Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Yellow Herman Melville

Captain Ahab relentlessly pursued the great white whale to his own demise in Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick. The movie shows Gregory Peck wrapped in harpoon cable riding the great whale into the briny deep. As a single digit handicapper and decent golfer, I have chased that great white Yellow Course whale par year after year, bogey after bogey, double-bogey after double bogey, never shooting a par on this par 5 monster, this malevolence incarnate. ............... .................. I have chased the great white whale on the Yellow Course at Brooks National Golf Club in Okoboji, Iowa, for fifteen years now during our annual long weekend golf outing the weekend before Memorial Day weekend, the great white whale being a 580 yard par five hole on the Yellow Course, hole #4. A massively long hole, this leviathan stretches as far as the eye can see to an event horizon about 300 yards out before dropping to a marshy creek that devours thousands of unwary second or third shot golf balls every season. Into a breeze, I hit a 260 yard drive with my Adams Slotline Super S driver with 9.5 degrees of loft to a point where I could clearly see all the dangers ahead. A pushed shot would surely find the hazard, a mishit would surely dribble into the front edge of the marsh, an area which gobbled up one of my partners............... ................... Year after year, I have learned the weaknesses and strengths of this Yellow Course denizen of the deep. A drive to the left will roll down the hill into the long grass, and a mishit drive will cause a second shot lay up short of the hazard marsh most likely resulting in a bogey or even worse. A mishit second or third shot will disappear into the muck and mire and never be seen again as in Ahab's final plunge................. ................... I gathered my wits, my strength, my harpoon (an Adams Slot-line 19 degree 3 metal) and flung myself into the shot and hit a 200 yard true and straight lance into the side of the leviathan, some 120 yards still to go, no doubt provoking such a reaction from the slumbering giant that my second buddy hit his shot into the same marshy creek, my third buddy having mishit a drive, dropping a penalty shot, and hitting a nondescript third.................. ........................ I was now lashed to the back of the beast, roiling and churning, and hanging on for dear life, my trusty #9 TaylorMade Rocketballz iron in my hand sizing up and staring into the giant eye of the beast's heart, the elevated green ahead. I gather up my courage and with that beast's eye in mine, I take a mighty swing and propel that club head to the ball and clear the front side bunker and land some 30 feet short of the hole, but on the green. I can count on one hand the times I have been on that green in three (nay, not one hand but three fingers)!................. ................ The beast recoils again and the muscular mass of the great Yellow beast lurches from side to side and waves of cold sea water come over the sides of the boat as I make my way to the green (I stepped in a puddle). I mark my ball and realize my fifteen year battle with the Yellow beast is nearly won. Like Ahab, I have chased this devil of the deep and am on the verge of victory. A two putt par and I will have vanquished my foe, I will have killed the leviathan of my nightmares, the Great Yellow Beast, which by now has devoured all three of my playing partners. But I must exact my revenge.................... ........... I swing my Titleist Bullseye putter its penultimate stroke and overshoot my mark by six feet. My fifteen years of failure flash before my eyes, the numerous times this monster has snatched my rightful victory from me. I see Gregory Peck lashed to that whale once again diving for one last time into the dark deep chasm. But I gather my psyche, my soul, my strength, line up the putt and stroke a true and straight lance into the heart of the beast claiming victory, vanquishing my demon, slaying my nemesis, making the putt, and parring the hole. My quest is complete. My heart is pure. My soul is at rest. ................. ................ Of course, I still had five more hole to play, but it was anti-climactic, for I had slain the dragon, I had killed the great white whale. I was one over on the next five and shot a 73, my best 18 score ever there. And I had parred #4 on the Yellow Course at Brooks National Golf Club.


Blogger Phil Smith said...

Bud: as usual you created a timely, very professional personal essay of a man thwarted by many obstacles and traps eventually achieving victory over a life-long challenge. Now those of us who do not possess the urbanity or educated palate to understand the challenge of the game of golf (kind of like watching NASCAR race cars go round in circles, I have a rather thrilling essay, certainly not up to your standards, but a sport that might be appreciated by a larger audience. If you think it might be useful for a filler blog when you are on vacation, then I offer my meager essay on the day I beat Tom Walsh, ex-professor at UNO and nationally ranked ping-pong champion. It is filled with gripping action of the old pro being cut down for once by a rank amateur. Full of nail-biting scenes of power strokes and spins, reverse spins, trash talk, and tension. Give me a note if you'd like to see my story of a kind of David and Golliath battle that would thrill most audiences. Even though I don't use lit'ry allusions and fancy metaphors, my story stands on the bedrock of action, suspense, and real good writing, Phil Smith

10:49 AM  
Blogger Mary Campbell said...

I was married to a professional golfer for 12 years, during which I came to understand that there is no such thing as a "set" of golf clubs. It was an organic, evolving thing, and each individual club (if it "made the cut") was always being tended and worked on with the kind of concentration associated with people who make ships in bottles. Sounds like your clubs served you well. Congratulations on your triumph!

2:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home