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Front Page - Friday, January 2, 2015

Are We There Yet?

Jay Edwards

Friday, 7:20 a.m. - North Hills Country Club, a.k.a. The Greens at North Hills, a.k.a. Sylvan Hills Country Club. But known more commonly last Friday as @$%#$&^% Hills.

Just kidding, it was great to be back at the place where I’d been involved in so many hard-fought battles over the years. 

7:25 a.m. – Some confusion over “Who’s on First,” or in this case, “Who tees off first?” 

I expected, when I made the tee time earlier in the week at such an early hour, that we would be alone on the course. I called Randy, who agreed to join me; then I called Mark and Chock. Mark said he couldn’t make it. Chock asked if the sun was even up at 7:30. I wasn’t sure myself. Anyway, we weren’t alone. The little course in Sherwood has come so far so fast that you better make your tee times early.

Since it was just Randy and me, the pro, Dawn Darter, paired us with another twosome, Herb and Joel. Nice guys, whom we were jealous of because they got to hit from the senior’s tee box. Oh well, it won’t be long. Besides, length isn’t a problem for me; these days, the closer I get, the uglier it gets.   

7:30 a.m. – Time to go. Randy, being the judge and accustomed to holding court, went to the tee first. He hit it straight down the middle, which of course is a good thing. I followed, and after taking a pretty full swing, was surprised to look up and see the ball flying high and long down the right side, toward the garden spot. I was back home.

7:48 a.m. – I’m last to putt out on one and sink the six-footer for bogey.

8:19 a.m. – We wait by our drives on number four while the group in front putts. Next to us is the tee box for number nine, and next to it is the foursome playing number eight. But Randy and I soon surmise that they aren’t looking at the number eight green, which is about 50 yards to their right, but rather the green on the other side of the pond, which is number five, the hole they were on about 45 minutes ago.

They look confused, and rightly so, but at last determine five is their target, which is too much for Randy and me. “This alone was worth the price of admission,” Morley says. One by one they hit and look around, as if somewhere, deep inside, they know something isn’t right. We could have helped them out, but hey, this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day.

We hit our shots into the green – the right one – and I look back as the confused golfers met up with the guys who were supposed to be on number five. They straightened them out, and all was right with the world.

9:03 a.m. – We are looking for balls in the rough on number eight, and a guy playing six comes over to look for his. He checks a ball and says to Randy and me, “This one’s a Nike.” But when he said it, it was with one syllable, and it rhymed with bike. “Hey, this one here’s a Nike!” he shouted to his playing partners. I look at Randy who just shakes his head while walking away.

9:10 a.m. – On nine, I smoke my drive and have about 90 yards to the green, so naturally I hit it 120 and left. The pin is on the bottom tier of a huge slope and I’m about five yards to the left of the upper tier. I look at the challenge before me, and think back 20 years, to May 18, 1990 (a time when Nike still had two syllables and people generally knew where the greens were). The pin that day was also on the front but I was on the green, albeit on the back level. I had played the first eight holes that day in four under par, by far my best ever. But trouble on the last hole of the outward nine found me on that back level, lying four, with a nearly impossible two-putt. I hit the first putt and it rolled down the green and fell into the cup for a bogey – because it was meant to happen that day, I guess. A 37 on the back gave me a round of 70, a score I’ve never bested there.

Twenty years later, on the same hole, I had a chip shot for birdie. Four shots later the ball was in the hole and I was ten over on my way to an 87.

Bad karma? Perhaps – for not telling those guys where the right green was, or for laughing at the guy and his one-syllable Nike. More likely though, it was just lousy play. Hey, it’s still golf.

Something that is “there yet” are all of Jay’s past columns on our new website at www.dailyrecord.us.

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com