The 51st Shade Of Grey

on guard

Humiliation, pain, pleasure, happiness. To experience the 51st shade of grey, you must fence with the force of nature and a little white ball for 4 1/2 hours. And there’s no better way to do that than with my friend “O” at Memorial Park.

O on 7

Golf is the hardest work between two fairways that human beings ever attempt. No game is more challenging, absurd, or addicting than golf. You’re allowed to bring 14 clubs but the most important club in the bag is Happiness—the one club you must never forget.

In the pantheon of great characters in my life, O is without a doubt the happiest person I’ve ever known. He is uniquely suited for the game of golf. He’ll never shoot par but at least once every round he hits a shot so amazing he falls to the ground and nearly faints in a fit of excruciating pleasure. But the most interesting thing about O is how he brings his gift of happiness to every aspect of his life: family, friends, co-workers, whirlpools, crawdads, guacamole, margaritas, Shiner Bock, and twice-a-year…church. O’s happiness actually pisses people off on occasion, which only makes him happier. Aristotle teaches us that “happiness is the end of man.” For my friend, happiness is the beginning, middle, and forever.

14

fountain on 15

Memorial Park is painted with scene-after-scene of exquisite beauty. It’s everywhere you look. Yet golfers concentrate intensely on keeping their head down and miss the best part of the game. You should always golf with a happy person…happy people turn everything upside down and enable you to see things you won’t believe.

flag on 17

Riding home after our round of golf, I couldn’t help reflecting on all the great characters in my life and how random it’s all been. Maybe you shouldn’t try to choose your friends after all. But you should definitely try to keep them.

reflections at memorial park golf course

Four!
Memorial Park Golf Course with Orell Fitzsimmons – February 8th 2015

The Art Of Almost

Americano Estate December 2014
The Americano Estate December 2014
Bob almost
Bob Barker-Barker…almost.
Broccoli almost
Broccoli…almost.
Cayenne almost
Cayenne…almost.
Cumquats Almost
Cumquats…almost.
Kentucky Colonel Mint almost
Kentucky Colonel Mint 5th season…almost.
Lettuce almost
Lettuce 4th growth…almost.
Pepin and Depression Glass
Legado de Pepín…almost.
Romaine almost
Georgia O’Keefe Romaine…almost.
Tangerine almost
Tangerine…almost.
Tequila almost
Blue Agave Tequila….not even almost.
The New Black almost
The New Black…almost.
Tomatoes almost
Salsa…almost.
Vehicle Tax almost
Tax…almost.
Water & Wine almost
Water & Wine…almost.

The Art Of The Perfect Miss

In the shadow of the perfect miss, there is more hidden meaning than you can ever imagine…

Golf requires more than anyone has to give—it demands you master the art of the perfect miss. It’s the only game on the planet involving a target, weapons, a box of ammo, and a true aim all the while requiring you to practice missing before every shot…including putting. Missing is so important in golf that some of the greatest players in history have devoted hours of video to the art of missing. In a round of golf most of us miss the ball twice as many times as we hit it…at least.

Clean Miss
“The Perfect Miss” – The Gripper on the 5th Tee at Memorial Park Golf Course

Shock-and-awe, stuck-on-stupid, and acute HSS (human slack-jaw syndrome)…no one suffers more humiliation off the fairways than the lost souls who make it through the first four holes…except for everyone who steps onto the dark operatic stage known as the 5th tee at Memorial Park Golf Course. This is where it all actually begins: tragedy, comedy, resignation…and beauty.

The Infamous 5th

17th from the 3rd

Our chronic inability to make an early tee time has always yielded a fringe benefit…a spectacular view of Transco Tower rising from the 13th green, just ahead of zero dark thirty (for men of a certain age, it will always be “Transco Tower”).

The Tower on 4

Walking onto the 17th tee we are always surprised to see this view of “Mystic Pond.” It forces us to reflect on many things: the beauty of the natural world, the miracle of the cosmos, and the ravaging of our pride inflicted by the prior 16 holes. And somehow we still forget for just a moment that it ain’t over yet. None of it.

Reflections from the 17th Tee

In the pantheon of great characters in my life, “The Gripper” has a seat at the table with his name on it. He has the perfect grip…the perfect stance…the perfect swing…the perfect name…and of course the perfect miss. The Gripper is even by far the best gambler I’ve ever met. He almost never loses…and that takes talent in no mean proportion when you’re the man with the perfect miss. He grips and rips and never flinches…even with sand swirling in front of his eyes, he stands steady, watching implacably as his ball rises softly from the bunker and floats unerringly toward the cup.

The Sandy

I’ve learned more about the mechanics of golf, how to play it, how to gamble it, how to savor it, from The Gripper than anyone else I’ve ever known or likely will meet. And I’ve learned more about life in the shadow of the perfect miss than I’ll ever remember. This is without a doubt the greatest game ever played.

The Shadow

Memorial Park Golf Course, with Ed Gripp, November 9th 2014...

Crime Scene at Memo