The observation of a “sweet freak golfer” and a candy bar thief disguised as a huge squirrel requires a whole new chapter in my mental photo album from the golf course.
I thought I had seen it all. In my 70+ years on the golf course, I have seen aces, double eagles and whiffs. Eagles locked in aerial combat crashing to the ground and putts that were hit out of bounds are also locked into the photo album of golf memories.
This spring we were playing a golf course just north of I-10 in the Florida panhandle. Blackstone Golf Course is located north of the sandy pine tree laden land along the emerald coast. The course was built in what I would describe as hardwood forest irregularly dissected with deep wash-out canyons. The course is interesting to play and well-designed fitting the terrain perfectly. Several holes require a lay-up or go-for-it club choice.
I was riding with my friend David, a former course superintendent, who had 30 years’ experience observing nature on a daily basis. The third member of our group was Roger, known as “Sweets,” because of his ever-present candy bar. Some guys drink beer on the golf course. Some guys smoke big cigars; others chew. Roger is sweet freak with a red can Coke in one hand and a Snickers candy bar in the other.
Sweets love for all things sugar has turned his body into an unusual looking warehouse for empty calories. Standing about 6’ 2” with a slender frame, except for a spare tire storage area located at belly button line. Sweets looked like a stickman drawing with a Michelin tire added at his waistline. The balloon area makes finding a proper fitting golf shirt impossible. On this day the horizontal stripped red and white golf shirt definitely accented the Michelin.
On the fourth hole, David learned over toward me and said, “Look at that fox squirrel, he has caught the scent of Sweets’ candy bar.”
“In all my years on the golf course I have never seen that animal.”
“They are by far the largest member of the squirrel family. Also, the biggest thieves on the golf course. And… they are totally fearless. Mean fighters!”
Sweets was oblivious of the silent thief lurking behind and to the right of the cart. As Sweets was using his range finder to get the exact yardage, David and I watched as the crafty fox squirrel hopped on the golf cart. Just as the huge mostly white fox squirrel was about to snatch the half-eaten Snicker’s bar off the seat where Sweets had left it, David shouted, “Sweets that squirrel is about to steal your candy bar.”
Too late, the squirrel had the sugar filled morsel tucked securely into his mouth. Sweets made a dash for the golf cart as the squirrel just sat on the cart seat and stared at him. The lack of fear displayed by the squirrel gave Sweets pause. For a long moment there was a standoff with eyes locked. Casually the fox squirrel hopped off the cart and moved a few feet and where he sat on his hind legs and enjoyed the balance of the candy bar held securely in his, almost human like long fingers.
“Did you learn a lesson Sweets?” David snickered. “If there is any kind of food anywhere near those squirrels, they will figure a way to snatch it. Hit that shot, Willie and boys are pushing us and we are only a threesome.”
On the 9th hole, the scene from Laurel and Hardy continued. Now working on his third or fourth Snickers bar, Sweets was parking his golf cart closer to his golf ball, for added protection, and placing the candy bar, that he nibbled in small bites, in the drink holder next to the can of Coke. Ready to hit his go-for-it second shot over the canyon guarding the par-5 hole, Sweets did a quick survey of the area surrounding his golf cart. There they were – two fox squirrels slowly approaching the golf cart from different directions. The Michelin bouncing like it was rolling on a pot-hole filled road, as Sweets charged the nearest animal. He was swinging his rescue club like a broad sword and screaming, “Get away you bastards.”
When he got within striking distance, Sweets made a mighty swing as the large rodent made a quick, squirrel like, move a few feet away to safety. Sweets turned back to the golf cart as the second thief exited the cart with the prize.
With a frustrated look, Sweets threw his weapon, the rescue club, at the candy bar thief squirrel like a javelin.
Sweets was taking deep breathes to recover as he retrieved the golf club. With the Michelin hanging still at his waist, Sweets proceeded to top the golf ball into the deep canyon. “Piss on it!” he said. “I am done with golf on this rodent plagued goat ranch. I am never coming back. See you in the bar.”
When we finished the back nine, there was Sweets in the grill, slightly drunk, with a Bud Light and a Snickers bar.