A Golfer’s Divine Comedy
Please be advised. This page does not reproduce the story or article in full. The full story or article is contained inRoybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf.
A Golfer’s Divine Comedy
The time was Good Friday in the first full week of April, the month which the God of Adventure has ordained for the glories of Augusta and its Azaleas. Intent upon viewing the Masters (almost commercial free thanks to Hootie and Billy), “the boys” and I set out early at Golden Eagle Country Club, the pride of Fazio.
Midway through the round I found myself lost within a dark wood. My ball had mysteriously gone awry from its intended path. The wood in which I was now entrapped was strange and harsh with savage briers, prickly palmettos, cutting gorse, and trees as dense as winter rye.
Upon finding my ball (and many more besides), I whacked, whacked and whacked again, but my mightiest swing availed me naught. Near the point of settling for my double bogey maximum, above the wooded abyss I spied every golfer’s dream, the Nineteenth Hole.
When I began my climb towards this Paradise, though, a monstrous moccasin, a golf yard Doberman, and a giant goose did block my path, the three entwined in viciously threatening conspiracy. As I made my retreat to nether lands, before my eyes did one appear, one whose voice was hoarse from long silence.
In a condition easily given to fear, I yelled, “Have pity on me, whatever thing thou art, whether shade or man, ghost or living.” The spirit answered, “Man, I once was, a Georgian, Atlanta born, pre-Jack and Tiger, living through an unfortunate time of temperance and prohibition. A golfer was I, but decidedly not a pro, a proud amateur whose slam has been called ‘Grand.’ But you, why are you running into deep darkness? Why aren’t you scampering onward to that Storehouse of Whiskey which is the source and cause of every joy?”
“Ah,” I responded, “You are then that Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., called Bobby and, later, Bob, who battled the ‘pros’ and ‘Old Man Par.’ You are the master, my idol, the one after whom I seek that sweet smooth swing the game honors most. Behold the beasts that block my ascent. Do you know another path that leads from this hated wood to the Bar of Joy?”
Bobby responded, “I think it best that you follow me. I’ll be your guide away from these beasts who have many golfers claimed. This other way, though, is not short or easy. While it leads to the Summum Bonum, many sufferings lie along the path.”
“Why,” I asked as we began our journey, “was I so fortunate to merit so great a guide to lead me from this darkness into light.”
“Ah,” said he, “worthy souls summoned me forth, the boys, calling for cigars, lighters, and humorous barbs, wondering why the bottle of Crown was yet untapped.”
Though “the boys” seemed less than concerned when I stumbled down into my dark wood, they had, at last, missed me.
By this time my guide and I had come to a deep ravine, and in its midst a massive gate unveiled. “HELL: ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE!!!” When I became hesitant, Bobby explained, “Despair and horrors lie beside our path, but none shall touch us on the road.” “Mr. Jones” opened the screeching gate, and quickly there arose sounds of agony, torment, lamentation, and desolation, sounds even far more horrible than those emoted after missed putts. Through this hellish gate we did trek, and only a sand wedge into our pass, a sign announced the course which lay ahead.
A Nine Hole Eternity
Par: Don’t Worry About it!
No Beverage Carts Available!
A few yards further, we came upon the “Driving Range,” and there we saw gleeful faces on practitioners who were whaling away on fiery red balls. The golfers practicing in this upper region of hell had not committed too grave a sin; otherwise, they would be at a deeper and more torturous level. When I asked why those who were practicing appeared so happy, my guide asked me to look closely at their targets. Then I beheld the flagsticks, located at various distances, lashed with animated souls. When I inquired as to the identity of these piteous creatures pegged into the ground, my guide informed me that the targets were greenkeepers notorious for placing pins in difficult positions.
Upon closer examination, I saw one poor man not only lashed to a flagpole, but also immersed up to his mouth in a pool of water caused by a constantly oscillating sprinkler. Struggling for breath, head bobbing, here was William of the Fjord drowning in the afterlife as he drowned his course during his earthly life.
Off to the side were sand bunkers filled with more greenkeepers. These keepers were held in a crawling position with knees and feet clamped to metal sheets that were equipped with rake-toothed undersides. As they pulled themselves along by their arms and hands, attempting to evade incoming balls, they left behind the most purely raked sand one has ever seen. Should they attempt to crawl out of the bunker, however, an electrified barrier sent them right back in. Having neglected the sand in life, they had no choice but to rake it in their afterlife.
A few yards further in the upper regions, we passed the practice green and found some of hell’s golfers hitting putts. The balls, upon contact, started out rather slowly but dramatically increased, within an extremely short distance, to nearly the speed of a bullet. When they neared their target, the balls quickly slowed to a halt. Many of the bullets were popping the feet of one pitiable soul who was unwittingly mowing the green. With his arms eternally fixed to a mower attached to his rear, he was chasing after a dollar that dangled, in front of his eyes, from a thin rod attached to his hat. Upon second look, I recognized this wretch, B.B. Byers, whose pursuit of a dollar in life prevented him from maintaining an acceptable speed for his greens. Now, his love for a dollar requires him to mow the grass low.
We proceeded past the practice area and came upon a sign labeled “Hole 1.”
All the grass was black as cloudy night, but the fires of burning trees and bolts of lightning lit our way. “In this kind of weather,” I informed my guide, “Ricky Bobby would not play.” To our side, sharp flashes struck those who stood upon the tee. Tremendous thunder quickly followed. Though crispy and fallen, to my dismay, these creatures rose up again, hoping still to play. Then, without even a swallow, these wretched and pitiable souls found themselves alit again.
When I inquired into their plight, I learned that, in life, these souls had refused to leave the course, during even the most threatening of thunderstorms. When the next strike occurred, I recognized, despite his blackened condition, one of the victims, a certain real estate broker, who, when hit by the lightning, yelled, “hammer back!,” and rose to play again. The popping and cracking continued all the way to the green, and when the victims came close to finishing the hole, a lightning bolt simply knocked them back to the tee.
At the end of our path, passing the first green, we came upon the top of what appeared to be a giant tee stuck into the earth. Following my guide, I climbed over the rim of the tee and observed its hollowed out nature. Mr. Jones and I slide down the inner void of the tee to a deeper level, and, there, a few yards up a newfound path, lay the second hole.
The full version of my journey through a golfer’s hell, purgatory, and paradise is contained inRoybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf.