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Head: Golfing with God

God loves you and wants you to be outside on days like these, which pretty much explains why we had Chamber of Commerce weather for the recent round of benefit golf tournaments.

The newest commandment is, then, “Thou shalt call in “well.'”

Habitat for Humanity ran its event Monday at Red Sky Ranch; the Colorado Ski Museum/Hall of Fame’s was Tuesday at Beaver Creek; and Crimestoppers was last Friday at Eagle-Vail.

God loves us all, but on those days it was apparent God loved those who chase the little white ball for a good cause.

Call in “well’

As proof that God was smiling, or at least giggling, at golfers, we were hacking for Habitat Monday. The nice young man asked us before we started if we wanted “to buy some mulligans.” We declined.

Six holes into the day, we were sitting in the middle of the fairway, basking in the sunshine and feeling quite impressed with our skills – despite our stratospheric handicap, numerical proof of the contrary. About that time, the nice young man came by, basking in the sunshine and inquiring as to our stance on mulligans. We told him we’d let him know after this shot. Bearing in mind that pride comes before the fall, we duck-hooked it into the forest, satiating Big Foot’s appetite. All true outdoorsmen know Big Foot’s diet consists mainly of slightly used golf balls, and the slightly used golfers who foolishly wander into the forest to search for them.

The kid who just watched you force-feed Big Foot stifles a snicker and asks, “Now would you like to buy a mulligan?”

You do. Channeling God’s obvious will for this moment, you hand over 10 tax deductible dollars for a shot at redemption. You do not waste it, as you nail a perfect seven iron that stops 2 feet from the pin.

God is on our side.

Call in “well’

The Powers that Be at Red Sky Ranch are fond of tee boxes on hillsides that overlook par-5 holes. You need the proper partner to launch your white sphere. You need Big Bertha.

Because God loves you and wants what’s best for you, he leaves one in your path. As it turns out, a Lutheran minister wandered off and left his on the tee box. You pick it up and crank a drive that sails like the Space Shuttle – the one that didn’t blow up.

You turn your eyes toward heaven, following your ball and uttering thanks. You also thank the guy who left it behind. The others in your foursome thank them, as well.

Mostly, though, you thank the guy who was leaning on his golf cart parked beside the fairway bunker, toward which your golf ball was careening like Bill Clinton toward a sorority house. Your ball bangs under his golf cart and comes to a stop on God’s green grass – not the sand.

We love you, we thank you, and we hope your pulse returns to normal real soon.

It’s about this time you begin to have less-than-pleasant personal thoughts about the guy who put a fairway bunker where a normal mortal’s tee shot would land. You put it to a vote and decide he’s a sadistic agent of Saddam Hussein.

The guy, of course, is Tom Fazio and he’s not an agent of Saddam Hussein. We know this because he’s also the guy who created all those downhill par-5s, those fairway features that kick your ball back into play when you tried so hard to blast it out of bounds and into a parallel universe, after which you publicly declare him your guardian angel.

But God gave us our own will and the freedom to choose the wrong club, which you do with alarming regularity. In the face of all that, neither God nor Tom Fazio can help you in your quest to knock your ball into the natural vegetation – which makes us the Writers of the Purple Sage.

You yank a ball into the sagebrush and cedars on the left, reinforcing your reputation as the captain of the Short Attention Span All-Stars. You’re disgusted as you stalk up to it with your 3 iron, glare at Big Foot, who’s eying your ball like an appetizer, and crack it in the general direction of a green you cannot see.

As the sun sinks slowly into the west, your ball ascends above the spectacular fall foliage, above a snow-capped mountain and into the crystal blue late-afternoon sky. Your ball lands 4 feet from the pin, but that’s now an afterthought.

You realize how lucky you are to live where you live, and that the underlying principle applies in winter, too.

God loves you and wants you to call in “well.”


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