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This afternoon, my grandfather and I took advantage of some rather pleasant late-summer weather and got out on the golf course to play a couple of rounds of "prairie pool", as it is sometimes referred to. I enjoy golfing with my grandfather; while he doesn't hit the ball nearly as far as he used to and play can be a bit slow at times, it has been remarked to me by more than one individual that not many people get an opportunity to participate in such an activity with a grandparent. Hell, many people never get an opportunity to get to know their grandparents.
What follows is a hole-by-hole synopsis of how the first round went, for those who are interested.
Hole #1 - Par 5My tee shot was decent; it ended up about ten yards in front of a sand trap positioned at the right side of the fairway. My second shot was a three-wood that had a little tail to the right; I ended up in some light rough about 140 yards off of the green. This was followed up by an easy six-iron that would have been right in the center of the green, but I ended up pushing it a bit and it ended up on the mound to the right of the green. After a somewhat mediocre chip shot, it took me a couple of more putts to get the ball in the hole.
Hole #2 - Par 4Yikes! I managed to put a massive slice on my tee shot and ended up putting the ball well to the right of the fairway, right in the middle of a rather large family of trees. Fortunately, the path to the green was (relatively) clear. Unfortunately, my ball ended up clipping a tree branch after my second shot; this resulted in the ball ending up about fifty yards short of the green. Adding insult to injury, I bladed my chip shot and rolled it right off of the green. The fourth shot was decent; I used an eight-iron to bump and run the ball about five feet from the hole. I sank the resulting putt.
Hole #3 - Par 4The drive was decent. It wasn't very long, but it was right in the middle of the fairway, approximately 150 yards from the green. The second shot, a six-iron, was pulled about ten yards to the left of the green. Fortunately, I was able to manufacture a good chip shot that rolled within three feet of the hole, resulting a putt that I ultimately made.
Interlude - Fuck TerrorYou may be wondering what a piece like this is doing right in the midst of one of the most solemn days in the history of America (and for that matter, the free world.) You may be wondering why somebody would ignore the news reports and pick up a set of golf clubs and head out for a couple of carefree rounds of golf. You may think that this is sort of self-serving and callous; that it is disrespectful to the events of the day.
I'd say you're wrong.
The sole purpose of terrorism is to cause terror. Now, you might think this to be an exceedingly banal observation, the sort of conclusion that a fourth-grader might come to at the end of a Social Studies report. But upon further examination, one needs to realize that the goal of the perpetrators of these atrocities is to throw the free world into panic and chaos, and to cast darkness of their lives. They seek to deprive people of normalcy in their lives; they desire to get us huddled around television sets, hearts pounding in fear, scared of the world around us.
I choose to deprive them of that luxury.
I choose to golf.
Hole #4 - Par 5This is a hell of a long hole. From the blue tees, it's over six hundred yards. I won't bore you with the details of a series of spectacularly mediocre fairway wood shots, but suffice it to say that it took me four shots to get within ten yards of the green. From there, I had an amateurish chip shot that left me approximately 30 feet from the hole; it took two putts to get the ball in the hole.
Result: Double Bogey
Hole #5 - Par 3This is a very short par 3; it runs about 140 yards from the white tees. My tee shot, a seven-iron, would have been perfect were it not for a 20 MPH crosswind that I severely underestimated. As a result of the wind, I ended up in a bunker on the right-hand side of the green, about pin-high. I took a sand wedge and managed a decent escape from the bunker, but left the ball fifteen feet (give or take) from the hole; from there it required two putts to hole out.
Incidentally, my grandfather birdied the hole!
Hole #6 - Par 4This is a pretty long par 4 (470 yards or thereabouts.) My tee shot was nice; I ended up in the middle of the fairway about 200 yards out from the green. There was a nice wind behind us, so I pulled out a five-iron and took a swing at the ball .. I ended up pushing it a bit. The distance was about right, but I ended up on the right-hand side of the green. From there, I am embarassed to admit that it took four more shots to get the ball in the hole. Golf is a funny game; you can come 470 yards in two shots and still require four more to get the last 20.
Result: Double Bogey
Interlude - Fuck HatredAlready, we're starting to see the typical slurs being bandied about. We have to rally against the "Muslim devils" and the "sand niggers" and the "dune coons" and we have to "atomize the Middle East." This despite the fact that the vast majority of people in the world, regardless of nationality, religion, or political persuasion, find these attacks to be monstrous and would not wish them upon their worst enemies. The motivating factor behind these attacks is simple: blind hatred.
By what thought process does one arrive at the conclusion that the solution to blind hatred is more blind hatred?
The mentality that causes incidents like this will never go away so long as people allow themselves to become enslaved by their hatred and their prejudices. A peaceful and stable world is one that is governed and populated by individuals who are controlled by rational thought. By definition, terrorism cannot exist in such a world; we would do well to strive towards it.
Hole #7 - Par 4This is a short par 4. It looks more intimidating than it really is, due to the presence of a large pond at the bottom of a gently sloping hill. As long as you avoid the water, this hole is pretty simple. My strategy here is to take a seven iron and knock one down to the bottom of the hill, and then take another seven iron and put it on the green. Normally, this doesn't work as planned, but today it actually plays out as intended. I ended up sinking a ten-foot putt on my third shot.
Hole #8 - Par 3This is a longer par 3 .. approximately 180 yards, with a crosswind. My five-iron tee shot was about five yards short of the green. After a mediocre chip, it required an additional two putts to get the ball in the hole. Not much to report here.
Hole #9 - Par 4This is a pretty vanilla par 4 with a dogleg left. The green is surrounded on two sides by water and there's a threatening bunker as well. My drive is not well-struck; it's slightly topped and while it goes straight, it only gets about 175 yards. That's okay; I'm out about 160 yards or so from the green, and I like that range. With a six-iron, I put the ball on the green .. momentarily .. before it rolls off the back side. My chip, as usual, is atrocious and leaves me with about 30 feet for par. The putt comes about six inches from the hole .. resulting in a tap-in to end the round.
Conclusion: A Plea for Sanity
I think at this point it's worth putting some things in perspective. Yes, the attacks today were catastrophic. They were cowardly, monstrous, and barbaric. You have witnessed the worst tragedy in the history of the United States. But the business of the nation and the world continues. No number of madmen in airplanes can physically paralyze the free world.
The cowards that did this know this.
What they're trying to do is psychologically paralyze the free world with their actions. And it is this goal that we cannot allow them to attain. So be sane. Be normal. Because by doing so, you are denying the bastards that did this their payoff.
Result: Final Score - 44 (par 36 + 8)