Just a semi-selfish chime in on my novel.
I finished writing it a couple of months back & am presently re-writing, tweaking, re-writing and so on. The title will be Off The Fairway. I am presently research publishing options, looking for a release in the spring.
It is a story about a fictitious golf pro with a number of serious issues. Chemical dependency, suspensions from the tour, multiple failed marriages. No - it's not the John Daly story. The main character is a real a-hole but he turns his life around through intense counseling sessions, emotional trauma and, most importantly, a breakthrough relationship by way of his caddy. In many ways, the caddy becomes the story. But in the end, it is a love story.
I almost hate to label it a 'golf story,' as golf is more the vehicle, the stage if you will, to tell a story of the overcoming of obstacles. But I took great pains to portray as accurately is I could, what it is like to play on the tour. Following is an excerpt:
“What we got, Shakes?” said Billy.
“We got 187 to the front, pin only six on, so 193 to the pin, dead cross wind from the left. Trouble right – can’t miss it there, rolls right down to the hazard.”
Billy sopped up that information from Shakes and plugged it into his brain, adding in the effect of the elements since it was raining. “Is the grip dry on my six-iron?” said Billy.
Shakes took the six-iron from the bag and gave it a thorough wipe-down with one of the three towels he had hanging from the tines of the umbrella. “Drier than the Sahara, Pro,” and handed the club to Billy. Shakes stayed next to Billy, keeping both him and himself under the umbrella while Billy stood behind the ball, creating the mental cocoon. “Gotta start this ten feet right of the pin and draw it into the wind, let the wind hold it on the line. That work for you, Shakes?”
“You got that shot in your sleep, Pro,” said Shakes in his ever-positive mien, as he stepped away from Billy, exposing him to the rain, but he did not even feel it, as he was going through his mental checklist – Close the face a touch, choke down an inch, ten feet right of the pin. Commit. Billy then addressed the ball, turned the toe of the six-iron in to slightly close the face, and swung. As usual, the ball started exactly where Billy aimed it – ten feet right of the hole. Halfway to the hole, the ball started to gently curve to the left, where it met the counterbalancing force of the left-to-right wind. The intersection of these forces – a hooking ball with a slicing wind – resulted in holding the shot dead straight.
“That’s going to be close,” said Billy.
The ball landed three feet to the right of the hole, took one hop forward, and then spun back as if a string was pulling it.
“GO IN!” yelled Billy.
The ball listened, as it completed its 193-yard trip at the bottom of the cup.
Whenever a professional golfer makes a hole in one there is layered reaction. The immediate one is from the gallery, which happened in this instance, exulting with approval the unmistakable sound of an amazing shot. This was not a birdie roar. Not even an eagle roar – this was a hole in one roar. The next reaction is usually from the fellow competitors and caddies. The last one to realize it is the player, since their initial reaction to a ball going into the hole is one of expectation. That was where they aimed, after all.
Billy was frozen in his follow-through, his eyes fixated on the now-vanished ball. It went…in! That’s…in the hole! I just made an ace! Shakes came over and grabbed Billy by the shoulders, “HOLE IN ONE, PRO! HOW ABOUT THAT!”
Billy just looked at Shakes while his expression went from concentration to elation. “Yeah. YEAH! YEEEEAHHHH!” screamed Billy, finally joining in the celebration. Billy hugged Shakes, gave high fives to his playing partners, then turned to the gallery and gave a bow worthy of an experienced Thespian. The gallery roared its approval, and Billy ate it up.
And on this rainy Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee, that ace moved Billy from three under to five under par for his round, eleven under for the tournament, and into the lead.
Once the elation subsided, Billy was back to business.
“Now all I need is for it to count,” said Billy, as a puzzled Shakes looked at him. “The rain, Shakes. They could cancel the round if we don’t get this in.”
Sometimes Shakes thought Billy too morose with his thinking, but mostly he saw Billy as a gateway into a dimension he never experienced. This was one of those times. Here was a tour pro who just put the ball into the hole from 193 yards away, but Billy still was all business, calculating the impact of the ace as a method to move up the leaderboard, and whether Mother Nature would even let the score count. It was this type of mindset that Shakes could not comprehend; he wanted to celebrate. Billy, knowing that there were still five more holes to play, was far more pragmatic because he had to be. Getting too excited on the course was just as bad as getting too disgusted. All emotions had to be leveled out. So Billy celebrated – for thirty seconds. Then he was back to the business at hand.
“That’s number twelve,” said Billy, as he and Shakes walked towards the green.
“Twelve what?” asked Shakes.
“Twelve aces I’ve made.”
Shakes was dumbfounded. “You’ve made twelve holes in ones, B.E.?”
“Yeah, but only four in competition,” Billy wryly replied.
Shakes was now a star-struck groupie. “Twelve holes in one. Gawwwd-damn.”
“Hey, this is what I do, Shakes. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“Jeez, Pro. Settle down. You’re gonna blow a gasket,” mocked Shakes.
“I’ll celebrate after we’re done with the round, Shakes. Right now I’m thinking about my drive on fourteen.”
Shakes liked what he was hearing from him man. Billy was more focused, less reactive to outside influences. Earlier in the round some idiot yelled “Cokehead!” at Billy and he did not even acknowledge it. This was in a stark contrast to five months earlier when Billy wanted to go into the gallery after the guy threw a crack pipe at him in Phoenix.