Readers Share Their Fondest, Funniest Moments in the Golftime Magazine Great Golf Story Contest
Golf is about so much more than just the birdies or bogeys we card during our rounds. No, the memories, the stories we make are some of the biggest, best reasons we play this ridiculous, maddening, mystifying game.
We asked for your best golf stories, the ones that make you laugh, cry, or beam with pride, for our first-ever Golftime Magazine Great Golf Story Contest. Our esteemed readers gave us all that in spades, with some truly heartwarming and hilarious entries. We’ve hand- picked a few of our favorites for your reading pleasure in this issue. And congratulations to the winners of our random prize drawings.
It’s a beautiful day, the second hole with two players left to putt out for birdies. “Putter Head” goes first … Oh, rims out! He picks up the gimmie, then, as if he’s going to hit a fungo fly ball to the out- field, he tosses up the golf ball, takes a little hop-step and swings his putter at the now-falling ball. Wouldn’t you know that he makes perfect contact at the hosel. The ball goes sailing and the putter head breaks off! As if in slow motion, the putter head is whirly-gigging through the air. All eyes are on the putter head, now inexorably heading toward the foursome waiting in their carts at the next tee. Slowly, the putter head slices through the air and proceeds to hit a fine gentleman sitting in the cart, right below his neckline in his upper back. He stumbles out of the cart, all 6-foot-4 of confused-but- angry man, dazed and confused that no one called “Fore” “Look out!” “Duck!” “Heads up!” or any other warning. Looking around, he sees “Putter Head” making his way over to apologize, then looks down and sees the beheaded head of a putter at his feet. Finally putting two-and-two together, he picks up the putter head and starts storming toward the slender and sheepish man, now known to all as “Putter Head,” and wound up as if to fire the putter head right back at the approach- ing golfer, who was apologizing profusely, arms outstretched as if to say, “I’m an idiot.” Luckily for Putter Head, it was only a mock throw, and the giant man tossed the putter head in the opposite direction. He didn’t acknowledge the many attempts of contrition, or offers to buy him a drink. As we all made it back to the green, the last golfer, shaking his head, lined up his putt and proceeded to sink the 12-footer for birdie!
It was a Chamber of Commerce outing about five or six years ago here at River Run in Sparta, Wisconsin. My group is on the fourth tee waiting for the fairway to clear. Another group is teeing off on the fifth, a parallel hole running the opposite direction. Both par 4s. The fifth tee, about 230 yards to the north, is not visible from our box. Suddenly, a ball hits at the front of our box, right for me, takes one bounce and seems to disappear. I had turned to my left to avoid being hit. We’re all looking behind us, but no ball in sight. One of my partners says, “Check your pocket.” I’ve got on shorts with a cell phone pocket on the right thigh. There’s a Titlelist No. 4 in it! It’s Bruce Davis’ ball. Bruce never saw his ball land, but Bruce has made his first pocket-in- one. He’s known as “PocketMan” now.
The Kin Cup
My father got us hooked on golf at a young age. He would saw down his old Ben Hogan irons in the basement and regrip them for us to hit balls out in the front yard. In the winters, we would putt in the family room while he watched instructional videos. We huddled around the TV on Masters Sunday and pretended to win the green jacket.
It wasn’t long before my two brothers and I began playing at local munis. Our games were average, but we were competitive. We needed something more to play for, so we repurposed an old soccer trophy and named it The Kin Cup.
Every time out to the course, we’d play for that cup. We’d often fight daylight with the match hanging in balance. I remember my brother running off with the trophy after he holed out from the fairway on 18. I didn’t speak to him for weeks. In recent years, there have been fewer games of golf. We have young families now, but still make time for an annual match. The winner gets his name engraved. When our sisters got married, their husbands wanted in. It didn’t help that my sister married a single digit handicap from Savannah. This year marks our 22nd year of playing for the family trophy. We are on our third trophy now. The cup has showed up on Christmas cards and birth announcements. We’ve played for it in Ireland. There’s been a match held when the water hazards were frozen over. A bagpiper once joined us on the back nine. My brother even played for the cup on his wedding day. We still laugh about how quick his swing speed was that morning. I hope my kids compete for The Kin Cup someday. I hope we are still engraving it come year 100.
Elm Grove, Wisconsin
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
I belong to Freedom Golf Association for disabled kids and adults who want to golf. We get tons of help from all the pros and since I am already a good golfer I helped a blind golfer at our tournament at Cog Hill last summer. He has memorized how far he hits each club, so my job was to set him up in the right direction, tell him how many yards and hand him the correct club. The rest was up to him. We both played a foursome with two non-disabled golfers. We won with a score of 54. My blind buddy, Tom, even won for “closest to the pin!” I won for longest drive. This was the first time both of us won best of anything. What a memory for our lifetimes!
No Man Left Behind
This is a true story: Some 20 years ago, after a weekend of golf with friends at Eagle Ridge, we stopped on the way home to play 18 at Wolf Hollow Golf Course in Lena, Illinois. All was going well until we could a see a storm brewing in the distance. With only a few holes left, we had hoped to beat the storm and finish our round, then we saw lightning strike! We were the farthest away from the clubhouse when our guys’ foursome flew by in their carts and said, “Let’s go now! Follow us!’ As fast as the carts would go we made our way back to the clubhouse, just before the storm hit. All players that were on the course were now inside, sharing nervous and excited stories of getting back safely. The storm hit hard with high winds, rain, hail and a sky of that scary, yellow-green hue. Next to us we hear three young men talking and asking, “Hey, where’s Tom?” After looking around one says “Oh my gosh, we didn’t leave him in the porta-potty did we?”
A Gift from Heaven
My dad left behind a full shelf of golf trophies, some golf books, and a set of sparkling Spaulding golf clubs. He died from a sudden heart attack in the autumn of 1968. I was 12 years old. One afternoon the next summer, I grabbed dad’s clubs and headed down the street to the schoolyard to hit golf balls for the very first time. I had no idea what I was doing. I gripped a 7-iron like it was a baseball bat and swung as hard as I could. Somehow, I could hear my dad’s voice in the back of my head, telling me the same thing he shouted to me from the coach’s box when I played baseball: “Don’t try to kill the ball!”
Suddenly, a car pulled into the parking lot behind me. Two big men emerged. They smiled and bounded toward me energetically. “Hey, I know this game,” one shouted. They watched me skull a ball weakly along the ground. “Swing more slowly,” the man said. “I’ll show you.” He held the club softly and took the prettiest practice swing I’ve ever seen in my 50 years of golf, brushing the grass like a violinist drawing a bow across the strings. He moved in perfect rhythm. “I’m Julius Boros. Ever hear of me?” “Yes,” I answered. He was the reigning PGA Champion, a two-time U.S. Open winner and one of the top touring pros of the 1960s. “I’m aiming for second base,” he said. That’s exactly where the ball landed. “Swing easy to hit hard,” he said. And with that, he retreated into the school building. I’ll never know why Julius Boros was in Springfield, Massachusetts, that afternoon in 1969 to see me hit golf shots for the very first time. I do know that was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with golf. I like to think my dad arranged this from his perch in the afterlife. And I dream that someday we’ll get to play straight up in heaven. I hope Julius joins us.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
The Agony of Defeat
My husband and I were playing in the Couples Championship Tournament at our club. We were in the last flight because of our handicaps. We had two holes to go. When I teed off on the 17th hole, the shaft of my driver split and drove a large metal sliver into my right thumb. It was pretty deep so we just decided to play on and he’d take care of it in the clubhouse. He teed off on 18, a par four, and hit the fairway. I grabbed my driver, but the pain was so severe I couldn’t even swing. I told him he was going to have to carry us on this hole as it was a scramble. His second shot was so good and long, we could barely see it. But the husband of the couple we were playing with screamed, “I think it rolled into the cup!” Sure enough. A birdie! My husband nonchalantly walked up and pulled out the ball. The other fellow said, “I think I was more excited than you.” But my sweet partner was more concerned about me than winning. Which we didn’t!
Lesson Learned: Don’t Throw Your Clubs!
I was playing golf with my soon to be son in law Joe. Our foursome had a few side wagers and I was striking the ball well, okay maybe not so well I was right of right. Any way after several errant shots I threw a wedge in frustration which in hindsight was a bad idea. I hit a cart, impaled it actually, but that wasn’t the worst of it. The impact was loud. Very loud. Joe said gunshot loud! After everyone crawled out from behind their carts, we had a good laugh. Cost me a couple hundred to have the cart repaired. I’d like to forget it, but at family gathering Joe likes bringing it up over drinks. It’s hilarious how he tells it, and to be honest I laugh a lot as well, but I don’t remember riding off into the sunset with my wedge sticking out of the fender.
Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin
A Leg Up on the Competition
I belong to Timber Ridge Golf Club in northern Wisconsin south of Minocqua. Last year in our 2018 men’s league we were on a right dogleg par five, naturally I put my third shot in the sand trap on the right of the green. As I stood in the sand with my perfect sand trap form, I heard something to my right. As I turned my head I saw a ball hit the grass about 15 feet back. The ball then hit me in the back of my right knee and rolled into the hole. It was Charlie’s second shot in the foursome behind us. My teammates yelled back at him, “What the heck are you doing?” Off to the left in another fairway was Jerry, the club golf pro and the course’s top guy. We called him over and told him about the situation. He said, “Charlie just got an albatross off your leg and it counts!” Charlie drove up to apologize and see about his ball. Unbeknownst to him it went into the hole. “I am sorry,” he replied. “I never hit a ball that far before.” How many of us have heard that one before. He found out he got an albatross and then said, “I owe you a drink.” He gets a trophy and I end up with a sore leg and one drink. However, we’re both down in the history book at Timber Ridge!
Irish Eyes Were Smiling
This past summer four of us took our first golf trip to Kohler, Wisconsin. We played 36 holes the first day at Blackwolf Run and followed it with 18 holes at Whistling Straits the following morning. We came up to the par 3, 11th hole on the Irish course; wind blowing in our face, Lake Michigan to our right and sheep feeding on the hill behind the green. I stepped to the tee and hit a 7-iron from 177. After I made contact my buddy immediately made a comment about the shot and within the next couple of seconds we hear a “DING!” and the ball dropped to the bottom of the hole for my first hole-in-one! What an unbelievable setting for a first hole in one and a moment I will never forget.
He was Jerry Sullivan, but his golf family called him “Super Sully” for his extraordinary use of all his 18+ handicap strokes. Sully, it sure seemed, was always in the money in our three holiday Calcutta outings at River Run. It was a Fourth of July event about 40 years ago. The fifth hole had a small ridge, or berm (someone tagged it Riva Ridge after the racehorse), transecting it about 150 yards from the green. Sully’s tee ball comes to rest on the upslope. He’s selected some kind of fairway wood. He always made violent swings, this one no different. Somehow — somehow! — he nicks the very top of the ball with the sole of his club. While Sully’s looking down the fairway and yelling, “Where’d it go, where’d it go?”, we’re looking skyward, because we saw where’d it went: shot straight up, about 10 feet. Losing altitude now, it’s dropping straight for the top of Sully’s head. It hits right square on the top of his noggin, takes a bounce onto the bill of his cap and drops to the fairway. Perfect! Right where he was 10 seconds ago. Sully was furious. We couldn’t wait to get to the 19th to tell the story. Strangest thing I’ve seen in 60 years in this game. True story.