TITLE: “Between Clubs”
GENRE: Commercial/sports fiction
If you were going to draw up a perfect day for golf, it would look like this: a sparkling spring afternoon in northern California, warm with a light, fresh breeze. A lush green carpet of a golf course, threaded with groves of trees and dotted with bunkers like whitened teeth. In all directions are rolling brown hills, azure sky and sunshine. For millions of golfers this would be paradise. But for the guys I was playing with, this wasn’t paradise. It was just another day to post a score or barf on their khakis.
The course was deserted, except for the eight of us. One group was walking up the eighteenth fairway, tanned legs and polished shoes pacing the final yards, their heads bowed, their faces in shadow.
Our group was at the seventeenth. Mike O’Hearn stood with his arms crossed and his gaze fixed in the middle distance. It was so quiet I could almost hear him grinding the enamel off his teeth. Casey Blanton angled the weight of his slender body on his hip, rolling his golf ball through his fingertips and examining it for minute imperfections. I wandered over to my golf bag, grabbed my towel and brushed a few grass clippings off my wedge. So much of golf was silent ritual, the proper way to mark golf balls, repair divots and pull flagsticks, a tacit code of deportment regulating when you spoke, where you stood, and how to avert your eyes when watching became unbearable.