It could have been a scene out of one of those screwball comedy movies that leave you snickering and shaking your head. Except this wasn’t a movie. It was real life. And I’m still wondering how we could have been so clueless. You see, this past weekend my younger brother and I decided to make it a golf weekend, with our first stop being the Southern Hills Golf Course in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Their website says it is “A short undulating course that will have you using every club in your bag.” A more accurate description would be “A diabolical confusing course that will have you using every profanity in your vocabulary.” By the time the round was over we felt a little like Harry and Lloyd on their way to Aspen.
This story involves the No. 10 par 3 hole. It’s a 141 yard monster that will suck the air right out of the lungs of most any golfer who sees it for the first time from the obscenely elevated tee. But, we had a fairly successful front 9 and were ready to take whatever the infamous back 9 could throw at us. My brother had the box and hit a slight hook which appeared to send his ball directly at the sand trap just to the left of the green. A slight adrenaline rush during my swing sent my ball flying over the green. Way over. So, we hop into the cart and drive down to the greenside area at the bottom of the hill (cliff). I’m off to search behind the green, and he makes his way over to the bunker. But…no ball. Not even a sign of the ball hitting the sand and rolling out. “Must have been long,” he said to no one as he walked down the adjoining slope into the scrub in search of his wayward shot. Meanwhile, I’m stumbling, fumbling, bumbling my way through the heavy underbrush and trees behind the green searching for my ball. At some point I began to think that this area behind the green didn’t look anything like it did from the tee box way up above. After an extensive search, which I’m sure exceeded the allotted time allowed in the Rules of Golf, we finally gave up. We each dropped a ball (no way in hell we were going all the way back up to that tee box and hit again), chipped on, putted out, then plopped down in the cart for the short ride to the next tee box. We hadn’t gone 20 feet when into view came…wait for it…number 10 green! That’s right kiddos. We had just spent all that time on the WRONG GREEN!
“Uh, Lloyd, do you think maybe we should have been over here all that time?”
“Yes, Harry. Man, you are one pathetic loser. No offense.”
A quick check revealed that our original golf balls were exactly where they should have been – had we gone to the correct green in the first place. His on the beach. Mine in jail. We picked up and got out of there before someone saw us. That’s the other thing. All the time this was going on there was not another person in sight! There were other golfers on the course, just not on these two holes during this entire episode. How lucky is that?
Now, I probably should have kept this whole matter quiet and just between us two. We would have avoided the ridicule that will most likely follow. But it’s a story that had to be told. If for no other reason than to make other golfers feel better about themselves. Even if it’s at our expense. So consider it a public service. You are welcome.