We Got Game, Well, Mostly Small Defenseless Animals

Sounds like it could have been a meeting of organized crime members – or Dr. Seuss characters.

“On the first tee, Doc, Roc, Sunny and Moose,” said the starter, then added: “You guys from Disneyland or something?”

It was Saturday morning at Glen Annie Golf Course and the excuses started early.

“I haven’t played in a year,” said Doc.

“I haven’t played in eight years,” said Roc (a guy who looks like a much thinner version of Montecito Journal columnist Jim Alexander and carries a picture of Nicole Richie around for inspiration).

“I’m from Denver,” Sunny said. “The ball flies longer there.” He then proceeded to hit his first drive straight up the middle beyond where any of us old guys could even see it without our distance glasses.

“Well then that one would have landed in Boulder,” Roc said.

I knew I’d better get my excuse on the table too. “I’ve only played a couple times in the last month,” I said, “because of my motorcycle accident.”

“How fast were you going?” asked Sunny.

“Zero,” I said, “but gravity was strong that day.”

I then hit a low liner that decapitated several worms and scared the hell out of an old coot (the bird type) before landing just in front of the women’s tees. We didn’t need distance glasses to spot that one.

“Looks like you’ve still got that gravity thing going for you,” Doc said. A group of crows in a nearby tree made a lot of noise that sounded suspiciously like laughter. I took a bow.

And, as the saying goes, we were off.

The reason for today’s big game was Sunny (Doc’s sun, err, son) was only going to be in town a few days and Doc didn’t want to get whomped all by himself, so he invited Roc and me. And because I had actually played this course during this millennium, I took on the role of gracious host.

“Looks like you pulled that a bit,” I said just after Roc hit one farther left than Howard Dean. “Bummer. If you see a sign that says ‘Welcome to Goleta Beach’ you’re probably getting close to your ball. Oh yeah, and watch out for red-legged frogs.”

The infamous red-legged frog almost brought down Glen Annie Golf Course. Seems environmentalists concluded the endangered species could not walk across fairways and were too small to drive golf carts and would therefore not be able to survive. So the designers had to build frog crossings that bisect several fairways (I’m not kidding). Somehow being able to walk across the fairways made the little guys – probably delicacies in some countries – less endangered. And I have to admit, the way our group was playing the safest place they could have lived was indeed in the middle of the fairway.

But it was a beautiful day and we were getting a lot of great exercise. “You want to drive the cart or should I?” I asked Roc.

“You’d better drive,” he said. “I keep spilling my beer when I turn.”

Golf is a game of give and take. So we gladly shared golf balls with pond creatures, woodland inhabitants and people driving to and from Dos Pueblos High School, before we settled down and found our games. Doc hit a couple beauties right up the middle of the fairway – once it was even our fairway. Sunny hit one that sliced so far it actually came back around and landed in front of us. Then Roc hit one that really got our attention. “Whoa,” we said as the ball whizzed by our heads forcing us to bend over backwards in an advanced choreographed yoga move. “Guess we shouldn’t stand to the right of you when you hit.” Several holes later we added: “Or to the left of you.”

By the 18th hole, the cart girl was out of beer, which was OK because it was almost time for lunch. For good measure both Sunny and I hit one more ball into the pond and Roc made his best score all day, which caused him to say: “Let’s do this again, real soon.”

Then the crows laughed so hard I thought they were going to fall out of their tree. So we all took a bow and headed home.