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"Marge," she said. "Marge Fitt." She pulled out a driver. "I hope I don't disgrace you," she said with an apologetic smile.
I gave her the honor and teed up the ball for her. "Just slam away," I advised her.
The first hole is short, but tough—a 198-yard par 3. It's straight, with a trap halfway down the fairway to the right and two traps on each side of the green. The alley feeding to the green is about 15 yards wide. I seldom shoot it in par. Damn seldom.
She finished a couple of practice swings. "If I were you, I'd aim a little to the left," I said. "There's a slight southwest breeze."
As I suspected, she was a bit nervous. She waggled grimly, wound tie club around her ear and gave the ball a terrific slap—but she had the club face too closed, and it sailed in a low curve for about 175 yards and plunked into the rough on the left.
She gave me an I'm-sorry-but-there-it-is look and stepped away to let me get set up. "That won't hurt you a bit," I said comfortingly.
As she watched, silent and respectful, I addressed the ball.
I was probably overconfident—either that or very unsure of myself. It shows what skipping lunch, concentrating on another person's problems and limiting yourself to 16 clubs will do. Whatever the cause, after I dug my feet in expertly, waggled with poise, and drew the club back powerfully, I flailed downward with every ounce of strength and got off a miserable shot—one of the worst I ever made. The heel of the club hit the far side of the ball, and it flew like a shot into my left trouser cuff.
"Where'd it go?" she asked like a damn fool.
"It went in my trouser cuff," I said with great calm, trying to act as though it were not an unusual shot—that, in fact, it might be useful under certain conditions. Stoically I ignored the ache in my shin.