This is a photo of my brothers. (Not all of them. Sorry, Dave. Sorry, Mark. Not pictured.)
This is a photo of my other brothers. (Charlie, me, Jim and Bob, from left to right). It hangs on the wall of my office, along with a canvas of Luke and Mary Jo, a little work memorabilia and a duck call from, I think, Stone Mountain Park. I have no idea why that duck call is there.
Next week, the four brothers pictured above will make our annual trip to Pawleys Island, SC, to play some golf. (That picture was taken at the TPC Myrtle Beach, a couple years ago.) Our outing has been going on for something like nine years now. We haven’t all gone every year. Eldest bro Charlie, who lives in Honolulu, has missed three or four of them, I’d say. But he’ll be there this year and the four of us will, yep, play some golf.
Well … not good golf. Not good golf at all. It is, truth be told, some pretty godawful golf. Terrible, shake-your-head golf. General Halftrack would be at home in our foursome. Charles Barkley could hang with us.
Let me give you an example of just how bad this promises to be. Brother Charlie didn’t make it last year, and in the five rounds that Bob and Jim and I each played — that’s 15 rounds, total — we broke 100 exactly zero times. I’ll bet we didn’t have more than one birdie in — let me add this up — 270 holes. We may not have had 10 pars in that many holes.
And let’s get serious here. If Charlie had played, the percentages weren’t heading up any.
Yeah, we’re not good, and that’s largely because (besides a possible lack of skill) that weekend in Pawleys is about the only time any of us plays golf all year. Jim may get in a a few — say, five — rounds the rest of the year. Bob probably gets in three or four. Not sure about Charlie, but he sure doesn’t act like he plays a lot.
Me … I have gone whole years in which the only time I golfed was in Pawleys. One year I got in four more rounds, I think, when Jim and I joined a couple of my brothers-in-law in Tennessee to shoot. That didn’t help any, by the way.
So, yeah, when we go to Pawleys, the scores are high. Maybe the only thing higher are the expectations.
I don’t know why — maybe this is a golf thing, and maybe it’s because we’ve been playing this game our whole lives, starting when Dad took us out for early morning rounds at Garrisons Lake or, later, at Caroline Country Club across the border in Maryland — but we all think we can shoot much better than we can. We certainly think we should.
We have no earthly reason to believe this, of course. Remember, we don’t practice.
But, yeah, we all believe sub-100 rounds are right around the corner. We all are on the verge of figuring it out. We all have ideas.
The most infamous idea came from little bro Jim, who came to Pawleys one year promising to uncork on us something called the tilt and stack (or, as I look this up, I guess it’s the stack and tilt). Well, I’m not sure we ever saw the tilt and stack. Or the stack and tilt. Jim abandoned it before he got to South Carolina. He shot the same.
This year, big bro Bob and I are trying to transition to what we call OMG — Old Man’s Golf. If you’ve ever picked up a golf club, or watched old guys play, you know what we mean.
Slow, steady swings. Rhythmic. Don’t worry about distance. Let the club do the work. Short and in the middle of the fairway.
A person can put up some good scores that way, I’d imagine.
The problem with OMG is, as I told Bob a few weeks ago when we got in two rounds down near his home in Daytona Beach, I’m not sure we yet qualify. We’re getting there, for sure. But there are still too many times when, no matter what your body might say, your mind says, “I want to crank this mutha 250 yards.” Sometimes you do, too. Rarely, at least for us, is it in the middle of the fairway.
This year, I figure, will be much of the same. A lot of drinking, especially early on. A lot of grief-giving for brothers who don’t see each other nearly enough. Some big talk, a little wagering, some face-stuffing (we whipped up a decent rendition of a Low Country Boil last year), some more drinking and a little reminiscing.
And, yeah, some bad, bad, bad golf. By at least three of us.
I think I’ve hit on something with this OMG idea. I can totally break 90.