- FISHERMAN'S CALENDARMay 05, 1958
- FAREWELL TO AN ODD DOME HOMEJudge Hofheinz's private Astrodome quarters will soon be just a gaudy memoryRichard Conniff | March 14, 1988
- IT'S NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKSJOE POSNANSKI | February 22, 2010
Forgive Them, Old Tom
After my Barred from Play photos were taken, I was transported to the edge of Franklin County, where officers from that district took custody of me and motored me to the Franklin/Williamson County Mental Health Clinic for an emergency evaluation by the shrink. I was whisked into the good doctor's office and attempted to clear things up by relating the story of the highly elusive perfect grip that I had discovered that day. The shrink held up five fingers on one hand and one on the other and asked me what I saw, to which I said, "Six-iron. Full shot, 200 yards. Three-quarter speed, 190 yards. Half-speed, 180 yards. But I haven't learned to flush that club pure enough to hold a green."
Then the Franklin County sheriff and some officers assisted in getting me supine on a gurney and tucked in for my ambulance ride to the state hospital in Anna, Ill. "Fer cryin' out loud," I yelled out as the doors to the ambulance slammed shut, "if I really juice it, I can nail it 215!" The good doctor was not impressed. I stayed at Choate Mental Health/Developmental Center for three weeks while my lithium levels were monitored and significantly increased to combat the cruel three-year golf drought I had been sentenced to.
I still say that judge and the shrink had probably never even hefted a darling golf club, for if they had, they wouldn't have been so quick to concoct a three-year halt to my life's only pleasure.
The age of darkness commenced for me. I was a golf exile, again.
Never Say Never
My golfless era ground well beyond my cruel sentence, as time and the ravages of depression conspired to take the hope out of my wish to become the envy of all local hackers.
Then, out of the blue in June 2003, my brother called asking me to accompany him to the practice range at Green Acres Golf Club and then the next day play a round at Shawnee with him and the 13year-old son of a buddy who had died suddenly that year. The kid's dad was the guy who had handed me that First Flight two-wood back in '73.
Golf isn't something you barrel back into on a whim, and I smelled trouble. Soon as I got off the phone I retrieved my beloved Little Red Book by Harvey Penick, the master instructor. I launched into Mr. Penick's Slow Motion Drill and proceeded to pull a muscle under my right shoulder blade. Things weren't looking good.
Proof of Life