The Loop

A miraculous shank, a new playoff format, and a burger breakthrough

June 15, 2015

Getting a head count of the Sunday Morning Group is tough, because nobody stands still. Recently, it occurred to me that counting bags might be less confusing than counting heads. On Sunday, we tried it:


And it worked! Twenty bags, twenty numbered poker chips in Chic's hat, five teams of four, two best balls per hole:


The other guys in my foursome were Ben, Hacker (real name), and Tim. On the thirteenth hole, a par 5, Tim shanked his third shot, from 120 yards away. His ball squirted over the wall and into the woods, out of bounds:


We assumed that it was lost forever, but after what seemed like an impossibly long time it ricocheted not just back into play but onto the green, and ended up maybe five feet from the hole:


Tim missed the putt, a side-hill slider, and he figured the miss had cost him a skin, but it turned out that net eagle wouldn't have been enough, because Mike A., after hitting a lousy second shot, holed his third from 180 yards away, for a net albatross. And those weren't the only birds we had to deal with:


My teammates and I played so poorly on the first nine that we gave up all hope, and, probably because we had stopped caring, we began to play really well. (Despair is the poor man's confidence.)  We ended up in a tie for first place, at -18. The playoff was lob wedges off a ketchup-bottle lid, from the little patio near the grill to the putting green, closest to the hole. As always, the stymie rule was in effect. Here's Ben, holding his finish:


And here's Tim, hitting what turned out to be the winning shot (worth $25 to each of us). His ball ended up just inside the ball of Corey, our terrific pro:

Making the patties takes work, Reese said, but fitting them onto the grill is easy:


You have to cut slices of cheese to fit:


You need just one kind of bun, plus mustard, ketchup, pickles, and onions:


We may insist on them from now on.