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Teeing up for low IQ golf

Bernie Grauer

There was a brilliant sunrise early this morning, but by the time I finally emerged from the bowels of the underground parking lot at the cancer clinic, I immediately needed my windshield wipers. The sunshine had turned into a class nine deluge and minor hurricane. This is the Pacific Northwest, so I’m accustomed to rain. The rain doesn’t usually bother me; however, today I knew I was in for it.The three people I play golf with have the same motto as the postal service: “Neither rain, nor snow, nor wind will stop us from our appointed rounds.” In this case, our appointed rounds were 18 holes on a windy, rainy afternoon in Seattle. This trio of Dan, Bob andBill will play golf at the mere thought of taking a day off. All three of them have handicaps under 10, and I make up for the difference because my handicap is in almost triple digits.I eased into the eastbound, bumper-to-bumper traffic crossing the floating bridge. It was still floating, although the deluge of rain and crawling traffic had sunk it way below its Plimsol mark, if in fact it has one. (Plimsol mark is the mark on the side of a ship that denotes the maximum amount of weight you can put aboard before it becomes un-seaworthy).Our tee time at the local golf course was 12:10, and nowadays you have to budget an average maximum speed of 15 mph if you want to make your tee time. The wind-whipped water from Lake Washington, combined with the torrential rain, made the afternoon golf date adistant thought as I struggled on. An hour and a half and 20 miles later, I drove into a parking lot that was empty except for five cars: one belonged to the club pro, one to the club manager and the rest of them to my golfing partners.Having an entire golf course to ourselves should explain how bad the weather was, but it was worse than that.There is a winter policy of not allowing the golf carts off of the asphalt golf path. It’s a good policy since they don’t offer skid chains for the cart’s back wheels.My three partners all wore the standard Northwest winter golf attire, including knee-high rubber boots with golf cleats in them. Despite this battle gear, there were times on the front nine when the waterwould have come over the top of these boots if anyone had played the ball where it sunk. In my case, I was wet halfway up to my knees by the third hole. By the fifth hole, the pouring rain had soaked clear through my guaranteed waterproof parka and pants.We all joked about the stupidity of what we were doing, but at least we didn’t have to worry about being held up by the foursome playing in front of us.At the eighth hole, our cart drove down into a dip in the path where the electric engine shorted out. We had to unload our clubs and wade to safety.By the ninth hole, I had already lost 11 balls that disappeared into deep, muddy water, and I was starting to shiver a lot. In an attempt to make conversation and I think take my mind off of the weather, Dan asked me if I was tired from my radiation treatment that morning. What I wanted to say was that I was actually more tired from playing golf in a torrential downpour than I was from radiation treatment. Instead, I told him, “No, I am tired from waking up all night with hot flashes, throwing off all of the covers, falling backto sleep, and then waking up 15 minutes later shivering with the cold.” (This adds up to waking up about eight or 10 times every night, so an afternoon nap is the usual cure.)Well I certainly wasn’t having any hot flashes on the golf course. Should I give up my lifestyle of lurching from one near disaster to the next just because of my current health condition? No, because I’ve been marching to my own drummer all of my life. (Although,I think this afternoon I was marching to the drumbeat of some real golf nuts.)And you know what? I had a great time. Now all I really need is a good soak in a hot tub for three hours to warm up for my next radiation treatment!Warren Miller has been a ski filmmaker for more than half a century. He lived in the Vail Valley for 10 years, and is now director of skiing for the Yellowstone Club near Big Sky, Mont.


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