Some men like to forget about their past. Start all over, grow a Sam Elliot mustache and drink in the corner of the bar while saying things like “I don’t like to talk about San Diego.” Not I, however. I, on the other hand, am always reminded of my past each time I go into a certain room in my house. I have a trophy room. Not many people know about it, It’s only accessible behind a secret passage bookshelf I ordered from “Passages R Us.” I go into this room about once a month and face my past.
The term “Child Prodigy” gets thrown around a lot these days, but when I was a wee lad it applied to me and my gifts on the golf course. They called me “One Shot Ross” due to my ability to sink a ball either at or under par with great frequency. I won tournaments, had sponsorships, and a bright future ahead of me. Then I hit puberty and suddenly something changed. My skills on the links began to decrease at a shocking rate. I went from being “One Shot Ross” to “No Shot Ross.”
I lost my sponsorships, my pride, my confidence, and most importantly—I lost my custom set of golf balls with Pinky and The Brain on them. I walked away from the game, hid away all my trophies and tried to forget about my time as a golf prodigy. Friends tried to get me to play again, just for fun and recreation, but I refused. The closest I would allow myself to get was playing “Golden Tee ’98” down at the local arcade—but even then my hands would get the shakes.
However, after years of steadfastly refusing to have anything to do with the game of golf, I’ve been having something of a change of heart. Over the weekend a few friends invited me to go play putt-putt with them, something I hadn’t done in years. I sat in my trophy room late Friday night, looking at past, and wondered if some of the magic of “One Shot Ross” still existed inside me. I asked my non-existent wife, Sheila, for her thoughts on the matter, she said I should go for it and that it might make our fake son Lemuel proud of me.
I was nervous as we drove to the course, I kept staring out the window, listening to the Glenn Campbell cassette tape my friend had playing in his old truck. I looked up towards the horizon when I saw the first glimpse of the course, a giant dragon that looks out over the parking lot. We checked in, paid our money, got our clubs, golf balls, and stepped out to the first hole on the course. Everyone felt I should go first to get my jitters out of the way. In reality, I wondered if they wanted to see if I would be able to even hit the ball.
I placed the ball on the ground and stared at it for what felt like an eternity. I took a deep breath, lined my putter up with the ball, and took a stroke at it. The ball went down the green, around the bend, bounced off a back bumper, and went right in the cup. I was shocked. My jaw dropped, and as it did a roar of cheers and applause came from my friends. I could hear one of them remark “He’s still got it! I knew it!”
My luck was pretty good on holes one through four, but something changed when we got to the fifth one. It was one of those trick shot deals where if you hit the ball right into the opening under a little house, it would go right into the hole. I decided to get around this trick and shoot the green next to it. I took a stroke and sent the ball around the house. I walked over to the green to see where the ball was. I couldn’t find it. I went to the cup to look for the ball, but it wasn’t there either. I assumed I had made a hole in one again seeing the ball was nowhere to be seen. I poked around more, I looked and looked, the ball had vanished.
I wondered how this happened, my friends were all confused. What does one say to an attendant about this? “Hi. I hit the ball so hard it disintegrated, what do we do about this?” Maybe it went to some dimension beyond this one, where my Pink and the Brain golf balls are? I felt that my reputation was re-earned, and my friends kept playing as I just tagged along. Yet, four holes later, a friend said: “Hey, wasn’t your ball yellow?” I said it was and they pointed with their putter.
The ball was stuck in a bush way down on the course. I don’t know what made it happen, but it looked like someone had hidden it there as if it was an easter egg. I got the ball, returned to the courses we had skipped, and started again. This time, however, I was no longer “one-shot Ross.” I was more like “Four to Five shot Ross.” I never did get another hole in one that day, or reach par, but I was happy to see that, I still had it. Even if the little bit of “it” I had left was tiny. Anyways, I think tomorrow I’ll get back to “Golden Tee” and see how I do. See you next week.