An 18 Hole Round Of Golf and Life

18 HoleAll PGA golf tournaments in the USA are comprised of 18 hole rounds of golf. For the most part, PAR IS 72 for 18 holes. And if the good Lord allows us to live 72 years here on earth, that means it takes us four years to complete each of the 18 HOLES OF OUR ONE ROUND OF LIFE.

One year for our DRIVE, one year for our SECOND SHOT or approach shot, one year for our FIRST PUTT, and one year for our SECOND PUTT. We are also assuming we have no ONE-PUTT greens, which for great putters like my nephew Phillip, his son Josh, and the best teaching pro on the planet, Billy Beverly, that’s a hard pill to swallow. It makes the math easier to understand if we eliminate the PAR 3 AND PAR 5 holes as well.

For example, Phillip was born in 1963, and now he is 51. That means Phillip finished hole number 12 when he turned 48, and is now playing hole number 13. When he turned 49, that was his drive on number 13. When he turned 50, that was his second or approach shot to the number 13 green, and when he turned 51, that was his FIRST PUTT of two. We are also assuming that all approach shots hit the green, much like Mr. Hogan would gladly approve of. So, when Phillip turns 52 next year, he will tap in his SECOND PUTT for another par, and finishing hole number 13.

Phillip’s son Josh, just turned 19. Oh, to be that young again! Josh completed hole number 4, hit his drive on number 5, hit is second shot, and his first putt on number 5. When he turns 20 next year, he’ll tap in his SECOND PUTT on number 5, and walk to the 6th hole tee box.

With the health history of my family, I honestly and truly thought I would never see age 40. My grandfather, on my mother’s side, had a heart attack and died at age 43. My mother had all sorts of heart problems, and did not survive quad-ruple bypass surgery. Take any life expectancy exam and the first question is always, “HAVE YOU, OR ANY MEMBER OF YOUR IMMEDIATE FAMILY, EVER HAD HEART PROBLEMS OR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?” If you answer yes, “YOU ARE A MARKED MAN OR WOMAN”. Ask any doctor and they will tell you that.

For three years I used to jog and run between 40 and 60 miles a week, ran four 26.2 mile marathons, and weighed 146 pounds. My belief was maybe I could sway the scales of time in my favor somehow. My doctor set me straight. There are NO STUDIES WHATSOEVER THAT SHOW YOU LENGTHEN YOUR LIFE BY ONE DAY BY RUNNING LONG DISTANCES. However, if you have always been a runner, like my manager John Byers, or most of the children from Ethiopia who run 80 to 140 miles a week most of their lives, their are NO AUTOPSY REPORTS OF RUNNERS LIKE THAT HAVING HEART PROBLEMS.

When I hit 40, I remember telling Carole that 50 YEARS OLD IS REALY OLD. Well, 50 hit me so fast my eyes watered. Then, it was 50 is not old, but 60 — now THAT IS REALLY, REALLY OLD.

God has a tremendous sense of humor. I hit 60 LIKE YESTERDAY, and I still felt, thought, taught, and acted like I am 40. But, I said to myself, NOW 70 – THAT IS REALLY, REALLY, REALLY OLD.

I’m getting ready to turn 70 ONLY BY THE GRACE OF GOD. I came close to dying just last week when the driver of a van was texting, and jumped the curb, and missed me by inches, as he was traveling close to 50 mph.

However, I will not say that 70 is not old, and that 80 is.
70 IS OLD! PERIOD! NO DEBATE!

You have muscles that ache each day that you did not know ever existed! Everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt – doesn’t work!

My idea of weight lifting is trying to get off of my rocking chair twice. A night on the town, is sitting on my patio.
I have sex now almost seven times a week – almost on Sunday, almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday, almost on Thursday, almost on Friday, and almost on Saturday. Getting “LUCKY” means I found my car in the parking lot! Thank goodness for those clickers attached to the car keys. The only way I seem to find my car is to depress the red panic button, that annoys the heck out of everyone but me. It always brings a smile to my face when I hear the horn blasting, and the lights blinking.

I tried to straighten out the wrinkles in my socks the other day, only to discover I was not wearing any. At breakfast yesterday morning, I heard a SNAP, CRACKLE and POP, and I wasn’t eating any cereal. My back keeps going out, but I stay home. My HAPPY HOUR is taking a nap. It now takes longer to rest, than it used to get tired. My address book is full of names that start with Dr. My pharmacist has become my new best friend. It takes twice as long now to look half as good as I once did. I spent thirty minutes looking for my sunglasses the other day, and they were on top of the cap I was wearing!

But, back to my round of golf. I finished hole number 17 when I turned 68. When I hit 69 last year, I hit a gorgeous long high tee shot with a slight fade, that made Mr. Hogan even smile as he watched me from the back of the 18th green. Now, my caddy and I have arrived at my ball sitting in the middle of the fairway. As I fold my arms across my chest as Ben Hogan used to do, I exhale a puff from my cigarette and watch what effect the wind has on the smoke as it quickly rises from my mouth. I believe to this day, that was one of Ben’s favorite tricks and secrets. He did not go by what the wind FEELS LIKE, BUT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. Since the smoke is going right at about a 45 degree angle, and is moving quickly, my approach shot calls for a big draw, since the pin is in the front left of the green. This also calls for a high shot with a big draw. This was my favorite shot for many years.

I have taken the correct club for the shot, a seven iron, from my caddy. My caddy says, “Hit it close Pete!”. I am now starring at the pin, and only the pin. The water, bunker, trees, gallery, and all noises are completely out of my mind. Even the red light from the CBS camera on the tower behind the 18th green is blocked out of my mind. I take a couple of practice swings looking at the pin the entire time. I step up to the ball, and begin my three waggles, but then something draws my attention for a moment, before I begin my forward press.

Standing around the 18th green in the gallery is my 7th grade buddy Bruce Howell, mother, grand father, grand mother, uncle Bud, aunt Squirt, LD, Mildred, grandmother Perkins, Pete Maravich, Press Maravich, Mrs. Maravich, Ben and Valerie Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazan,
Tommy Bolt, Jimmy Demaret, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Barbara Masters, Garland Knight, Lloyd Vaughn, Mr. Chastain,
Lee Wallard, Walt Brown, Bill Schindler, Bill Vukovich, Rich Vogler, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Charles Lindbergh, Goose Tatum, Emmet Kelly, Billy Sunday, Babe Ruth, Audie Murphy,
John Kennedy, Ike, Peter, and Jesus. All of them appear to be smiling, and that greatly relieves the anxiety of my last approach shot.

Then I take my forward press, and begin my backswing. I stop briefly at the top of my backswing to make sure I have complete control of the club. Mr. Hogan referred to this as “THE CROSSROADS OF GOLF”, and then I slide by hips violently and quickly to the left, to create the necessary lag so my seven-iron will strike the little white sphere the way I want. Bam! Its a great hit, and the ball is flying high and is drawing perfectly.

If God permits, maybe I’ll live long enough to take my two putts. But, my round could end in a tie, and I’ll be in a sudden death playoff. Only he knows.

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About the Author:

Have taught Oracle software classes for the past twenty-four years. Am trying to complete my third book, an autobiography, before it is too late. My first two books were about Oracle SQL*Plus.

  • Cher Duncombe

    Pierre, this is a laugh-out-loud, brilliantly written article! And though I don’t play golf, I watch it many Saturday afternoons with my husband. I cheer for the older guys and sometimes Rory cause he looks cute in golf outfits.

    I can relate to everything you have said but especially to being on a doctor’s watchlist. These days I give them nuthin’ about my family history. They get paid big bucks to figure that out.

    Superb writing! I look forward to many more wrongs by you.

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  • Cher Duncombe

    Pierre, this was a laugh-out-loud, brilliantly written article! Though I don’t play golf, I do watch it Saturday afternoons with my husband. I usually cheer for the older guys like Michelson, but then, there is Rory who looks awfully good in his golfing outfit. 😉

    I can relate to you about the doctor issues. These days I tell them nuthin’ about my family history. They get paid big bucks to figure things out and now…it goes on your permanent record!

    I truly look forward to many more articles by you.

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