One never knows what’s going to happen on the golf course

There are many things in life that you can mark down as a sure bet. Your spouse, for example, is going to greet you with a cheery hello every morning. Similarly, you are going to have to cut your grass again, even after so little rainfall took place for six weeks that you were sure it would never recover.

Yes, we know for certain that some things will take place. Then there’s a round of golf. Though we are not sure how the day will go, we all have expectations. Then, we go out and play and all those hopes and dreams get dashed — one by one. The only thing one knows for sure about this fickle game is to expect the unexpected.

Our group went to Oak Harbor this past week to enjoy the hot and humid weather. Golfing in intense heat is not ideal, but it does beat mowing that stupid grass that did indeed come back to life. Or does it?

Just when you think you have the hang of this game, strange things take place. Your likely response will be: “how the heck (I’m paraphrasing) did that happen?” I’ll give you some examples. We’ll see if any (or all) of these things have happened to you on the golf course.

How can you hit 15 consecutive drives slightly to the right and then pull one so far left that it ends up in a different county? Someone once told me that the key to golf is to know where your misses are going. There is some truth to that. If you know you will hit the ball with a slight fade, then you can play for that shot.

Of course, when the duck hook comes out of nowhere… you utter something that a drunken sailor might say and move on!

How can one not lose a golf ball for six weeks and then lose two on consecutive shots on the same hole? Here’s how: First the drive does not get airborne and trees swallow up your tee shot. You drop and hit a “safe” iron shot to put the new ball back in play, but don’t cover the small body of water that should not be a factor. How does that happen!

Still steaming over the tee shot? I suppose that could be part of the problem, but that’s two balls lost and the phrase “they make new golf balls every day” is not what you want to hear!

How does one miss a straight four foot putt up the hill for birdie, but make a -footer with a two foot break for triple bogey? Well, the latter happened to me and yes, it was on the “tree” and “water” hole just mentioned.

How does one strike his 8-iron the same distance 50 times in a row and then hit the same club 20 yards short with no appreciable wind to knock it down? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am not going to tell you how far I normally hit my 8-iron. That would be too embarrassing. Let’s just say it is a shorter distance than it used to be!

Here’s one more question. How does one shoot a 46 on one side, but card a 37 on the other nine? Well, here’s a hint: he guy started one nine with two pars. He ended the other nine with two bogeys. Can you guess which nine was the one over par side and which was the ten over side? It may not be what you think!

In addition to the strange shots that golfers make occasionally some of the sights you encounter on the course can be a little different. We have played Oak Harbor for several years and one of the things we always looked forward to was the eagle’s nest near the 14th green. We almost always saw the majestic bird.

It is not there anymore which is too bad because it is always fun to see wildlife while playing. I have seen deer, foxes, gators and a four foot snake that made me run in the opposite direction. Truth be known, a garter snake would prompt the same reaction from me. My brother-in-law and I saw evidence of a moose on an Alaskan golf course though not the animal itself. Watching where you walked was a priority there.

One of the funniest moments on a golf course came one time in Florida. As my buddies and I were about to tee off a course worker came over and warned us that a bear had been spotted earlier that morning. That prompted one of the guys to look at one of our oldest players and ask this question.

“Do you think you can outrun a bear, Hoffy?” Without hesitation he said, “I don’t have to outrun a bear. I only have to outrun one of you!”

We laughed, but were very happy when the round came to an end and no bear was sighted!

You never know for sure what is going to happen on a golf course, but you can bet something strange will likely happen every time you take to the links. As for the sure bets mentioned earlier… You better hope you didn’t do something stupid in the dream your wife had the night before!

Al Stephenson is the golf columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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