By R.J. Smiley
The four Amigos had been friends since grade school. Growing up in Duluth, they played golf at Lester Park in the summer and hockey all winter. When they were kids the Amigos never realized that the two sports complemented each other. Every slapshot hit in hockey practice was just another pitch shot on the golf course. As a result of playing these two sports year around, all the Amigos became good golfers, not scratch players, but guys who shot in the high 70’s and low 80’s.
After graduating with various degrees from UMD, the Amigos were split up. Their new jobs spread them across the country. Eventually one of the Amigos, Travis, married a woman from Brazil and moved to her home country. After 12 years, the marriage that was never meant to be, ended.
When Mike, the unofficial leader of the Amigo group, learned of the divorce he called the best friends to gather for a party. The divorce party would be at Mike’s lake home near Duluth where the group would welcome Travis back to the states. Great food, lots of craft beer, fishing and golf were scheduled to fill the weekend agenda.
The sun had burned the dew from the grass as the Amigos stood on the first green. “Hurry up and hit that putt, these deer flies are buzzing around my head!” Toothless said. Chuck had been known as Toothless since 6th grade when a puck knocked his front teeth out in a pick-up hockey game.
“Those deer flies are the reason I am taking so long to putt. The damn things are so bad I can’t keep them off my head long enough to hit it,” Lefty barked.
“Last week I took Sally, my new dog, for a walk and the poor dog was bitten to death. Those deer flies were on the top of her head two or three at a time. I can’t believe how quickly those bites made a huge welt,” Mike said.
This conversation continued through the round. “They are only around during late July and August,” Mike said smiling. “But this is July 26th, over a month to go. The only negative about golf in Minnesota is the bugs. Most bugs are harmless and tolerable. But, mosquitos and deer flies, can sometimes make a day on the golf course actually miserable.”
“After dinner I am going online and find out how to keep these damn deer flies from biting,” laughed Lefty.
With a craft beer haze in their heads and the scent of scrambled eggs and bacon heavy in the air, Lefty tapped on his coffee mug. “I learned a lot about those damn deer flies. The term “ambush hunters” is used by insect experts to describe deer flies and their close cousin, the horse fly. These ambush hunters always attack from above and bite the highest part of their prey, almost always the head. Deer flies love the same habitat that we golfers enjoy. They live and hunt in marshy, wet areas and hardwood forests.”
“I will be back in a few minutes with the way to keep deer flies off our heads today,” Lefty said as he walked out the door.
About an hour later Lefty returned with a deer fly helmet for each of the Amigos. “I know these things look funny, but the more I read about deer flies, the more I realized that to keep them off hour head you need something that sticks up above the top of your head. But it must be covered with a sticky surface so I bought this Tangle Trap. They get caught on the surface. I saw all kinds of examples of deer fly hats, but this is what I created for each of my Amigos.”
They roared with laughter as they looked at the strange kid’s sand bucket helmets. “You are nuts Lefty,” said Toothless. “Those deer flies will just fly underneath and eat you alive.”
As Lefty walked into the pro shop he got a lot of strange looks and a few laughs. The other Amigos did not put their helmets on until the second hole. By that time Lefty’s helmet had already collected a dozen deer flies. Smiling with a sly grin Lefty, kept his mouth shut after he rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt. Then he said, “What deer flies?”