It had been a couple of years since the aging athlete had spent time with the old mistress. It was best to stay away, anyway. Like an alcoholic who had learned to stay away from liquid temptation, he’d been able to distract himself with other hobbies, such as long-distance running. He knew one wrong move (aka, an encounter) could become a disastrous distraction. And his life didn’t need any more chaos in 2020. Unfortunately, the lure of the mistress is a powerful force.
The 1986 Boyfriend
In April 1986, a reluctant boyfriend agreed to go for a Saturday walk in the outdoors at an old nursery in Augusta, Georgia to appease his girlfriend. “Oh, and there will be golf there, too,” she said.
UGH! thought the boyfriend, a baseball player. Who cares about boring old golf?
Of course, to keep the peace and because the tickets were free, the boyfriend went along. Wouldn’t you know, a funny thing happened under some tall pine trees, while the young couple ate pimento cheese sandwiches and drank Cokes. The young man realized A) he might be visiting heaven at this old nursery now called Augusta National Golf Club. If not, it was definitely the most beautiful place on earth he’d ever seen, and B) this golf stuff wasn’t so bad.
The next afternoon, Masters Sunday 1986, the young man did something he couldn’t recall ever doing before. He turned the channel to CBS and watched golf on television to see who would win. And what a final round to watch. Voted the #1 Masters of all time by a bunch of sportswriters, Jack Nicklaus won his 6th Masters at the then-ancient age of 46…, and mistress was born.
Baseball was soon history and the boyfriend pursued golf with a passion. A few years later he married the girlfriend. The bachelor party was 18 holes at the now long-defunct Peach Blossom Par 3 in Greer, SC. Not exactly Augusta National, but the price was right. Eventually, when the bride complained about golf being in the way of almost everything, the groom reminded her of that fateful day in 1986.
For almost 20 years, the ex-baseball player visited the mistress often, practicing and playing several times a week, building himself into a low handicap golfer and entering a few local and state tournaments. Fortunately, he almost never had to buy golf balls thanks to a touring pro friend who passed along used balls and later a father-in-law who lived on a golf course and collected every brand of ball known to man, right out of his back yard. That helped with expenses a great deal.
When the couple’s first child came along, a son, it wasn’t long before he was accompanying dad to the golf course. The toddler would play a hole or two and then want to play in the sand traps or chase rabbits. Eventually, the second child, a daughter, came along about the same time the country club dues skyrocketed. Golf went by the wayside, and the bags of clubs began to collect dust in the back of the garage.
The 2020 Boyfriend
There are at least two problems with having daughters. First, they grow up and become teenagers. Second, they are likely to bring home a boy. In 2020, the daughter of the ex-baseball player, ex-golfer did exactly that – already a teenager, she brought home a boyfriend. Not only had this new boyfriend discovered the ex-golfer’s daughter, but he had also recently discovered golf. This fact amused the ex-golfer, and he even dug out an old golf club made out of persimmon wood to show the young lad, who’d never seen a wooden driver.
This is why the old athlete found himself back in Augusta, GA, on a hot, late-July day, unable to stay away from the mistress. Unfortunately, he was not at Augusta National as in 1986. This time, he was at a place called Top Golf, with the entire family. In short, Top Golf is a fancy driving range, with covered bays, and wait staff who bring you food and drink. There are video cameras (at the new ones) that track the balls as participants hit toward targets to earn points and compete against each other in games selected on the computer.
The family had a blast, (a sweaty blast since it was July) and the old ex-baseball player, ex-golfer, now father of a teenage daughter hit some really good shots. It was almost like riding a bicycle…and he caught a little fever. Not a COVID fever, thank goodness, but a little golf fever. The dad and new boyfriend made plans to go to a real driving range soon thereafter. The dad knew it was risky, but he could quit anytime he wanted…
The new boyfriend soon began to learn a lesson, though: golf and girls are expensive. A very similar lesson the ex-golfer dad learned back in the day when he ‘retired’ from golf with a daughter on the way. So, the young lad found a job, and the driving range trip went on hold for a couple of months.
Finally, though, on a recent beautiful Sunday afternoon, the 1986 boyfriend and the 2020 boyfriend made it to the driving range. The 1986’er paid the $11 for a massive bucket of balls and set up on the real grass. No forgiving artificial turf mats like Top Golf. No, sir. Real golfers hit off real grass.
1986 hit a few balls, trying to loosen up. But the loosening wasn’t going well. The old irons were heavier than he remembered and the shafts seemed way stiffer. He hit a few good ones, but the bad ones were really bad, a perfect vaccine for golf fever. So, 1986 spent more time helping 2020 line up correctly and let the young lad hit most of the balls.
Maybe 1986 helped 2020 improve his swing. Only time will tell. Or perhaps, 2020 boyfriend will be smarter and forget the mistress before her grip can’t be loosened. There was some talk about a trip to an actual golf course, but thanks to shanks and soreness, 1986 is still resisting that temptation. Too bad the Peach Blossom Par 3 is no longer around. That would be irresistible.
Thanks for reading,