The 20th hole

by Diane Dodd

This story is part of our 'Embarrassing Golf Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

Photo by Fevis Yu.

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The buzz at the water cooler was a memo announcing an invitational day at an elite golf course, entertaining clients. We were each assigned a guest with whom to cultivate business. In these tight financial times, and with my dire need to make the next car payment, this eager female was trying to push her way through the pantyhose ceiling.

As a newbie golfer with a set of shiny, starter clubs and three lessons under my visor, I was getting palpitations already. I immediately started my novena, "Dear God, I pray my cart partner will be kind." But I can fake this. Fear and adrenaline will get me through, and perhaps with a beer or two from the cart girl.

The dreaded day arrived and I decided I could do whatever needed to get to the 19th hole. We were in the last group to tee off so no one I knew followed us. My cart partner turned out to be a scratch golfer, personalised balls, fancy bag, the whole Tiger deal. Did his underwear match his golf bag too? Since I figured that this would be an uneven match, I volunteered to drive the cart fully, equipped with GPS, ball washer, mini-bar and even a computer to call in your lunch order at the turn.

The cart was quite fascinating and this might be fun after all I thought. Mr. Ping unzipped his driver and we were off. I hacked and he birdied his way around, me struggling, and Ping pinging. The cart girl came through, we both loosened up and I was watching the GPS. Finally, as we were approaching the 18th hole, I sighted all of my co-workers and the rest of Ping's pals perched on lawn chairs, which over-looked the 18th green, forming a full gallery. I broke into a cold sweat. Maybe the GPS could bail me out. As I was frantically searching it, my attention strayed off the cart's path for a bit too long. Suddenly in a flash, the cart careened into the ditch near the pond by the 18th hole and tipped over, catapulting Ping’s entire set of clubs into the pond. Please pond-drown me now.

Ping wasn't hurt but the silence from the 19th hole gallery was deafening! I slogged into the pond, grabbed whatever was left of Ping's clubs that hadn't sunk into the mud, and ran to the 20th hole (the ladies’ room) for a good cry. I ducked out of dinner and slunk to my car, going home to duct-tape my soggy ego. Next year, couldn't my company find a more civil way to entertain clients, like badminton or bowling? I will drop this in the suggestion box at the water cooler. Do you think they'll guess who submitted it?

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