across the course.
The dog ó I’m not making this up ó strolled over to the green where Paul’s shot had come to rest. The mutt bent over and picked the ball up in its mouth.
From there, the dog turned and headed back in the direction of the clubhouse. Paul pursued, screaming. It was an amusing spectacle. The dog didn’t go far before dropping the ball.
Paul picked up the ball and declared he was going to return it to the spot on the green where it’d been before the dog took it for a ride. And he did.
Paul birdied the hole, though one member of our foursome pointed out that, according to the rules of golf, he should have played the ball from where Fido dropped it.
Technically, I think that’s true, but Paul disagreed.
In any event, I didn’t witness any shots like those in the U.S. Open.
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When not honing his golf skills in an attempt to qualify for next year’s U.S. Open, Steve Huffman writes for the Post. Reach him at email@example.com.