"I'm not sure I can explain it, but we all played 18 holes and then Mrs. Zinger figured out who won."
O.K. Just start with the winner.
"Well, first place in the championship flight was Mrs. R. F. Zinger...."
It was inevitably my experience that women didn't actually play golf. They casseroled it. They all stood there in front of my gangsome, poking at two-inch putts. They all had woefully slow, four-piece backswings with curious hip moves. They took the clubs back so far that the shafts whipped them on the shoulder blades, and then they lunged forward and the club heads plundered into the earth and the balls went dribbling off into the weeds.
A lot of the time I figured it was the way they dressed that made them play so badly. And slowly. They all wore those goofy things on their feet that weren't socks and came up just above the shoe tops and reached down below the anklebones. Ugly. And they wore straight skirts that hit them below the knees, with white blouses that were too tight, and big-brimmed hats with red bows.
Then there was the cackling in the clubhouse. After their rounds, I noticed that most women golfers could get into the booze better than most men. Several times I thought I saw two women having a bitter fight across a table, but they were just chatting over their Manhattans—or whatever women drink—about curtains and drapes.
I understood, of course, that there were supposed to be a lot of women golfers in the world who weren't like the ones I had always been exposed to. I knew about the Babe and Jameson and Suggs and all that. The lady pros. I knew they had a tour of their own, but I also knew what most guys felt about it: you would've bet that every one of 'em out there on the women's pro tour could overhaul a diesel truck if she put her mind and energy to it.
In recent years I have been presented with a number of chances to visit a women's pro tournament instead of hanging around the men's tour all the time. Each time I gingerly managed to escape, and the assignment most often fell to an associate in the golf department, a child star who writes too well for any of us to loaf much.
"You ought to go see 'em," he would say. "They're great."