By 3 p.m., having driven 97 miles southwest, we're in Massachusetts playing The Woods of Westminster, which Phil braves despite its nearly 1,400-foot elevation. The 9th hole has a 200-foot descent, a plunge inversely proportional to the ascent of our golf score. We've gone from playing best ball, to least bad ball, to whichever ball's inbounds.
Phil calls this trip Links for Lungs, but he'd like a snazzier name. "What about Golfing the Gay Marriage States?" he says. "After all, any two of us could get married today just about anywhere on this trip." Considering that Kenny has just eaten a grape off the van floor, the prospect sounds unappealing at best.
It's after 5 p.m. when, having ridden 51.8 miles west, we reach our penultimate stop, Brattleboro Country Club in Vermont. With two hours off between every three holes, our swings, like our carts, are leaking oil. In the spirit of Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's--makers of Chunky Monkey and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough--I promptly chunk a chip shot.
It's almost 8 p.m. when, having traveled 90.7 miles south, we finally tee off at Rockledge Golf Club in West Hartford, where Manute Bol--the 7'7" former NBA star--is a clubhouse fixture. Using the shaft of a four-wood, Rockledge pro Rich Crowe once customized a seven-iron for Bol, whose swing path is just slightly longer than the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
When darkness falls at 8:50, so does our final putt. Our best-ball score is an abysmal one under. We've played an 824,560-yard course--468.5 miles--in 16 hours and 20 minutes, without a single slow-play warning. That's four hours of golf and 12 hours of driving: one part Byron Nelson, three parts Willie Nelson.
And though the sun has only just set, Phil's already in dreamland. "From the skinny part of Maryland," he says, consulting an atlas, "I'm pretty sure you can get to Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and D.C. in a day."
I ask Larry what he feels when his brother talks like that, and he exhales a single word: "Foreboding." ?
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