Core Samples |

Core Samples

"When I’m on a golf course and it starts to rain and lightning, I hold up my one iron, ’cause I know even God can’t hit a one iron."

–Lee Trevino

According to the interactive screen in Lobwedge and Henerishi’s golf cart, their foursome was running about 11 minutes behind what the cyber-gods figured was an efficient pace within which to navigate this particular course. "Wedge" was at the wheel and, in the sense that he couldn’t tell a bunker from a hole-in-the-ground, he was lost.

They weren’t actually lost in the usual sense, what with a state-of-the-art uplink GPS system in the cart, but where the next tee-box might be located geographically was anybody’s guess. They had been drawn into the cul-de-sac in question by a whirling eddy, a widening gyre as it were, that spun off the main stream flow that was the cart path. Getting back into the current was proving difficult.

Supposedly, they should be able to locate Babs and Smoke — the remaining components of their foursome — by utilizing the screen’s touch-pad technology. Their cohorts’ cart also packed a global positioning system and an array of hardware that performed most any function from suggesting what manner to play an approach shot on a par-5 dogleg-left to monitoring the dill weed level in your Bloody Mary.

Word has it that the layout plays to 6,967 yards if you were to regularly stop at the more-manly tees, but the only way that would ever happen with this bunch would be if one of them happened to fall out of the cart while careening about the neighborhood.

Golf carts, as is well known, are designed for the optimum display of centrifugal force. In other words, following a few holes of fumbling with pickled asparagus spears and worrying about the proper ratio of Tabasco to Worcestershire, most any sudden movement of the steering wheel immediately actuates the ejection seat.

But all of that is sidebar to Wedge and the problem at hand — which is getting back on course, locating his mates, and proceeding with the round. Time was a-wasting. They were burning daylight. And not only that, his somewhat tenuous connection with outer space was informing him that they were now running 15 minutes behind the time it would take any normally evolved, carbon-based life form to play the same number of holes.

And, of course, there was absolutely no doubt in his mind that his buddy, the pro back at the clubhouse, was shaking his head as the cart’s coordinates came up on his own display. He had probably already downloaded the digital evidence of this particular exercise in futility and attached it to an e-mail that was now sitting in peer-group mailboxes everywhere.

As they sped off, Henerishi began maddenly punching the touch pad. But not to worry — he was able to disarm the "emergency help" alarm he had inadvertently sent to the pro-shop just before the countdown timer expired. The crew from "Caddyshack" would have been hard-pressed to duplicate such a high-degree of buffoonery.

When they finally joined their mates at the tee-box, there began a contrite "freshening-up" of beverage containers and wild tales of being kidnapped and held hostage by cul-de-sac-bound, desperate housewives. The snide comments that followed mostly dealt with just how desperate they would have had to be.

From then on, the round returned to normal. The usual rules were followed. No one spoke to their golf ball unless it was during someone else’s backswing and carts were never allowed on a putting surface unless an emergency re-fueling crisis exemption had been requested.

The high-tech navigational and computing systems are a wonderful distraction when your partner goes clomping through the bog-land in search of one of those cute little dimpled and oftentimes errant projectiles that are such a huge part of the game. For some unknown reason they quite frequently nestle where the face of a club-head dares not tread.

It wasn’t that the course was set up like a U.S. Open or anything, but it being early spring and all, you could have filled a half-dozen hay wagons with the baled fescue from the pasture or fairway – whichever came first. Actually, there was something downright beautiful and sensuous about the manner in which the amber waves of primary rough caressed the knee.

But back to the state-of-the-art display and the fact that every time Wedge and Henerishi pulled up alongside Babs and Smoke, they appeared to be locked into "Oprah" or "Martha." The other cart, however, flaunted much more cultural programming. There is something about how the proper balance of the National Geographic and Playboy channels provides proper tempo to the golf swing.

They were now running 23 minutes behind schedule. They were able to pull this off without being hustled away by a course marshal, due to the fact that it wasn’t a weekend and that they had taken the day off. This was an idea that had crossed the minds of very few others of the golfing persuasion.

As near as they could tell, they could average an hour a hole the rest of the way and never see another member of their species. Even the wild turkeys and foxes and mule deer and moose that often roam these links were laying low. Maybe they had interactive monitors of their own.

There was a time when these obsessive athletes would adjourn from the 19th hole and continue on in their own private "Ironman" competition to a highly competitive game of pool followed by a stint at the bowling alley. The passage of time, however, has relegated these follow-up triathlon events into enchilada binging followed by a brisk nap.

It doesn’t get much better than a springtime foray into the back of beyond replete with GPS and tomato juice concoctions. Before you’re through, you usually find yourself — if not your golf ball. Duffers are as duffers do.

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