When I was a youth in New Jersey, I played golf from time to time as it was a fairly cheap way to spend an afternoon since the county courses had youth rates. My dad got me my own set of clubs, a serviceable set. Playing at my best, I could manage bogie golf (1 over par on average).
Adobe, for a number of years, ran a golf tournament that I had always intended to play in, so one year I brought it up with some of the other engineers on the Acrobat team. I roped in Mike Pell, Mike Diamond, and Alan Wootton. All of us had played golf previously except for Alan. We went out to a local 9 hole pitch and putt to see what Alan could do and to see how rusty the rest of us were. We were all pretty bad. The only two things that I remember that were remarkable from that practice round:
- Alan consistently hit worm burners. Nearly every shot was straight as an arrow but hugged the ground.
- I landed a shot into a water hazard and rather than take the penalty, I waded in up to mid shin since I could see my ball and managed to hit it back onto the course.
(from left to right, Mike Diamond, Mike Pell, Alan Wootton)
We were pretty happy with Alan’s golfing because the tournament used “best ball” rules meaning that on any given shot, the team picks which shot they thought was the best and everyone takes a shot from that point to continue on. It makes the game somewhat faster, but in our case we could count on having one person who could hit the ball straight.
Then Mike took Alan to a driving range near Adobe. Mike taught Alan to hit the ball in the air instead of on the ground. And he also taught Alan to slice. Just like the rest of us. Damn it. For what it’s worth, I play left-handed so at least one ball would end up on the other side of the course.
We were terrible. Absolutely awful. We all spent lots of time in the rough. Mike Pell was the king of the Mulligan from the tee. Mike said “You guys don’t mind if I take that again?” several times on the course. On the last hole, Mike Diamond got way under the ball and it hit a low tree branch and rebounded and landed behind him. Many times we weren’t playing best ball but least worst ball instead. In the whole game, I think I only had one good shot, which was on a dog leg with some trees at the bend and some water, I think.
I went last, if I recall correctly. Mike Pell had the best shot at this point which was a little shy of the bend. Since we had something to fall back on, I aimed for the trees and put everything I had into the shot and I cleared the trees. At least I think I did, but nobody believed me. We picked up bags and headed to Mike’s ball, which we took as the next shot, which was a shame because I found my ball further up in a decent lay. Oh well.
In the end, we came in second to last, but not by much. We were truly terrible golfers to behold.