GAMESMANSHIP

 

No better case can be presented for the prohibition of women from the golf course than the following tale.

 

An aging golfer, who shall remain anonymous, had just purchased at ruinous expense, two new wedges representing the very ultimate in golf technology.  Their shape, feel, and balance, all custom crafted to suit the player, were representative of the highest level of fine-tuning.  None better could be found for the intended purpose, and little more could be spent to enhance the suitability of the fine instruments.  They awaited only the initial test to prove their worthiness.

 

Dizzy with elation, the golfer, whom we shall call Newt for simplicity, readied the tools for their first test.  Standing before the practice green, he emptied a bag of practice orbs, distributing them in a semi-circle to lead the player through a series of changing distances and angles.  Pacing the distance to the target hole, Newt set the pin squarely in its receptacle, making ready for the trial.  The stage was set to bring the wedges to bear.  The grand moment had arrived.

 

Taking his position to begin the session, Newt carefully noted his alignment relative to the surroundings.  Immediately to his left was sand bunker delineating the limits of available green; to his right was a freshly mown line of grass that separated the practice tee from the chipping area.  Straight ahead, some fourteen yards stood the pin staff with flag fully unfurled to the gentle breeze.

 

The first shot leapt from the clubface, spinning to a halt near the target hole.  Another followed, then another.  It was child’s play.  Like a sculptor bringing forth the form of Aphrodite from a block of stone, Newt honed finer with each shot.  Such mastery had never graced his game.  He was climbing toward the pinnacle of his life’s work.

 

A golf cart pulled up nearby, and from it stepped the lithe form of his pal, Rebecca.  She, much younger than he, still had skill, wit, and good looks to keep her in front of the pack.  A former professional, Rebecca played the game of golf as well as he played the game of life, holding suitors at bay and manipulating them with her gamesmanship was her style.  A failed paramour, Newt remained drawn to her youth and carefree demeanor.

 

Newt’s mind raced as she turned to greet him.  He longed to demonstrate his newfound prowess and suddenly gain her favor, gesturing the new wedge as if it were a magic wand.  Gathering himself, he showed his most carefully contrived smile, deftly dropping the eyelids slightly, as to create an air of jauntiness.  His belly sucked strongly toward his spine.

 

“Hi, Rebecca!  What’s up?” he queried with the coolest mannerisms all working in close accord.

 

“’Just practicing a little,” she replied, “Whatcha got there?”

 

“Oh, I just picked up some new toys.  This is the first time out for these babies.”

 

“How do you like ‘em?” she asked.

 

“Love ‘em.  I think I’ve found it!” he exclaimed.

 

Now, it was time to make that pivotal move.  Newt must demonstrate his total dominance of the new instruments.  He must exude god-like mastery and dazzle this young beauty with his skills.  Smoothly he must now turn to the ball and demonstrate his adroit virtuosity.

 

Like a mating dance, a series of deftly executed shots should gain the lady’s favor.  Then, mesmerized by Newt’s prowess, she might opt for a cocktail after the practice session.  A little small talk, an exchange of knowing glances, and the night is his.  Like putty in his hands, the comely Rebecca would be overtaken by the aura of the suave suitor.  Taken by his dazzling acts, for her there would be no escape.

 

“Watch this,” said Newt, moving stealthily into position to fire another golf shot and win over the impetuous spectator.  No greater thrill had been given Becky Thatcher by Tom Sawyer than the show Newt now planned for Rebecca.

 

Casually, and with all the flare he could muster, Newt took his stance over a practice ball.  His stance was visually verified and aligned.  He gripped the club more firmly to assure that no wristiness would afflict his motion.  Mellifluously, Newt drew back the sand iron, slowly and deliberately, taking the club a bit outside the target path.  At the limit of the backswing, the wrists were firmly set, and the club ready for the path down and through the ball.  Ever slightly, Newt accelerated the down flow of this wondrous swing.

 

Though brief as a wisp of smoke, a golf shot can yield memories that become indelibly impressed in the mind of the golfer.  This was just such a moment for Newt.

 

As he skillfully set his hips and shoulders in motion for the downswing, his eyes seized the ball as his target, remaining entranced as the decisive moment approached.

 

Bearing down upon the target, the club head began to release as the centrifugal force overtook the weighty head and thrust it toward the ball.  Turning beautifully, Newt’s right shoulder fell just below the intended plane, causing the club to encounter an unexpected contact with terra firma at a point about six inches behind the ball.  Hell bent, the bouncing club continued to pursue the ball, scuffing it into a weak upward arc, where the ball appeared to peak at near-knee height about one foot from its original repose.  Still committed, the club was not to be denied.  Turning about the axis of the shaft, the club continued along its delivered path with the toe now leading the way.  Just before passing the left knee of the executor, the club engaged the ball for yet another blow – the second such encounter in this singular effort.  Successfully, the club lashed through the ball, turning it unexpectedly to the left by an angle of no less than eighty degrees.  Spryly, the ball soared upward at far more speed than before and suddenly dropped over a mound into the sand bunker immediately to the player’s left.

 

A chili dip, a scrape, and a double-kiss with a swirling club head had rendered the ball dormant again in a bunker fully ten yards left, off the players left shoulder, and virtually perpendicular to the intended path.  The total elapsed time was less than one-half a second.

 

In the duration of a churlish wink, Newt had taken himself from the throes of conquest to the dungeon of humiliation.  It was done, and it was irreversible. 

 

A man past mid-life hopes that he has lived long enough that he shall never again hear the words the smiling Rebecca then spoke, “Can you do that again?”

 

Quietly Newt dismissed the girl to her own devices and began marshalling his gear.  Being careful to mask his haste to exit the scene, he scratched a tee through the grooves of his new golf club as if to clean the club for later use.  From the corner of his eye, he waited for Rebecca to address a practice shot.

 

Newt quietly mounted his cart, and in a low voice bade the lovely Rebecca farewell as he drove away.

 

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