We had an
extensive entourage in addition to all the spectators' cars that were following
us from Mason. We had the EMS ambulance with Dr. Jim Pettit in attendance as
the course physician; we had the Mason policeman. Jack Boring, who'd been
empowered by the Texas Department of Public Safety to hold up traffic; we had
an official balladeer; we had fore and aft trucks with large signs warning the
passing public to use caution because a golfathon was in progress. But most
important we had Brock Grosse and his team. Brock was our road manager, our
transportation secretary, our caddie master. He had rigged up a trailer behind
his three-wheeled motorcycle with a sort of couch for Bill and me to ride in
included two of his motorcycle protégés who were acting as our fore caddies.
Once the ball went into the high grass on either side of the road we would have
had no chance of finding it except for those fore caddies. And every lost ball
meant another stroke penalty.
It rained for
almost an hour, and everyone took cover except Bill and me and Brock and his
charges. The rain was a relief from the heat, which had reached almost 100° but
it was very detrimental in another way. Our golf gloves got wet, as did the
grips of our clubs. It was difficult enough to keep the club head square to the
ball as we hit out of the foot-to two-foot-high grass; it was quite another
matter with the club turning in your hand. At one point I hit a shot that went
right at a little better than a 90-degree angle. I wouldn't have thought such a
thing was possible.
Our course rules
were that anything between the barbed-wire fences on either side of the road
was fairway and we were playing winter rules, improving our lie a club's length
from wherever we lay. The only problem was that there was usually no better lie
Over the fence
was considered in the rough, and the ball had to be played as it lay, with the
exception that we could take a drop and a one-stroke penalty.
Thus we were in
the rough when we hit one in the midst of a herd of cows.
Now, in West
Texas, and possibly elsewhere, the ranchers drive out in their pickups with a
load of feed in the back and blow their horns, and the cattle come running to
get fed. Bill and I climbed over the fence, and there came the cattle,
absolutely convinced we'd come to feed them. They were crowding around us,
shoving up against us, bawling and mooing and stepping on the golf ball.
"Bill, get these damn cattle out of here. It's my shot, and I can't hit a
golf ball with a heifer in my back pocket."
He said, "You
move 'em. You're the cowboy."
I said, "I
was a rodeo cowboy. You're a pharmacist. You move them."