By David Owen
There was heavy rain in the forecast all weekend during my club's member-guest, but hardly any rain actually fell. My brother and I used our umbrellas to protect our golf bags before we teed off on Saturday morning, but that was pretty much it for the bad weather. Most of the rain that did fall fell on Friday night, making things much easier for Gary (our terrific superintendent) and his crew.
For the most part, the rain went either north or south of us. I take partial credit, because I've developed a number of effective techniques for warding off golf-threatening storms. Probably my greatest success was on a summer weekend almost twenty years ago. I had a big golf game planned for the following day. The forecast was lousy, so all afternoon I kept my TV tuned to the Weather Channel. Every time the radar map came on, I dropped what I was doing and stared. It is sometimes possible to create a localized high-pressure system by exerting fierce mental and optical energy on particular parts of the screen. On rare occasions, I have succeeded in diverting full-blown tropical depressions.
The following morning, I read only the sports section of the newspaper and never turned on the TV or consulted Weather Underground. Checking the forecast on the day of a golf game greatly increases the likelihood of rain, because rain clouds, like wild animals, can smell fear. As I left the house for the course, at eleven, my wife asked if I would be home for dinner. "I'll probably be back before lunch," I said. "It's supposed to rain hard all afternoon -- why don't we plan on taking the kids to a movie?"
That was a desperate move on my part. The sky looked so dark at that moment that I had felt compelled to invoke the Law of Maximum Irritation. The law states that the likelihood of completing a given round of golf increases in direct proportion to the amount of trouble the golfer will get into when it is over. By virtually promising my wife that I would be available for a wholesome family outing in the afternoon, I came close to guaranteeing that the storm would hold off at least until Titanic was sold out.
As I drove to the course, the morning's sprinkles became real rain, but I never turned the wipers above intermittent speed. Running the wipers at full force encourages a storm and may promote lightning. I also opened my window a few inches and put on both my sunglasses and my golf glove.
Alas, those bold measures didn't work. In fact, the rain became more intense as I pulled into the parking lot. So, in a final heroic attempt to appease the golf gods, I threw a maiden into the volcano: I sacrificed the back nine. "Just give me nine holes!" I cried, while smiting the dashboard with my (gloved) left fist. "Rain all you want! Just hold the thunder until two-thirty!"
And that, finally, was enough. The clouds began to break up just before we teed off, and the rain stopped altogether before we made the turn. Of course, I was in big trouble when I finally got home, after several beers, at seven o'clock. But I didn't care. To tell you the truth, I almost always get in trouble when I play golf.