Key Art Banner

Last Call: Splendor In The Grass

A drinker's guide to mastering the executive course.
Posted on Apr 2, 2018 | 07:00am
By Stanley Bing

Spring has sprung, which means it won't be long before that little white ball starts sailing through the air, often in the wrong direction.

I am speaking, of course, about the game of golf, which is a beloved and voluntary pastime for a lucky few, but for others like myself, a nightmare we are condemned to endure every now and then as part of the job.

The good news for the downtrodden is that with the decline of corporate boondoggles in recent years, the requirement to get out there and be humiliated is somewhat diminished. But it still exists.

Imagine: You are summoned to join your peers to desecrate one of the most revered golf courses in the world: Pebble Beach. Here you stand. The first tee. All the greats of the game have lofted their maiden shot down the lovely opening fairway that leads to the luminous green some 375 yards away.

You feel the weight of history on your shoulders. The Cathedral of Notre Dame. The Pyramids of Giza. The ruins of Machu Picchu. None of them surpass the awesome might of this venerated spot that ushers you into this Mecca.

Close by, your caddy stands, watching. He has accompanied all the greats. Now he is stuck with you. To your left, across a macadam path, a hundred or so genuine golfers stand, putting on their gloves, adjusting their jodhpurs, smirking with amusement.

You address the ball: "Hello, ball!" No one laughs. OK, then. This is the moment. Your opening drive. You keep your head down. Left leg. Right leg. Loosen the back. You hoist your club over your head and... you swing!

A mighty blast! And the horrid little ball dribbles six or seven feet off to the left and stops.

You hear sniggering. A sigh from the caddy. It's one of those dreams where you go out on stage to play Hamlet... and suddenly realize that you are naked in front of all those people. Except there's no waking up from this one. You have to tee it up and start again.

Is there any question as to why most of us prefer to play the game drunk? Fortunately, the gods of the game know this and have provided the tool for this strategy.

It's called the drinks cart. Of course, serious golfers eschew such frivolity until what they call the 19th Green. That's why you have to stay away from them.

Very early on in my corporate golfing career, I decided on a certain tactic. When the boondoggle was announced, I quietly sent a message out: "All those who cannot play the game and want to have a nice day out on the course, drinking and avoiding all grown-ups, please call extension 2121."

First time I did this, I expected two or three pathetic souls such as myself. I got enough to fill four golf carts of wild and crazy losers.

We waited until all the serious golfer/gamblers were out there, scowling, cursing, throwing their clubs, and acting like babies. Then we took off, tooling around the countryside, hitting the occasional ball, downing all the beer we could drain from the drinks cart, which followed along behind like a faithful Saint Bernard. We ran out of golf balls on the 11th hole. No matter. You don't need clubs and balls to play this game.

Before you head out for your day of sun and fun, however, a word of warning. When the adults are at their religious observances, do not buzz their ablutions. Do not circle the greens upon which they are putting, hooting, and yowling with intoxicated glee.

Do not make a loud, rude noise just as the Chairman is about to smack his or her driver on the 18th tee. It's still part of the job, you know, even though it looks like a silly game.

Come to think of it, that describes a lot of what we do, doesn't it?

Illustration by Michael Byers | Originally published in Watch! Magazine, March-April 2018.