No alarms were needed as everyone rose at first light and quickly showered. We had the first tee time on that glorious morning. “Re-filled your coffee cups and grabbed another sweet roll,” I shouted as we left the pro shop.
Pro-V1’s or similar ammunition, Christmas or birthday presents or recent purchases at PGA Super Store, were launched from the first tee…. Most never to be seen again.
The holes passed quickly on this spectacular morning and the action got more intense. A reading on the bets after the 17th hole showed the teams all square with the staggering amount of $120 riding on the final hole. The typical north woods style final hole was a long tight par 4.
The game was on as the round reached a crescendo. A perfectly placed 3-wood from the tee left me a long approach to the dew covered green. But my ball was the only ball to find the fairway. I knew that I could put the pressure on our opponents with a good shot.
With my favorite hybrid in hand I produced a high, beautiful draw that landed on the front of the green and trickled toward the hole. My partner and I knew that a two putt would seal the match.
Then like a lightning strike, “the A-…e” on the opposing team blasted one close for a tap-in par. His partner knocked their ball away as he pulled the flag stick. Now it was all up to me.
I had a 20 foot slider to win the match, the money and buy the beer during lunch. I fixed two ball marks and settled into the practiced routine. All eyes watched the ball as it curled toward the hole. On the final rotation my golf ball caught the left side of the hole and disappeared into the cup. My partner and I were in the midst of mid-air high five when the ball popped back out of the hole and sat on the lip.
Our opponents, “the A-…e,” were bent over in laughter. As we approached the cup and looked in, we saw a large toad that had blasted the ball out of the hole as he tried to escape. That is when the volume really rose.
The argument was settled by the golf pro who concluded that the winning birdie counted. The ball had reached the bottom of the cup before an outside source, the toad, had caused the ball to pop back out of the hole.