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Rick Reilly
June 17, 1996
In a new novel the first muni player to finagle a round at the ritzy Mayflower Club takes all
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June 17, 1996

The Wager

In a new novel the first muni player to finagle a round at the ritzy Mayflower Club takes all

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On one side of the hedge, there is Ponkaquogue Municipal Golf Links and Deli, current titleholder as worst golf course in America. On the other side is the Mayflower Club, the most private, immaculate and snobby course on the Eastern seaboard. Still, the incurable golf addicts of Ponky couldn't be happier with their scruffy track. When Hoover misses a putt and beats a hole in the hedge, the bet is made. Two Down, Ray and Dannie plunk down $1,000 each. First one to play 18 holes at the Mayflower—with witnesses—wins. Fraud, deceit and trickery immediately go one up. Dannie, the only female of the three, waits patiently until one of the Mayflower members shows up in the local mortuary, where her friend, Thud, is an assistant. The next morning, she, Thud and the slow-witted Cementhead talk their way through the Mayflower gates and try their scheme.

All of a sudden they were inside the Forbidden City, the Grand Palace of the Himalayas, Carnegie Hall. They were standing there, eyes the size of spaghetti plates, soaking in the magnificence of the place, the majestic green-and-white clubhouse, the immaculate grounds, the shimmering blue swimming pool, when the head pro walked up.

He was a Johnny Weismuller look-alike—huge, diving-board shoulders, wrinkle-free pants and Aryan face. He might have been in the finals of the Styling Mousse Olympics.

"How can I help you?" he said.

"We're here for our annual game with Dr. Dingsby," said Dannie. "Eight-thirty, I believe he said. Although I'm not sure. I spoke with him yesterday morning, and he said he'd get a time and expected it to be 8:30."

"Welllll," said the pro, "there's nothing on the sheet about it. Do you mind if I call him?"

"Certainly not," said Dannie. "Do you mind if we try a few putts? We've never played here, you know."

"Who should I say is waiting for him?" asked the pro.

Good question, thought Dannie.

"I'm...I'm Dr. Higgins," she said, a little shakily. "And this is Dr., uh, Thudstein and Dr. Cement... ius. Excuse me. I'm a little unfamiliar with their last names because we only see each other once a year, on the day we play with Dr. Dingsby. As I said, once a year."

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