SI Vault
Dan Jenkins
August 16, 1965
Goat Hills is gone now. It was swallowed up almost four years ago by the bulldozers of progress, and in the end it was nice to learn that something could take a divot out of those hard fairways. But all of the regular players had left long before. We had grown up at last. Maybe it will be all right to talk about the place now, and about the people and the times we had. Maybe it will be therapeutic. At least it will help explain why I do not play golf so much anymore. I mean, I keep getting invited to Winged Head and Burning Foot and all those fancy clubs we sophisticated New Yorkers are supposed to frequent, places where, I hear, they have real flag sticks instead of broom handles. It sounds fine, but I usually beg off. I am, frankly, still over golfed from all those years at Goat Hills in Texas. You would be, too, if.... Well, let me tell you some of it. Not all. I will try to be truthful and not too sentimental. But where shall I begin? With Cecil? Yeah, I think so. He was sort of a symbol in those days, and...
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August 16, 1965

The Glory Game At Goat Hills

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Magoo said, "I don't guess anybody's gonna let me play, since I didn't drop but a young 50 yesterday."

"You're here, aren't you?" said John. "Joe and me got all teams for five match and five medal. Same game as yesterday. Come on, let's jack it up."

Little Joe, who played without a shirt and had a blond ducktail haircut, said, "Sure wish I'd get to pick my own partner sometime." Then he said, "You gonna play good, John, or scrape it as usual?"

"There ain't no keep-off signs on me if you want some," John said, swinging his driver on the first tee.

"Five's enough," Little Joe said.

"You got it," said John.

Little Joe and I took a scooter, one of those two-seaters with three wheels, and John and Magoo took one. The rest walked. We were an eightsome. If others came later they would join up along the way, as always, and there would be some action for them, too. Plenty.

With only eight players it was a fairly simple game to book keep. You played each of the other seven individually on the front nine, on the back and on the 18—three bets each to start. Without any presses—new bets—that was a sizable investment right there. But new bets came quickly, because of an automatic one-down press rule and big, get-even bets on 9 and 18. It was certainly nice to birdie the 9th and 18th holes sometimes. Like maybe $100 nice.

Naturally, there was always a long pause at both the 9th and 18th tees to figure out how everybody stood. Like this particular day. John the Band-Aid, I recall, had shot even par but was down to everyone.

"I got to be the alltime world's champion unlucky," he said, beating his driver against the tee marker. "Magoo can't play and he's beatin' me, and Matty can't play and he's beatin' me, and my young partner's dead as an old woman and..."

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