November 18, 2008

It must have been a dream, as the weather was warm, puffy white clouds dotted the sky above, and a soft breeze stirred the scrub pines nearby. It was then I realized I was on a golf course, it was summer, and I was with the Goodboys. But these weren’t “The” Goodboys, but people who have nothing to do with the Goodboys but had somehow become Goodboys in my dream, if you know what I mean. After all, in dreams peoples and places tend to get kinda jumbled up.

What I remember was that I was on the Port Course at The Captains Golf Course in Brewster, Mass – home of the famous Goodboys Invitational annual golf tournament. I don’t think I was on the 8th hole, a mammoth 573-yard par 5 that has been my ruin ever since I first stepped forth onto the course; actually, I don’t know where I was – but somehow that 8th hole was in my head and at the center of my dream.

Ed. note: Sure this was a dream, but it easily could have been called a nightmare in the golf sense of the word. What has always made this particular hole so difficult for me is the challenge of accuracy and distance control – something that, when your golf nickname is The Great White Shank, you obviously don’t bring in spades. Assuming, of course, you can hit a decent drive off the tee (something I rarely do anyways), your second shot becomes kind of critical because at some point out there, the fairway starts sloping harshly downward towards a pond that lies at the bottom of the hill. If you go too far, you’re hitting on a downslope to an elevated green surrounded by woods on the back and left, so there’s precious little room for error.

Me, my hole usually goes something like this: my first shot is short off the tee or in rough or trees to the left or right, so I play out to the center of the fairway, but now I have to be concerned about not going too far so as to avoid hitting my next shot on that downslope, so I try to baby it and usually fluff it, whereby I now have to baby my fourth shot to get in a range I’m comfortable with, but of course I either hit it too far or too short meaning I’m now hitting my fifth on that freakin’ downslope or still way too far back to be comfortable so I either hit it in the pond or squirrel it off to the side or hit it too far into the woods, so now I’m either lying six or seven and have to play up to that elevated green but by then it’s like, “screw it”, it’s just as easy to take my double par (a Goodboys rule), save my strength, and have a sip of beer and focus on the next hole where I can go back to having at least a shot at having a decent hole, see you next year you freakin’ stupid hole I hate your freakin’ guts.

Or something like that.

So there I was with the Goodboys, but they weren’t the Goodboys I knew. Ron “Cubby” Myerow was there, as was my departed friend The Doc, but so was Nolita, the bartender at the pizza joint we get takeout from on Fridays (not only does Nolita not play golf, but why she was a Goodboys is anyone’s guess), and none other than Todd Palin, of all people, except I don’t think he looked like Todd Palin, but again, in dreams things get all jumbled. And no, I don’t remember seeing Sarah there with him. The strange thing was, although this was a golf dream, I wasn’t playing golf. Actually, I don’t remember what I was doing.

If this were truly a golf dream, me and Todd would be standing there surrounded by cute beer-cart girls and tossing back a brewskie when suddenly the heavens would open and the voice of David Leadbetter would read that day’s Gospel lesson…

“A reading from The Captain Golf Course’s website, front nine, 8th hole:

“A blast from the past from the original Captains. This par five will test your entire game from letting it go off the tee, picking the right spot for your second shot and the approach into a green guarded by a pond.”

“Here endeth today’s lesson. May the golf gods have mercy on your pathetic souls.”

“Don’t just stand there. Toss me a cold one, willya?”

…and suddenly everything would make sense and David would proceed to tell me the secret to playing the 8th hole on the Port Course at The Captains Golf Course in Brewster Massachusetts on the weekend of the Goodboys Invitational Golf Tournament with all my Goodboys friends.

Which, actually, in a way, was what happened. I awoke from my sleep and lie there, the whole weirdness of the dream washing over me and stuck in my head not unlike that Billy Mays “Awesome Auger” infomercial. Tracey was sound asleep beside me. In her cage next to the bed, Peanut (a.k.a., “The Little Bitch” was up to no good as usual, gnawing on her cage incessantly.

My first thought was to take that rabbit out for a swim in the pool, so tantalizingly close by – if you know what I mean.

But all of a sudden, it occurred to me that I had been playing that 8th hole at the Port Course wrong all these years. And I had me a revelation. You see, as a 30-handicap I long ago gave up the idea of shooting at pins like some half-assed Lee Trevino, satisfying myself with simply trying to play bogey golf – y’know, play the par 3s like par 4s, the par 4s like par 5s, etc. And while it’s not a perfect system, I have found my overall course management and decision-making improved and my scores settling into the 100-108 range more often than not.

And I awoke to realize the best way to approach the Port Course 8th hole was to play it like a par 6. First I fearlessly bang my drive out to the middle of the fairway. Then, caring not what happens to my next shot, I take out my 5-wood and hit it as far as I can, expecting pretty much that it’ll end up lost somewhere around the pond. Then, lying three, I pull out a short iron and bang it into the hill upon which the elevated green sits. I chip on, two putts, and at worst I’m double bogey. If I make a good chip or a good putt, I bogey the hole, and all I’m out is one more lost golf ball – something I’ve never cared about anyways.

It was all so clear to me. My golf dream really was a golf lesson of sorts. Now I can’t wait for next July and a chance to put my plan into effect. And if it works, I have a letter to Todd Palin I need to write. He’ll never believe it it, but maybe I’ll even get an invite to come up and meet Sarah.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 00:14 | Comments (4)
  1. Interesting dream partner.

    For me its a nightmare. But if Sarah Palin
    walked into Molly’s, i’d be glad to offer her a drink.


    Comment by Ronald Myerow — November 18, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  2. Hey partner – good to hear from you!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 18, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  3. I play EVERY par-5 as a par-8. This way I am almost never disappointed.

    Comment by Dave Richard — November 19, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

  4. heh. Indeed. Good line, bro!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 19, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

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