Smokey had a very short visit to Afghanistan. On his third day in that war torn country an IUD exploded – Smokey was lucky – all arms and legs, OK. But, his hearing would never be the same; free college and a lifetime pension that would make his car payments for life made it seem almost fair. He had joined the Army even before graduating from high school (following in his father’s footsteps) and was in basic training before the 4th of July. During basic training he earned the nickname “Smokey” firing the M240 machine gun. Somehow the nickname, Smokey, stuck.
As graduation was becoming reality, only one quarter to go, Smokey’s golf game was improving. He had played on the high school team, but was not really good! He just liked to hit it FAR! Now, playing two or three times a week with some good players, Smokey’s game was getting better. Good enough, he thought, to attempt to qualify for the State Amateur.
When he received the pairing sheet, Smokey noticed that he was playing with a guy named Scott Jones and Bill Stephenson at 8:10 AM off number 10 tee. Could that be that be the Scotty Jones who went to a different high school, but who’s team practiced and played at the same course his team did? Boy I hope so he thought, that would be really fun.
Sure enough it was Scotty; the other guy was about fifty with a country club logo on his cap, shirt and balls; plus he had a caddy. “Bill Stephenson,” said, Mr. Country Club as he shook their hands and handed them a business card. “My family owns all those car dealerships. Need a car? Just tell them Big Bill told you to stop in – my guys will give you a great deal!”
“What an arrogant p****,” Smokey whispered to Scotty. Scotty just rolled his eyes.
On the way to the third tee, Scotty said to Smokey, “Did you see the way that big p**** marked his ball?”
“No, what did he do?”
“Bill put his foot between us and his ball then marked it a whole shoe length forward. If he would mark it twice, he would be in the damn hole.”
On the next hole, Smokey did notice Bill’s “fudge-the-mark-forward-trick”. “What shall we do? Should we tell somebody? I don’t want to say anything to Bill and get in a big fight with him.”
“Let’s just wait a few holes and see what happens.”
The pressure of the qualifying had both Scotty and Smokey out of it after 41 and 42, respectively, on the front nine. Bill the P**** still had a chance, scoring a “foot marked” 38.
After a double on 11, Bill was faced with a little three footer for par on 12, his ball did a complete 360° around the cup and sat on the lip. Bill the P**** made a mighty whack at his ball with his putter, catching it solid and directly into his caddy’s ankle. The poor caddy limped over and replaced the pin. As Scotty, who had Bill’s card, asked, “What did you score on that hole Big Bill?”
“Another XXXXXX bogie. These guys who cut the holes on these public courses don’t know what the hell they are doing.”
“We got to tell the guys from the golf association before we sign his card,” Smokey whispered.
On the 16th green Big Bill was facing a 4 footer, that, along with another par on 18, would keep him under 80, with an outside chance to qualify. Just as he was lining up his putt they heard a very loud hammering sound. “What was that!” Bill screamed, his eyes wildly searching. Then they saw it! A huge woodpecker in the dead tree at green side. “What is that thing? It looks like a huge crow with a red head”
“That’s a Pileated Woodpecker,” Scotty smiled. “He is just having a nice lunch of those carpenter aunts who live in that dead tree.”
“Good thing I don’t have my gun!” Bill exclaimed as he a lined up his putt.
In the middle of his down swing “Woody, the woodpecker” went off again. Bill flinched and missed the hole completely. In one giant motion he had his ball in his hand and was heading for the clubhouse. “These public course aren’t worth a S***. I will never try to qualify with the peons again. Why would they allow birds like that on their course.”
Smokey hollered after Big Bill, “Just leave my card with the scorer, Bill, nice to meet you.” Then smiling at Scotty, “Woody saved us a huge conflict at the scorers table. Serves him right!”