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I did. However, I am not making this up: Nobody in Japan wants to make a hole in one.
It's true. The last thing you want to do is make a hole in one. I was curious why every time somebody would hit it close to the hole in Japan, but not in the hole, the players would holler, "Lucky!"
It turns out that in Japan the hole-in-one maker must pop for: 1) drinks for everybody in the club; 2) nice gifts for his best friends, usually silver pens with the feat engraved on them; 3) towels or the like, with the details of the feat embroidered on them for his B list of friends, about 100 of them; 4) a special tip for the caddie; 5) a tree to be donated to the course; and 6) a huge party within the month for all his friends, the witnesses and anybody else who knows about it. All of that can cost $5,000 and up.
Better luck next time.
Right. Also, for any bag that is overweight, the course charges extra. There's also an extra charge for playing on a rainy day. Not that you have a choice. There are no rain checks in Japan. We played at Kawana when it was raining miserably, yet the course was packed. "Only two groups have canceled today," the gleeful course manager told us.
In English ?
Well, O.K., not in english. But what is weird is the English the Japanese I use while playing golf. "Nishot!" I they say a lot. They give it a contortionist's twist of the body and I scream out, "Bunkahh!" They seem I to love saying that. There's also I "nisapproach" and "nistouch" and I "bardie!" It's like somebody sent I them the back of a cereal box with those golf expressions on it and everybody in Japan knows them.
I asked nearly every person I met on courses in Japan to tell me his favorite golf joke and nobody could tell me one. I guess they are so fascinated with the game that they have not yet gotten around to making fun of their fascination, as we do. Finally, one man said, "What do you mean, 'jokes'?"
"You know, jokes," I said. "Jokes about golf. Like the one about the guy who comes home and says to your wife, 'Boy, what a tough day on the course today.' And his wife says, "Really? What happened?' And the guy says, 'Well, Charlie dropped dead of a heart attack on the 3rd hole.' And his wife says, 'Oh, no, that's terrible!" And the guy says, 'You're telling me. All day long it was hit the ball, drag Charlie, hit the ball, drag Charlie.' "