“Like most golfers, my extreme emotional problems led me to swing too hard at the ball…”

Although he’s primarily known for drawing surreal comics about alcoholic cats, Chris Onstad is also an excellent writer:

A Brief Statement on the Position that Golf Occupies In My Life
Golf Memoir #2
Golf Memoir #3: The Short Course

I like these pieces a lot, despite my utter lack of interest in and knowledge of the game. Not only are they well written and funny, they talk about golf from a decidedly, shall we say “bohemian” prospective. That’s refreshing to me, because I usually think of golf as an amusement of the ruling class (like burning peasants for ambient light once was to the French Aristocracy, or buying and selling chumps like me once was to our nation’s railroad barons).

Just because I don’t care or know anything about the game doesn’t mean I don’t have a golf memoir of my own, of course…

My experience with golf ended one summer evening many years ago as I tore across the links with a pocket full of Titleists, closely followed by an enraged (but luckily quite portly) duffer wielding a 9 iron. I think. Possibly a wood. I was running.

Before I talk about THAT memorable night, you should know that when I was only 7 years old, I had a very profitable business selling “previously owned” golf balls in my front yard, which happened to be across the street from a golf course. Each night after all the golfers had finished their games and gone home, I’d go out ball hunting with my father. He always took me out at night, but always made sure I only looked in the tall grass, in the off chance that someone was still golfing- perhaps equipped with night vision goggles or a floodlight on their cart.

Flash forward to the blogger as a surly teen. A friend and I were taking a shortcut across a different golf course in a different state one evening when I saw several balls JUST LYING THERE ON THE FAIRWAY.

My 7-year-old’s instincts kicked in. I reached down and picked them up, and absentmindedly stuffed them in my pocket. I don’t know why. I didn’t play golf. I certainly wasn’t going to put them in a basket in my front yard with a sign that said “Golf Balls 25 cents” like I did when I was seven. I guess it didn’t occur to me that anyone would still be using them. The whole reason we could safely cut across the golf course without worrying about getting concussions was that it was pretty dark, and only a fool would be out playing golf in the dark.

Looking back, I can’t really say for sure whether this particular gentleman, by which I mean the owner of the golf balls who at that exact moment started yelling at us and running in our general direction waving a dangerous looking golf club, was a fool. However I can say with some certainty that he was very angry, jaw-droppingly vulgar, and surprisingly swift for a man of his girth.

Being a decent young man, I felt guilty for what I’d done, but I quickly determined that the offended party would not at that moment be particularly receptive to my heartfelt apology. I ran, and so did my friend. We managed, if barely, to escape, thanks in large part to our youth and extreme terror.

EPILOGUE- I did receive my comeuppance. Concerns over my meeting up with this irate fellow when I didn’t have a large lead and the cover of darkness caused me to abandon this very handy shortcut.

-Norm De Plume

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Published in: on September 28, 2006 at 10:39 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Readers who followed Norm de Plume to the Chris Onstad golf stuff and found it deeply amusing (which it is – and if you didn’t find it deeply amusing you may have serious neurological damage and, as it happens, we have neurologists and surgeons in the membership who may be able to fix that for you) and who don’t already have six books on their bedside tables may want to tackle John Salter’s A Trout in the Sea of Cortez which just came out for the golf scenes, which, while not up to the Onstad level, are plenty amusing, the more so for being set in a possibly too shaggy story about a guy in Fargo whose wife has dropped a lot of weight without warning and is now almost certainly cheating on him with the town dentist who really has it in for the husband Dennis Pratt, a professional chain smoker and hazardous waste disposal tech. Pratt is getting his golf game in shape for a group vacation in Baja which will prove just as ghastly as you always suspected they would be. […]


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