My Only Two Golfing Stories

I don’t golf, which is either a curse or a blessing, depending on your perspective, but I do have two golfing stories.

The first took place when I was a sophomore at Western Illinois University, back at a time when two years of Physical Education classes were required for a public school teaching certificate.

Don’t ask me why….

And so, on a bright, but cool spring day, I and thirty-two other sleepy underclassmen straggled over to the Finkbine golf course, laid out next to the Lamoine River at the lower end of campus. I quickly scanned the group, attempting to determine which of my classmates had lettered on a high school golf team and which, like myself, hadn’t ventured beyond a tattered putt-putt golf course squeezed in between a Tasty-Freeze and a Travelodge motel.

About the time I had concluded that my G.P.A. was about to slip another notch or two, the assistant golf coach drove up in his purple-and-gold W.I.U. “Leathernecks” (again, don’t ask me why….) golf cart with a clipboard in hand. He didn’t even bother to get out, but stopped just long enough to announce, “Good news, boys. The golf course is going to be torn up, so you all get A’s. Now go back to bed.”

And so, just as it began, my golf career ended….

My second golf story took place several years ago, but at the Asheville airport rather than on a golf course. I had grabbed the last ticket on a flight to Chicago, where I was to appear on station WGN on behalf of Minwax. I was on a small plane, so we had to walk from the terminal door across the tarmac to the plane. My critical props for the television show were all stuffed into one large, heavy cardboard box, so I purposely lagged behind, keeping an eye on the ground crew bringing the luggage out to the plane.

Just as I began to get worried, a young man raced around the corner of the building driving a small tractor pulling a lone baggage cart. On it were the last two items: a set of golf clubs and my box of props. I paused at the bottom of the steps leading up to the plane, waiting until I could see that my box had been stowed safely inside the cargo hold.

As the young man jumped off the tractor, his buddy inside the cargo hold stuck his head out and shouted over to him, “Hold on! We’re at our weight limit. I can only take one of those.”

They both turned to stare at the set of golf clubs and my box, trying to decide which one would go into the plane — and which one they would take back inside the terminal.

I made it easy for them.

“Hey, guys,” I announced casually. “I’m not going to have time to do any golfing today, so just send my clubs on the next flight out.”

“You don’t mind?” the young man asked, as he hoisted my box of props up to his buddy inside the plane.

“Not at all, guys,” I waved from the top of the stairs. “Not at all.”

Until next Monday,

My apologies to some unknown golfer….


Top: My only golf club: an antique #8 wedge with a wooden shaft.

Middle: A sample of some of my props at a recent television show.