Fore! Warned

Fore! Warned

A few weeks ago, my old high school buddy, Rob Novack came to visit me while passing through town on business. We decided to enjoy our short time together with a game of golf at a local course called Pleasanton Fairways, in the San Francisco bay area.

After six routine holes of golf we approached the beautiful seventh hole. This hole is a 420 yard par four, dog-leg right, with a small pond lying about 150 yards on the right side of the fairway.

I stepped up first and stroked a nice shot that landed on the left side of the fairway about 240 yards up. Rob was next with a miss-hit shot which flew right and landed out of sight somewhere in the direction of the pond. From where we stood, we couldn't see if his ball went into the water or not. Since my ball was clearly visible, I decided to walk with him and help him find his ball.

The little pond is only 40 yards wide and 75 yards long. It is relatively picturesque except for a slimy green moss that floats on the surface near the shore around the entire circumference of the pond. And this moss is pretty gross: It resembles dark-green dryer lint that had been collected in big quantities and soaked in water for months. It's odor matched it's slimy looks to boot.

We found Rob's ball lying a couple inches deep in the water within a few inches of the shore. As he reached to retrieve it, we noticed several Cray fish hiding under the moss within a club's length from the shore. Just then, Rob saw this huge Cray fish underneath a nearby clump, only six inches from the shore and in about five inches of water.

Rob said, " look at the size of that one." I looked to find a Cray fish at least twice the size of the other ones we had seen. I said, "Wow, he deserves the name Claws. I wonder if it's possible to catch him by scooping him up onto shore with a golf club." Like the elusive Trout "Walter" in the movie "On Golden Pond", he was a trophy . I mean, this guy was practically a lobster: Definitely the king of the pond. Since he couldn't see us from under his clump-O-slime, the hunt was on.

I instructed Rob to move out of the way because he was standing directly to my left where he might get splashed with water. I pulled out my three iron and took position for the shot. He still hadn't moved enough so I warned him again that he had better clear away.

With a big back-swing, I released my full force downward at the water behind Claws I was hoping that my club would work like a sandwedge; creating a wave behind Claws pushing him onto the shore. Surprisingly, my swing did not penetrate deep into the water as I had planned. Rather, the three iron immediately rebounded off the surface nipping up a large clump of slime, cradled it nicely on the club-head and continued to travel in the direction of my follow-through. The continuation of my swing then propelled the clump at about forty miles an hour off of my club-head, to my left, directly into Rob's open mouth. A direct hit!

When I looked up, I was completely surprised to see that he was still standing directly to my left and even more surprised when I witnessed the dumbfounded look on his face. For an instant he was motionless, staring at me with wild eyes, and a mouthful of green slime. Then, after what seemed to be several seconds (but was probably less than one second), he lurched forward and spit the green, slimy, smelly clump out with a huge "splewy" sound.

I keeled over laughing hysterically and gasping for air. Rob on the other hand was not so thrilled. He had to spit a couple hundred times and quickly drained one soda after the next for the rest of the game. No matter how hard I tried, and I did try, I couldn't contain my laughter until well after he left for the airport several hours later.

If you are wondering, "Claws" got away unscathed.

David Kaplan, August, 1996

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