Monday, December 05, 2005

Myrtle Beach course to be turned into houses

I'm sure you are wondering why I'm posting on this. Probably saying, "Thompson has really gone off on this one. Must be spending too much time transcribing tape and sitting in front of his computer."
Well, you'd be right, but that's not why I'm writing about a crappy Myrtle Beach course called Deer Track South (yep, another word could be easily substituted) that's about to be turned into housing.
That's because Deer Track is one of the reasons I play golf today, gentle reader. On a rainy, hazy day in March, 1998, I tackled the not-so-fabled south course with my brother and a university friend named Reg Knudson (there can only be one.)
The course never dazzled anyone. It was dull and the rain came sideways for a while, but we were determined to go forward, and seeing as there was six feet of snow in Toronto, we were not about to be stopped by a little drizzle. Anyway, we made the turn (we played the course back-to-front) and hit the fourth hole. Like the right of passage that is a golf trip to Myrtle Beach, the fourth hole had a common sight -- the charity shoot out. Essentially a large woman sat on the tee and asked you put up $5, which was being given to orphans in Saskatchewan or smokers trying to quit in Alabama. Something like that. If you hit the green, you got a sleeve of Titleists. But if you managed a hole-in-one, you walked away with $1,000.
Flush with money from a $25,000 per year job (my first after finishing grad school), I put up the cash, grabbed a six iron and hit a little right to left cut. Shocked that the ball actually did what I wanted it to do (this was well before my handicap hit single digits), I watched TopFlite II hit the green, and roll toward the hole.
"Where did it go," I asked the plump lady sitting in the lawn chair.
"Ah, honey. It is right behind the flag. Y'all find it right there. Here's your Titleists!"
I just nodded, given that I wasn't sure what she had just said.
My brother, being cheap, refused to participate in this game of skill, but my associate, Mr. Knudson handed over a fiver and promptly duck hooked his shot into some weeds 20 yards short of the green.
We grabbed our respective bags and headed toward the hole. By the time we were 20 paces short of the flag, it was clear my ball was not on the green. Immediate thought: It must have been long. Second thought: Will the chubby lady notice and will I have to return my Titleists?
My brother, being the optimist, assumed the ball had a better fate. He walked daintily toward the hole leaned down and then began jumping in the air.
"It is in! It is in the hole!"
This commotion, of course, awakened the big lady in the lawn chair who began hoofing it up the hole toward the green. We backed away and when she got on the green she pronounced that, yes, in fact I had made an ace. A hole-in-one. A one.
The rest of the round is a blur and if you ask me today, I can't really tell you any characteristics of Deer Track. Maybe it should become houses. Seems to me there were lots of trees and the ground held lots of water. It isn't the type of course I ever again visited during my three subsequent trips to the Grand Strand.
The next day, a gentleman driving a Mercedes handed me a cheque for $1,000. It was one of the coolest moments of my life, right up there with the birth of my daughter, the first time I played the Old Course and seeing my first story in a major magazine.
The reality is the developers can tear down Deer Track. It won't make any difference to me. In a ball holder, not five feet from where I sit typing this, rests a pathetic, beaten TopFlite. The silver writing on the ball reads: "Myrtle Beach. Feb. 1998. Hole in One." That's all I need.

2 Comments:

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story. I never thought anyone would ever get paid out on one of those things.

 
At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive also played that course on a fine day , our group though it was OK .Tried to hit it close but came up short. dam wind but whatI found nice were the golf hats. bought a couple for gifts . Maybe the hats were nicer than the course.

 

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