This is how Warren relaxes? |

This is how Warren relaxes?

Golf usually is a relaxing game for me rather than a contest.

Unfortunately, this golf season has started out for me about the same as a 2-inch snowfall in October, which makes think you can ski early.

A week of good weather brought out lots of people from everywhere, including a rendezvousing group of Nordic Tug owners, and two of them took the golf cart I had reserved before I got there on a bright and sunny Wednesday morning.

The young owner of the golf course brought another one out that had been on the charger, but also survived a long winter of rainy days in the open. The waterproof seat was out of warranty, and so we headed down the first fairway with the seats of our pants soaking wet.

‘The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course.’
Billy Graham

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By the time we got to our third shot, we had to walk the last 10 yards to the tee because the battery in the golf cart just plain old had no electricity in it. My partner and I flipped a coin to see who would go and get another cart.

Ultimately, I lost because there was no dry place to sit while I waited for him to walk the 250 yards back to the clubhouse and get another cart. I just got wetter. I wonder what the other golfers thought … this old duffer can’t control his whatever?

When he came back with the other cart, we switched our bags of clubs to it and got set to start our game all over again. After we hit that third shot, we climbed into the new cart and but it only had 15 lineal yards of electricity left in its battery.

Now we had two carts sitting about 300 yards from the clubhouse. We walked back, while the group of boaters who had taken all of the good carts with sufficient electricity in their batteries played through us.

The owner took a tractor and got our clubs for us. In the meantime, we had decided to at least go to the driving range and hit a bucket of balls. The course has a wonderful new token-operated ball dispenser. There were no directions on the machine and it ate up three tokens at $4 worth of tokens before we figured out that it was broken. Back to the clubhouse.

The token-operated golf ball basket dispenser is solar powered and since it had been cloudy for the last five days, there was no solar power stored in the batteries to make it run. So the clerked handed us a couple of buckets of balls just like he used to before he bought the expensive semi-automatic weather-dependent dispenser.

After we diligently tried to hit our buckets of balls, it was back to the clubhouse for my favorite lunch — a “made somewhere else on the planet X days ago” egg salad sandwich and a root beer. I had already torn open the impossible-to-open plastic wrap around the sandwich and taken a big bite out of it when I was told, “Sorry, we are out of root beer.” (I certainly can’t eat anything without my root beer.)

I had left my wife at the early ferry for a trip to Anacortes. She and our neighbor friend often take the big boat to the boatyard for work needing to be done. In this case, they were picking it up from the winter’s work and storage. Gives them some talking and knitting time. She’s nearly always picking up after me and doesn’t have much quiet time.

So I was really looking forward to hitting golf balls until I was exhausted. I was exhausted but had only hit a bucket of balls.

The visiting boaters who had grabbed all of the carts that were in working order that day were having such a good time they decided to play an extra nine holes because they’d found out they could do it for no extra charge at mid-week. That dealt me out of the use of a cart with a charged-up battery.

Click forward a few days, and I thought I would try it again.

By the time I was hitting my third shot, I had already lost three golf balls because the lawnmower had broken down several days earlier and the grass was a golf ball and a half high. This time we at least had a golf cart that worked, so we decided to drive it down to the token slot machine and do the same drill again.

Somehow, when the balls started rattling out into the bucket, they tipped it over, and a bucket of golf balls ran over a lot of ground when they bounced off of a concrete slab before they scattered. We did better with the second bucket after we finally figured out exactly where to put it when you try and operate the solar-powered golf ball machine.

I once again pose the question, why bother keeping score? Just getting to a place where you might be able to keep score is already so far ahead of me.

I think a wise man said, “Golf is as just as dumb as skiing if you didn’t get off of the chairlift at the top and rode around the bull wheel and back down.” At least the chairlift has a better source of electricity than the golf ball slot machine dispenser.

A friend of mine here on the island has one of those very expensive electronic golf course machines in his basement. After a day of manipulating his portfolio, he can go down there and plug into any golf course video he wants to play that afternoon and relax with a round of golf at Augusta or Pebble Beach for free. All he had to do was go to the bank and take out a loan to pay for it and have it installed. The golf course can be bought for about the same price as a Bentley in your garage.

My once-a-week golf instructor will be here next week, and he will be able to coach me in golf cart selection and important stuff such as which club to use for 4-inch-high grass and how to not let it discourage you from continuing this weird game of golf. Or even a more radical idea: listen to my wife who refuses to even park her car at a golf course, much less try the game.

Filmmaker Warren Miller lived in Vail for 12 years, and his column began in the Vail Daily before being syndicated to over 50 publications. For more of Miller’s stories and stuff log onto Warren For information about his foundation, The Warren Miller Freedom Foundation, go to

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