Postcards from the Road

Golf Digest readers share some of their favorite buddies trip stories

December 2008


We've been going on our annual golf trip for about 15 years, and these days we cap out at 40 guys. At night we break into smaller groups for cards.

We used to play Guts. In this game, everybody gets two cards, and there's a "ghost hand" of two cards in the middle. You look at your cards, and then we count down -- "3, 2, 1" -- and if you're out, you drop your cards. If you stay in, you have to beat everyone else and the ghost hand. If you don't beat the ghost hand, you have to double the pot.

One year, when we were at the SpringLake Golf Resort in Florida, we had a $1 bet that just got crazy. It was nuts. The ghost hand kept winning, and the pot just grew and grew. In the end there were three guys. One lost $2,000, and one lost $2,500. A few of us went outside and parked our cars so the guys couldn't get away without settling their bets with the third guy. I saw a bead of sweat dropping down one guy's forehead as the game was wrapping up.

We're not the kind of group that has that much money just lying around, you know? So the guys had to negotiate some kind of payout. One guy had to wear a sticker with "IOU" on his forehead during lunch. The other guy agreed to do the winner's landscaping for him. We stopped playing Guts after that year. Now we play Texas Hold 'Em with a $30 buy-in.

-- Art Scornavacca, Stuart, Fla.

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We have 16 guys every year, and we play 36 holes a day in Northern Michigan. We call it the Green Jacket Getaway -- one of the competitions is a two-man scramble, and the winners get a green jacket they can keep until the next year. They embroider their names on the back, next to the previous years' winners.

There are a lot of perks for winning the green jacket. The other guys treat you to dinner one night. You win some cash. And the next year, you get the best lodging. You also have to tee off wearing the coat in the opening ceremony at the next year's event.

That part isn't necessarily a perk. This year, defending champion Craig Coleman, who had won it a couple of times, got up there with everybody watching -- I mean, 15 guys all crowded around the tee -- and hit the ugliest shot anyone has ever seen. He almost whiffed. It went dead left, no more than 16 feet, and rolled down behind a little mound. We couldn't find it.

I'm not joking: Everyone was laughing so hard, it took five minutes before he could tee it up again.

-- John Tetzlaff, Clarksville, Mich.

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A couple of years ago, my group was staying at Amelia Island Plantation, in a condo. We'd played Friday afternoon, and one of our guys, Marty Zimmerman, said he wasn't feeling that great, so he stayed back in the room. We played Saturday morning, and Marty said he still wasn't feeling so hot. We played golf that afternoon, but he didn't.

The next morning Marty was in obvious pain, so one of his roommates, Jon, called for an ambulance. It came right away, but Marty can be really stubborn. He kept saying, "I'm fine, I'm fine," but he was doubled over in pain. The crew finally convinced him and got him to the Amelia Island hospital. Sure enough, he'd had a heart attack. He needed immediate surgery. So they put him in a helicopter and flew him to Jacksonville for a bypass.

After all this had happened, Marty's other roommate, Paul, finally came wandering out of his room. "Hey," he said, "where's Marty and Jon?" He'd slept through the whole thing.

Marty's doing fine these days. He still comes on the trip. We used to call it The Machos because we're all former lifeguards. Now we call it The Marty Memorial.

--Don Quinn, Ormond Beach, Fla.

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Our trip is the Perkasie Cup, named after the town in Pennsylvania where we all grew up. We play two teams, Ryder Cup format. A few years ago we went to Myrtle Beach, where an odd thing happened. We were at the Wild Wing Resort. Our first group hit the turn and went to the next hole, a par 3. As the guys pulled their carts to the tee, a raccoon came out of the woods and stared at them. One of our guys is Mr. Nature Guy. You know, instead of looking for ProV1s in the water hazard, he's the one who always notices the big turtle. Anyway, he was saying, "Oh, look, a raccoon ... "

When they got out of the cart, the raccoon jumped right in and started eating a hot dog and wouldn't budge. Finally one guy slammed his 7-iron against the bag on the back of the cart, and that scared off the raccoon. But once they drove away, it took after their cart and chased them. Guys were yelling, "The raccoon is chasing us! It's the Cujo of raccoons!"

This is when I pulled up to the 10th tee with the second group. We could see what was happening and were laughing like crazy. The raccoon stopped, turned around and ran straight back toward our cart. We jumped out and the animal hopped in, grabbing my peanut-butter cookies and running off. Now it was the first group's turn to laugh at us. That thing was scary. We were lucky no one ended up in the emergency room.

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