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John Bressler - A life lesson on the golf course
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John Bressler

John Bressler-0701511

Listen to John Bressler read his column.

       It was one of those special days at the "Old Course" - as we members like to call Smithfield Golf Club and Spa - simply because it reminds us of St. Andrews, Scotland, the fabled home of golf. Trying to copy the layout of the Scottish course is no easy task: every tee box, fairway and greens are duplicated so perfectly that one needs but to close his eyes and feel an ocean breeze and smell the haggis boiling in some wee kitchen. The rough is not for the faint of heart as it is a combination of gorse, heather, okra and more than one player has lost his ..., ..., his gutta-percha because of a stray drive.  The bunkers are deep and forbidding, but the perfectly manicured greens give the good golfer a fair chance.
       Those greens are mowed every morning and the boys on their back hoes always smile and wave with a warm, "Howdy do!" to the passing players. The only vocal complaint is that the sheep have a tendency to wander over to our golf carts for a handout. I digress.
       There was a light rain last Thursday - no more than an inch an hour - with a tad of cloud to ground lightning, but most always carry an insulated umbrella to avoid another incident like the one last year when our tallest player, Heeb, was struck by a bolt from the blue. He stills speaks funny and sashays when he walks, but no harm done.
       Because of the drizzle, there were no more than 40 golfers out that morning. It would be a great match as most carried no more than an 18 handicap and played to their ability, sticking to the rules and following etiquette to the letter.
       The second hole is always a challenge for the older seasoned players. Even though some have been tried and tested over the years, no advantage is given. There are painted markers to indicate where those in certain categories are permitted to tee off, i.e., red for the women, white for the average male, blue for the younger players, gold for the champions and green for the most gifted.
       One man stood out from the others: tall, muscular and charming with a thick mane of white hair from head to chin blowing suggestively in the gale-like winds. The par three was more than daunting, as if the wind, rain and thunder were not enough, but all were more than ready. Fess, Fred and Leroy were forced to use their five irons into the wind and each shot landed softly and expertly some 30 to 40-feet from the pin. They all smiled and glanced towards the final man, Juan "El Guapo." The Gray Fox, sometimes called "Swamp Man," reached into his bag and pulled out his pitching wedge. With a twinkle in his eye and a flash of determination in his other, old Juan struck the ball with a crisp sound much like someone chewing on a Kit Kat candy bar.
       Leroy whispered, "It's a hole in one, by gum!"
       There would be a party at the clubhouse when the news would be passed from table to table and the best Mogen David five dollars a gallon wine opened to toast the event. As is the custom, every player chipped in to buy the best meal on the menu for the victor. What a moment in time!
       A lot of players have made that elusive hole-in-one without any recognition or fanfare. Most players are still waiting for that moment in time. It's going to happen.
       Golf is a lot like life. Every day is different. We win and we lose, but we get up every morning, say a prayer and do what must be done. By the way, when we win, that is an experience to remember. When we lose, that is a lesson to be learned.
       We do not live for the applause, the trophy, the medal or the notoriety but for the unbelievable chance to give what we have to our world. God does not measure us or reward us by accomplishments or entitlements.
       God just loves us. We just live one day at a time.
       Have a good day! Sleep soundly. I'll see you tomorrow!

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