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I left Bill a lie under a horse-drawn hay rake. From there he put it into the service bay of the Chevron station. It took us six strokes to get out of there.
From then on things got worse.
Bill put one across the street and under a truck at Eckert Equipment Company. I got down on my belly to try to swipe the ball out from under that truck so we wouldn't have to take a penalty shot. Half the people of Mason were still following us, and I was lying there thinking that none of the townspeople knew that I had once held the Interscholastic League record for the 180-yard low hurdles or that I had had a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals or had played college football or had made my living riding bulls on the RCA circuit for a year. I turned the putter on its side and swiped the ball 15 yards.
Bill's next shot got us out of plate glass territory at last, and we were approaching the blinking light at the edge of town when I unfortunately knocked a four-iron into the cemetery. That left Bill with a near impossible shot from behind a tombstone. By the time we got the ball headed back in the direction of Brady, we were at the foot of Mason Mountain, and we were six strokes over the pace I felt we should have maintained coming out of town.
At this point we actually ended up with a good lie on a small triangular island where a farm road intersects the highway. The only trouble was that the ball had come to rest up against a SLOW sign.
The mayor of Mason, Willard Aubrey Jr., was our official course judge. We called him over for a ruling, expecting a free drop. He said no. Bill pounded the sign in frustration, saying, "This is a man-made obstacle, and we deserve a free drop."
Willard still said no. We'd thought the man was corruptible, and here of all places we find that that wasn't so.
We call it Mason Mountain, but a Coloradan on viewing it would die laughing because it rises no more than 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. But they have never tried to hit a golf ball up it.
Bill, using a five-iron, made a beautiful shot straight up the middle that hit the pavement of the road and bounced up Mason Mountain and bounced and then rolled and rolled and rolled until it came to a stop. After that it started rolling backward, and it kept on rolling until it was 100 yards behind where Bill had hit it. After that we had no choice but to keep the ball in the high grass beside the highway. So we hacked our way up that five miles of mountain, sometimes getting 100 yards out of a shot, more often having to settle for less. When we finally got to the top of the mountain I estimated that we were 26 strokes over the pace we would need to make par, with a long way to go.
And then it began to rain.