5% ABV from many, many, many ice-cold tall boy cans
The Flushing Meadows public course is like a bar that you just so happen to be able to golf at. On Saturday I accompanied my friends Plerchee and Ian to this par 3 “pitch ‘n’ putt” nestled under the shadow of Shea and amidst the ruins of The World’s Fair from back in an era when we still had world’s fairs. Little did I know it would be one of the strangest–and most pleasurable–golfing experiences of my life.
Arriving at the 7 train stop in Queens, you get off and take a short boardwalk headed toward Corona Park. It is at this point in which you feel you have entered another country. As I hoofed it the 10 minutes or so to the course, I’m not sure if I saw another white American. Most of the crowd were Latinos kicking around futbols, but there was also a large contingent of Asians headed to play tennis at the USTA Tennis Center. I did not hear English even spoken once. Where the fuck was I?
Plerchee told me ONLY to bring a wedge and a putter and, though I doubted him at first, I’d rather be short a club or two than have to lug my entire bag to another borough, so I listened to his advice. He was totally right. In fact, a sign on the “pro shop”–really just a tiny concession stand that you might see at a Little League ballpark–advised, if not ordered one, to only carry two clubs (humorously noting that “One club must be a putter.”) I looked out over the course. It was puny, one of the worst looking courses I’ve ever seen. But I still kept my hopes up. Golfing on a shit course is still better than spending the day at home watching a “Tila Tequila” marathon. Mark Twain was wrong.
While I waited for my friends to arrive I decided to have a little hair of the dog to stave off my dipsomania. And, as luck would have it, the “clubhouse”–really just a second “drive-thru” window next to the “pro shop”–had a special on Shock Top drafts. Only 2 bucks. My day was already starting off nicely. I typically don’t drink when I play golf. Correction: I typically don’t drink early in the round when I golf. Though I am a crummy golfer, my incredible confidence, if not delusional nature, makes me think that every time I tee it up I’m gonna card a 69 and thus I better keep my wits about me. However, by the time the turn comes and I’m already shooting a 52, it’s time for the cigars to be lit up and the beers to be shotgunned. I decided to begin my round drinking at this course because I was still quite hungover from Friday night’s activities.
My friends arrived and the golfing began. Some highlights of the course and our Saturday round:
*No tee boxes. Just mats like at the driving range. Cool by me, I hate lugging tees around. Having a pocketful of wood spears is not what I call comfort.
*You can play rounds as late as 1 AM. The last tee time go off at 11 PM. Seriously. The course actually has stadium lights. Though if I was playing this course at night I’d probably carry a sidearm with me in addition to my two clubs.
*The scorecard notes the course’s ground rules. A most amusing list culminating with the policy “High heel shoes and coolers are not allowed on course.”
We assume that rule was put in place to eliminate prostitutes from walking the grounds.
*Most holes are so short you could spit from the rubber-matted tee box all the way to the greens. Surprisingly, the greens weren’t half bad, and fairly challenging. The “fairways” were another story though. One fairway had a man hole cover in the middle of it, while another had what looked like a bottomless trench that if one fell in it would cause the person to drop all the way to the center of the earth. Luckily, this most hazardous of course hazards was surrounded by six bright orange traffic cones. The few bunkers on the course were not white sand traps, but more like quicksand marshes. Thankfully, I didn’t once find myself in them.
*The twosome in front of us was a guy dressed like a overly serious golfer playing with a girl lugging a purse around and wearing a flowing sun dress that scraped the ground. Yeah, she wasn’t exactly Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
*The group in front of them was an unwieldy fivesome featuring five fat fuck friends that though in their mid-thirties probably all still live with their mothers. These folks would come into play later during the absolute highlight of the afternoon.
*I saw another group on the course, a large Mexican family. The only person playing was the father though. However, the mother, two small children, and a baby in a fucking stroller joined the man on his round, following him like a 1800s circus caravan. Yes, though you aren’t allowed to sport stilettos you are apparently allowed to push a stroller around the course with an infant in it.
*We also spied what seemed to be some sort of Asian mystic. She looked like a 90-year-old Yoko Ono and just absentmindedly wandered the course in her bizarre dress, interacting with no one. I’m not sure if she was a bum, crazy, or simply a mirage on the horizon. Perhaps she was all three. Maybe when people talk about the “golfing gods” they’re referring to this chick. And, I gotta admit, I was snaking in long putts all day long. This loon was clearly on my side.
*The highlight of the day occurred as we were about to tee off on 6. A bum lugging around an enormous Glad bag full of aluminum “empties” walked past us and headed toward the adjacent 8th green. There, he cavalierly picked up a ball that was resting some five feet from the hole for a makeable birdie putt. The hitter of the ball was the fattest of the fivesome mentioned previously and when he saw the bum grab his ball he began sprinting down the fairway wielding his club like a mad man. Me and my buddies watched with baited breath. This had the potential to be the most exciting thing to happen on a golf course since my friend lost his virginity in a sand trap at the local country club at 3 in the morning after the prom. Can you imagine some fat Long Island guido hitting a bum over the head with his wedge? All of the sudden our day was about to become “Grand Theft Auto: Municipal Golf Course.”
Unfortunately, the fat fuck was too much of a fat fuck to run the 80 or so yards that were the length of the hole and halfway there he was winded. He had to stop to put his hands on his knees and, panting like an asthmatic, he shouted out at the bum to leave his ball lest he get a beat down. The bum feigned ignorance of the situation but ultimately left the guy’s ball. I’m not sure that there’s a deposit refund for golf balls so he probably figured he best just go retrieve more cans.
Oh, and there were plenty of empty cans to retrieve! There was an elderly black gentleman driving the course who was seemingly on a mission to keep all the golfers well lubricated. I’ve never had such prompt service, even at five star restaurants! And, at $3 a tallboy Bud, we were going to get quite schnockered as we were averaging a fresh can every 2 holes or so.
Budweiser, The “King” of Beers. How fucking arrogant to call yourself that, especially when you produce such an inferior product. I tell you though, sometimes an ice cold Bud can really hit the spot. It’s not like I’d be drinking La Fin Du Monde on the course were it available.
So, what to say about Bud? It’s actually one of the more flavorful macros which is indeed faint praise. Compared to it’s Light counterpart there’s no contest. A really superior beer in comparison. Actually has a little taste and bite and doesn’t just taste like dirty water. Hints of corn and rice if any flavors can be distinguished. Goes down easy and that’s why college kids and people that don’t truly like beer drink it. A little too carbonated for my liking too, but I guess that’s what AB has to do to mask the mediocrity. And it’s very bloating, I feel like an over-inflated whoopee cushion after polishing off a few of these. Nothing special, it is what it is and we were all shit-canned by the 18th hole.
As for pitch ‘n’ putt: It eliminates all I hate about golf–prohibitively expensive greens fees, six hour rounds, carrying a heavy bag, losing balls, using woods and long irons, spending most of the day lost in the trees and weeds, wearing spikes, lugging around tees, and exhibiting decorum–while maintaining everything I love about the game. Plus, it’s a great confidence booster. Even wasted, I was able to shoot an even par round on the back 9 (7 pars, 1 bird, 1 boge) and an overall round of 62. Nice! I may have to become a “member” at Flushing Meadows CC. Pitch ‘n’ putt gets an A+.