My husband has a gazillion golf stories. Are all golfers crazy or does he simply have a knack for finding them?
For a time, he wrote about some of these codgers. He says he’s writing these stories for his grandkids. It’s better that they hear about these guys through Granddad’s filter. Had they met them in person, they’d be able to sell new cuss words on the playground for other kids’ lunch money.
Over the weekend, Dearly Beloved and our son and daughter-in-law played golf at the beach. Because Son knows his dad’s golf swing better than anyone, DB asked him to watch and see if he could detect any problem with his swing. Son went one better; he produced a video camera and made a movie of his dad’s golf moves, pointing out any problem he saw.
It was not the first time someone had done so. Here is DB’s story of another golf video, filmed by a crusty character I never met, an old coot named Joe.
I don’t think Joe was particularly liked by anyone who took him seriously. I liked him. He was like a character from a Runyon story. It was best to treasure what there was of him. And there always seemed to be more
Joe’s biggest admirer was himself. He was always talking about the number of U. S. Opens he claimed to have played in, his rounds with Clayton Heafner, playing pro golf in the old days. Once I was listening to a call in radio show and Joe had called in and was claiming how he had coached Raymond Floyd on putting (“The grip is in the last 3 fingers of the left hand. Stroke the top half of the ball with an upward motion. Do that and you can putt on asphalt.”). According to Joe, Raymond’s father had asked Joe. I was at The Masters one year and there was Joe sitting in a golf cart under the Oak Tree on the course side of the ropes. He called me over and introduced me to a distinguished gentleman who was in the cart with him. “I want you to meet George Low.”
I have no idea if he was the George Low of putter fame, but it sure seemed so at that moment.
Joe hung out at an old driving range that had hard red dirt and crab grass. In those days the range was close to nothing, yet there was always a steady stream of customers hitting balls, having clubs worked on by the owner or sitting around drinking soft drinks and telling lies. Joe was in is element. He would give lessons occasionally to those who could tolerate him, or didn’t know better.
He could be unmerciful in his criticism. One hot summer day, there was a young man who appeared to have driven out from town on his lunch break. He got out of his BMW, took off his tie, bought two large buckets and went through them. We didn’t pay much attention to him other than wondering why he was hitting in a dress shirt in 90 plus degree heat. It was perfectly OK to hit shirtless. I guess we assumed he was on a mission to get better quick before some business outing. Joe was at the other end of the range finishing a lesson. After the young man hit both buckets, he came inside where Joe was having a soft drink and asked Joe, “Will you help me with my golf swing?”
Joe incredulously rasped, “Golf swing! You ain’t got no #*#* golf swing. You should quit now!”
Joe didn’t give him a lesson.
After I’d known Joe awhile, he and I somehow agreed that he would give me 5 lessons for $100 and include a video of the final lesson. The finished product, as Joe described it. It was great fun. He had me hitting 4 irons over a telephone pole that was much too close for comfort, swinging a wedge through high weeds using just my left side, bottles under my feet, towels under my armpits, chipping countless 9 irons range basket high to stop at a line he made in the dirt, etc. His main theme was “hit it slow”. He delighted in a mid iron that carried the full distance and only then slowly fell to the left.
The day for the final product came. When I showed up, Joe proudly presented the video camera. In a box. He had just bought it. He said he was counting on me to figure how to work it. I had never used one before but together we figured it out. He was real proud. At the moment we got it to work, there is a picture of him with his big nose against the camera, eyes almost crossed, saying, “Yessir, she’s working real good, nice and slow.” He then stepped back from the camera, and pointed to the exact spot where he wanted me to hit. The next scene on the video is Joe unmoving except for looking around in circles unleashing a string of profanities, “We ain’t got no #*#* golf balls.”
Well, we got some balls and a week or so later I went by and Joe presented me the video. Shortly thereafter Joe died. I had 2 more copies made and gave one to the guys at the driving range and the other to his very nice family at his funeral.
Decades later, I don’t know if any of Joe’s stories were true.
But it doesn’t matter. © 2008
I never met Joe, but I saw that video more times than I cared to, not for the golf swing, because DB was an incidental character. Much of it consisted of Joe wandering up to the camera, so near the lens that his nostril hairs were in full bloom. “Yep, she’s working now.”
Since DB has been watching Son’s video on his computer, I have not had to watch. I hear Son’s voice calmly pointing out the good, the bad, and the ugly.
DB was thrilled, so pleased that he wants me to buy a camera and go out on the course with him to video his game, so he can watch later to see whether or not he’s “fixing” the problems that Son detected.
Did you get that? He wants me to follow him around, filming his golf game.