Vail Daily column: Golf is indeed a rough sport |

Vail Daily column: Golf is indeed a rough sport

Richard Carnes

“I hope the other guy looks worse,” my friend said.

“Well, to be perfectly honest … ” I began and then debated concocting a tale of some 250-pound angry Mormon with Golden Plate chips on his shoulder attacking me for my bigoted ways.

Yet I realized pointing out reality and showing sincere concern for my species against magical thinking, especially in government, does not a bigot make.

That, and being a 150-pound 54-year-old passive non-theist who has never been in a fight in his life (older brothers don’t count) would have made the fictitious story unbelievable in the first place.


Yet the question was still appropriate, especially since my right eye had the colors you’d expect from a gay Goth at the premiere of the latest teenage vampire flick.

In short, don’t ever let anyone tell you differently, ladies and gentlemen — golf is dangerous — and never let them get away with claiming it’s not a real sport.

And this particular injury hurt much worse than my two previous golf-related, “Ouch, don’t touch that; it hurts!” moments, which involved balls and each of my legs.

Which of course means, yes, I’ve been hit by golf balls twice.

Once in each leg, thank you very little — the back of my left thigh during a “couple’s tournament” over at the Sonnenalp course and right smack dab on the top of the screw head that has helped hold my right knee together since 1995 over at the Eagle-Vail Par 3.

The hit during the make-believe romantic outing was not from my bride (as some of you might expect), but the female counterpart of our playing partners for the evening. It’s not often I play with someone possessing such an amazing ability to spin things off to the right faster than a Clinton during a Fox News interview, but this young lady simply gave new meaning to the word slice. I swear, I was 90 degrees away and she still hit me.

The Par 3 debacle was simply walking behind the first green toward the seventh tee box and a guy using a 6-iron for a 9-iron shot. Perhaps he looked at the club upside down and was temporarily confused, but either way, the ball targeted the delicately placed screw implanted by Dr. Peter Janes almost two decades ago.

That sucker hurt.

Last week’s injury was different though, in that it involved the steering wheel of a stationary Eagle-Vail golf cart and my inability to judge the arc of yet another incoming cruise missile of a slice.

Quiescently sitting in the passenger seat while looking over my left shoulder, I instinctively ducked down and to the right upon seeing the ball trajectory heading in my general direction, slamming just above my right eye into the hard plastic steering wheel.

If it were a European cart I would have been fine.

In less than 60 seconds, I had a marble-sized lump protruding downward, blocking most of my vision in that eye, and I spent the final four holes holding an towel filled with ice. (Although we saved most of the ice to keep the beer cold.)

A week later, the color remains but the pain is gone, at least physically.

So in this case there was no “other guy,” but I’ll still challenge anyone to a putting duel that claims it’s a sport for woosies and old guys.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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