Finding misery on the golf course following thunderstorms

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

I played golf last Saturday morning. Not usually something that would warrant me writing about it. This round was different. No, unfortunately, I don’t have a really low score or any hole-in-ones or double eagles to report.

Instead, I’ve heard that misery loves company, and I’d love some company. It was pure 100 percent miserable. First of all, it had stormed during the middle of the night. On the way to the course, I heard on the radio that almost 1-1/2 inches of rain fell between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Our tee time was 7:45 a.m. I knew the course would be soggy. Not a huge problem, I figured we’d play anyhow.

The real problems began when we arrived at the registration window and found we couldn’t take a cart. I haven’t walked 18 holes since I could afford to pay for a motorized cart. That dates way back to the middle ’80s. I figured what the heck, I could do it. I thought this might be a good opportunity to shed a half a pound or so. Keep in mind, I do possess a swimmer’s physique. Not exactly Michael Phelps-like, but more like a slender Shamu.

The cloud cover dissipated around 9 a.m., and the blazing sun decided it would be a good idea to steam things up a bit. Immediately, I felt the oxygen level decrease. I thought someone had purposely stepped on my air hose. Not only could I not breathe real well now, the sweat started to pour its salty self into my eyes. We are only on the fourth hole. It was brutal.

A few holes later, there was renewed hope. As I was wiping the salty sweat from my eyes and gasping for air while walking up No. 9, I could see the motorized carts were now out on the concourse. EUREKA! I immediately thanked the appropriate deity. I figured I’d hop in one of those babies and survive the back nine.

WRONG! Very, very wrong! The guy behind the glass said no carts on the back nine. They were only letting them out for the front nine. I actually thought he was pulling my leg because he could clearly see the near life-ending distress I was in. Unfortunately, he was as serious as the heart attack I thought I was about to have.

My buddy and I looked at one another. We were both drenched with sweat and red-faced. At almost exactly the same time, the exact same words slurred out of our mouths, “Do you wanna quit or go on?” Neither of us admitted the truth, so it was on to hole No. 10.

I immediately think I started to hallucinate. I actually thought I saw people on the front nine having a great time enjoying their games and riding in carts. Could that really be happening while I was still walking? It was precisely at that demoralizing moment that I was certain the wet, soggy grass had somehow now cruelly changed to quicksand.

Have you ever noticed every hole when you are tired is not only in quicksand, it is uphill as well? Exhausted, dehydrated, sunburned in sweat-drenched clothing and as near to death as I ever care to be, I finished the round by dragging my 2-ton pull cart, bag, clubs and myself up No. 18.

Once again, I thanked the appropriate deity that it was mercifully all over, and that for some unknown reason, I had been spared.

Please remind me to never go golfing again after a rainstorm, especially when no carts are allowed. If, for some strange reason, I ignore that warning, please shoot me immediately and put me out of my misery. It would be the humane thing to do!

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the June 30-July 6, 2010 issue

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