Thursday, August 02, 2001

Almanor 2001 Day 6

On Thursday, a large group went to the Hamburger Hut for lunch about 1:30 p.m. Hunter had made two tee times for Bailey creek for about 4:30 p.m. Drew had been after me all week about playing some golf and he really wanted to go. I had brought all of our clubs and was also pretty interested in trying to get out. During lunch, we were talking about who was interested in playing golf. We ended up with one foursome of kids that included Drew, Robbie, Danny and Nathan and another group of adults with Jill Wallen, Hunter and I. Wallen had mentioned something during lunch about taking chabrier’s hobiecat out for a sail, but I said that I was probably more interested in playing golf. I also said that I would like him to come with us and play golf (my first mistake). This last statement is something I came to regret from several angles.

After bouncing back from the hamburger hut in the boats (the wind had picked up pretty good), the group including John Wallen took off for golf. I rode with the Wallens and quickly realized that John felt that he had gotten pressured into going; he was not unhappy. When we got to the golf course, things went from bad to worse. Greens fees with a cart for twilight golf (as many holes as you can play before it gets dark) was $43 dollar a person. It cost Wallen $129 for him, Jill and Nathan. He started getting more and more vocal about not wanting to play, how he got pressured into coming along and how much it was costing him. At this point as we are walking to the carts, Jill tells me that the only reason John came was that I had said that I wanted to come along and since I wanted him there I could ride in the cart with him! Jill then jumped in the cart with Hunter. We sent the boys out in a foursome in front of us.

As an aside, I had literally not picked up a golf club since last year at Almanor. We did not get a chance to hit any balls on the driving range so we were all stepping up cold. Anyway, I hit one about 200 yards slicing along the outbounds on the right side of a dogleg right. Wallen swung and missed the ball completely on his first attempt and then hit a nice short shoot down the right side near some trees. Wallen hit into the trees and then over to the left side of the fairway where I kind of lost track of him. By the time, I got to the green John was even more wound up; I think that he ended up hitting one or more balls into the water behind the green.

As we were walking off the first green, I made my second mistake of the afternoon. I asked everyone what their score was. Wallen started to try and count his strokes by remembering the shoots and got madder and madder has he tried to figure out how many strokes he had taken.

Things went from worse to terrible on the second green. John and Jill were sharing a putter and it was not in either bag. John is now fit to be tied. I had an extra putter in my bag so they used that one to putt out. As we were walking off the green, john jumped in the cart and took off back down the second fairway without saying anything to any of us. I was standing there with my putter in my hand. The third tee turns out to be a little ways away so I end up walking over to the tee box and waiting and hoping that John was going to come back.

At this point, Hunter was scratching his head. He had never played golf with Wallen before. Combining this golfing behavior with the WWF moves that John put on him after the horseshoes match, Hunter is opening speculating whether or not Wallen is losing his mind. Wallen finally gets back, but still without a putter. The putter was no where to be found. I spent most of the third fairway trying to get Wallen to lighten up and relax without much success. Unless you have spent a period of time with Wallen in a confined space with the lizard going on his neck, you have no idea how intense an experience it can be!

On the four tee, the drink cart finally shows up. Wallen buys a six pack at what he called airline cabin prices. Things actually improved from this point on. Wallen and I pounded the first beer and John actually started to relax. After this point, Wallen actually started to play a lot better. Wallen probably played better off the tee than Hunter, Jill or I for the rest of the day, while Jill probably putted the best of the group.

Two postscripts on the day. First, in more than thirty years of playing bad golf, i have never played and not kept score; Nooter can attest to how competitive I am even though I am not really very good. After the Wallen’s reaction on the way to the second tee, I did not keep his score or even think about keeping score.

Second, the adults went out to dinner after we got back from golf. During dinner, Jill leans over and whispers to me that John told her on the way over that they should play golf more often!

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