About 24 hours from this posting, three of the six Donovan boys from Willow Grove, Del., will stand on a tee box at Litchfield Country Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., and inflict on the world some of the worst golf ever played.
It will, without a doubt, be glorious in its ineptitude. Drives will be sliced horribly into the woods, beyond any hope of ever being found. Fairway shots will be dribbled ahead, meekly following divots on which, just seconds before, the ball so beautifully rested. Three-foot putts will be pounded six feet long. Two-foot putts will be left comically short.
Sleeves of brand new balls will disappear in a matter of a couple holes. Day will become dusk. The hope of breaking 100 will be lost, by at least a couple of us, with two or three holes left to play.
Man, is this going to be bad.
I’ve written before in this blog about our golf outings. This trip, though, will be altogether different. It’s going to be — despite those messy scorecards, those ugly swings, that gawdawful cigar that one of us will break out on the back nine — a triumph.
One of us is coming back from major chest-cracking surgery, barely three months ago. Another spent some time in the hospital recently after a running accident. (In layman’s terms, falling off a curb waiting to cross the street while out on a jog.)
The other one has no excuses. He’s just a bad golfer. Terrible, terrible slice. Irredeemable
Another brother who often joins us is out for Pawleys ’16, preparing to get not one but both knees replaced (on the day of our final round, no less). We’re expecting that, eventually, that will help his game. It will certainly set him up for all sorts of gimp jokes.
So the remaining, standing Donovan golfers — two other brothers and our lone sister aren’t real golfers; or they are and want nothing to do with us — will step up to the first tee at Litchfield, shake our fists at whatever ills and sores and lack of discernible skills we have and whale away.
That’s something, right? That’s a win, right?
We talk, my brothers and I, about carrying on this tradition for another 10, another 15, maybe another 20 years. We could do it. We’ve been doing it now for about 10 years, I think, and as bad as we are — oh god, I don’t come close to doing our injustice to the game justice — the Pawleys trip is always worth it. It’s a great getaway, a chance to see family I don’t see enough, to eat and drink too much, to bespoil the great outdoors.
We talk about it all the time, but we all know that we’re just a couple knee replacements, a fall off a curb, an unexpected health problem away from breaking the string. It’s a fact. A sad one. But a fact.
That, perhaps strangely, makes these weekends ever more special, even more fun. It makes us grab that driver a little tighter each time we step to the tee. It’s why we order that extra appetizer at dinner, and maybe that one more drink.
And those hugs when we greet each other Thursday night for the first time, seconds before the s***-giving starts and the absolutely ridiculous and groundless golf braggadocio begins? They may last just a little longer, too.
Yes, 24 hours from now, three of the six Donovan boys, hailing from a town that’s nothing more than a half-mile loop off a country road surrounded by a lot of nothing in the middle of the great state of Delaware, will stand on a nicely mown course in South Carolina, shoulder-to-shoulder, ready to golf.
They will be awful. It will be perfect.