Tipping my cap to golf

You would think I would learn from my mistakes. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

There I was preparing to play 18 holes of golf in the bright sunshine with our son, Joe, and I had no cap for my bald head. That’s the same head that had just finished peeling after I sat in the stadium at Ole Miss earlier this month without one – cap, that is.
As I handed the clerk at the Big Oaks Golf Course in Saltillo my credit card to pay for the golf, the display of caps caught my eye.
“I’m going to need one of those,” I said.
There must have been 30 different ones, all with labels like “Callaway,” “TaylorMade,” Titleist,” and the like.
“Don’t you have something a little less pretentious?” I asked, explaining that neither I nor Joe really know how to play golf. We just go out once or twice a year and knock the ball around until we get tired and frustrated. Well, that’s not really true. I’m usually frustrated by hole number 3, but we play on anyway.
The clerk pointed to a simple, blue hat in the corner that just said, “Big Oaks.”
“That one is perfect,” I said.
“That’ll be $18.95,” said the clerk.
My jaw dropped.
“They’re all $18.95,” he said.
I put on my pretentiously priced, but not pretentiously labeled cap and we headed to the tee. So far I had spent a day of vacation, $60 for the golf and cart, and $18.95 for the cap, and we hadn’t even started.
But it was the thing to do while Joe was home on fall break. Father-son bonding and all that kind of thing, you know. I had taken a vacation day so we could play on a Monday, when we were less likely to interfere with real golfers because we take so many shots to get the ball in the hole.
It was a perfect day for us to play. We only had to get off the course four or five times to let players who knew what they were doing play through.
The highlights:
– I lost seven balls and Joe lost at least a dozen. I lose fewer balls because I can’t hit them very far. Joe has a mighty swing that often sends the ball 250 yards; he just never knows in which direction. I couldn’t even find one ball that I saw hit in the middle of the fairway.
– I actually had a bogey 5 on a par 4 hole, way better than the typical eight or nine shots per hole that I usually take.
– The best part of the day was the 20-minute break halfway through for a grilled hot dog and chips in the clubhouse. They were yummy.
– Both Joe and I shot our best games ever. I had 145 and Joe, 129. And you thought I was kidding when I said we don’t know how to play golf!
– It took us five-and-a-half hours to play 18 holes, and we spent so much time searching for balls that we ran the battery down on the golf cart. Oh, well.
Finally, it was over. I was sore and tired as I lugged the clubs into the house and stashed them back in the closet.
As I put my “Big Oaks” cap on the closet shelf, I noticed it was an exact twin of one already there.
I didn’t remember to take a cap last time either. Sigh.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at publisher@newalbanygazette.com.