The retired mail carrier, a graduate of Redwood Falls high school in the mid-1960’s, makes the annual trip back home the weekend following the 4th of July. For years the beautiful old golf course has hosted the Redwood Falls Invitational Golf Tournament. Never a tournament winner but a championship flight player for years, the mail carrier now competes in the Masters Flight – Championship Flight for golfers over 55.
The heat and drought were in evident long before the mail carrier’s 12:30 tee-time, one group behind the Masters Flight leaders. Four solid holes behind him and moving up the leaderboard, the mail-carrier faced a tough, short iron approach shot to a far right pin. Cut high above the water hazard, the flagstick seem to hang in mid air. The steep grassy bank covered with thick fescue from the fringe of the green to the water was all that he could see. The mail carrier selected an eight iron for his important approach to the elevated sliver of green above the hazard. Well struck, the mail-carrier’s ball started directly at the flag that appeared to hang wilted in the humid heat. “Carry, Carry, NO!” Shouted the mail carrier as his ball drifted slightly to the right landing one foot short kicking hard to the right into the hazard.
The mail carrier hurried to the green to survey his fate. Standing at green’s edge looking down he spotted a ball with a large black dot; his marking above the Titleist. The ball was hanging atop the long fescue about six inches from the water. “What a break, I can still make four, five at worst,” he thought as he grabbed his 60 degree wedge and started down the bank covered with long tangled grass. As he crossed the red line marking the hazard, large leopard frogs, seeking shelter from the blistering sun, started jumping in all directions. Another step, more frogs; then he watched in horror as a sleek black and green beauty landed directly on his ball. The mail carrier did not move and neither did the leopard frog. Silence!
The mail carrier, in a weak voice, said to his playing companions, “A frog is sitting on my ball. I am afraid that when he jumps off my ball will roll off the grass holding it up and into the water.”
The know-it-all, country clubber, who had traveled from North Carolina, said, “You are in the hazard. If the ball rolls into the water it is just ‘the rub of the green‘.”
With all eyes now on the frog, the mail carrier tiptoed toward the ball, hanging precariously over the water. The frog leaped, the ball wiggled, but the ball with the large black dot, remained in place. With a practice swing a no-no in the hazard; the mail carrier studied this decisive play. Past the pin is better that remaining in the hazard so the mail carrier made a big swing. The ball came out clean and landed near the hole and rolled out about 20’ past the hole. “Nice shot!” All echoed.
Three putts and a double bogie, six, was the beginning of the end for the mail carrier in this year’s edition of the Redwood Falls Invitational. No trophy, but a memory of the frog that sat for a moment on the ball with the large black dot.