Death and foreplay

“Did I almost hit you?”

Yeah, guy. You almost nailed me with your stupid golf ball. And you didn’t even yell “Fore!” Or “Damnit, fore! Get the shit out the way—I shanked the hell outta that em-effer!” Or whatever expletive-loaded spew is one’s preferred curse of choice after careening a wayward ball at 150 miles per hour toward another man’s temple.

But no, not a peep. You’re that 50-something guy in requisite golf khakis and wrinkled collared shirt towing a pull cart mindlessly across the golf courses of America. The weekend warrior who almost certainly can’t see farther than 50 yards, yet purports to wield a driver—or in this case, a death mallet—with the consideration of a 2-year-old. You’re my nightmare, guy. Stay at home and mow the lawn.

“Oh, did I almost hit you?” guy asks.

“Nah, buddy, it was only this close,” I reply, gesturing with my hands a foot apart.

“Oh no,” guy says, as if shocked to discover he’s not the only one golfing this simmering Saturday morning at Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course. “Did my ball go in the water?”

Like I give a lick where your ball went. “Yeah, it did,” I tell guy. “I threw it in there.”

Of course, I don’t actually have the gall to chuck another golfer’s ball in the drink. It’s just bad etiquette. Even though this is the third time in a month I’ve nearly been killed by an errant drive on a Sacramento golf course.

The first time was at WildHawk Golf Club, way out off Jackson Highway in April, when some lumbering teenager sliced a wild ball 2 feet in front of me. No fore, either. And then two weeks later, at Teal Bend Golf Club on Garden Highway, when a husky out-of-towner from Virginia nails my golf cart—a plastic windshield the only thing keeping “Titleist” from being permanently tattooed on my forehead.

But maybe this is what I get for playing a Republican’s game: Golf, the ultimate 1-percenters’ pastime; one rich in inequity and decried for its nasty ecological impact. Anyone who indulges the sport deserves to get tagged by a rubber sphere traveling as fast as a Porsche at least once, no? If not outright decapitated.

Anyway, I have no clue why I find myself often contemplating death and foreplay. Lightning strike or heart attack mid-stroke, tee-shot beheading, drunk-driving golf-cart collision, lake drowning, putter to the head, quicksand bunker—the scenarios are many.

As a young kid, Grandma would entice me to practice golf with quarters for every time I sank a putt. Nowadays, I find myself standing over 10-footers, zeroing in on the grain, muttering over which pathway the ball will give. Take a deep breath, then gently swing back. It’s a dumb game, but I still love a putter’s onomatopoeia: