You know what I'm sick of? Preposition golf.
I'm talking about all these courses with prepositions in their names—The Experience at Marina Meadows, or The Challenge at the Peaks of Del Frisco. And the more e's in the name, the more it costs you. Play a round at The Linkes at Olde Harbour Centre, and you're in for $200, easy.
As if the names have anything to do with the courses. "Have you gents ever enjoyed The Tradition at Elk Crossing before?" the phony-grinned "director of golf" will ask you while he's dinging your AmEx for $175.
"No, pal, we haven't," you want to say. "And I'll bet a week's pay we don't enjoy any elk out there, either. Unless the Wal-Mart next door sent them over."
I just wish they'd call some of these courses what they really are. The Lakes at the Landfill. The Fumes of Toxic Acres. VISA Experience at Overmowed Pasture.
It's all so precious. You drive up to a Preposition, and 12 guys in matching plus fours descend on your car like Bombay street urchins, whisking your bag out of your trunk before you can get your shoes out. Next time you see the bag, it's got a pewter tag that's slightly larger than an oxen yoke and can't be removed with an acetylene torch.
You get in a cart that's complete with a water mister, mango-scented towels, personal rake, Italian ball-marking coins, global positioning system and a video on which Arnold Palmer suddenly pops up, saying, "On this hole you'll want to hit a 220-yard high fade over the pond, but be sure to get it on the fourth level to give yourself a chance at a birdie." Yeah, Arnie, like if I hit a 220-yard shot over agua, I'm going to be pissed I'm not on the right green level.
But you don't get to play golf yet. First comes the 20-minute lecture from a "course host," who used to be just a marshal before Conglommo Golf bought the joint and started throwing prepositions around. He's always in plus fours and a headset and thinks he's Barney Fife. "Gentlemen, here at Bent Pine Ridge at Pelican Sanctuary we have some very strict guidelines for you to follow." One is, Don't even think about taking the carts off the cement path, because if you do, you will be shot by one of the course hosts. Which is another way of saying, "Enjoy your six-hour round, folks."
Then out comes another Plus Four who takes pictures of your group and will have them all laid out for you in a leatherette album when you make the turn. It'll be only $45 a photo, and why not have your first divot framed, too? You want to scream, "We really just want to play golf, not buy time shares in the Swiss Alps!"
Every now and then the "mobile refreshment center" will drive up, and you'll have to pay $6 for a single "malted beverage," and the "mobile refreshment hostess" will look like you shot her kitten if she doesn't get to keep the $4 change.