My long weekend: Day Three
Jess and I love to play putt-putt. Since our youth, we’ve been on many a putt-putt course throughout the country. In Florida, where both of our grandparents resided, was a jungle-themed course that we frequented when we visited the family. It was set up as if a plane crashed in a jungle (there was an actual plane on the side of the hill). Alongside one hole was a quicksand pit with the frame of a body and only an explorer’s hat visible. Another hole was on a sloping, sinking boat.
Now, just because we’ve played a lot of putt-putt, that doesn’t mean that we’re good. Once I nailed Jess in the knee with a wayward ball. Another time I hit the ball so hard that it was closer to the next hole than the one we were on. And I can’t count how many times my ball has fallen in the water trap.
For Jess’ last day visiting me, Fred and I took her out to our favorite miniature golf course. Fred had played the course his whole life and had introduced it to me on our first date. I have yet to beat him but I will prevail one day! But I digress.
Miniature golf is different from putt-putt. With putt-putt, the fairways have fake grass and obstacles are spinning windmill blades or strategically placed rocks. Miniature golf is played on real grass and the holes are surrounded by real sand and are farther away from the tee than in putt-putt. It’s also a lot harder. There are still obstacles, but there are no windmills.
When I play mini-golf, I start off by hitting the ball too hard and usually send it flying past the hole. Usually, though, by the back 9 I get the hang of things and actually make par on a few holes. The opposite happened for Jess. She started off well, but then progressively got worse. It culminated near the end. One of the toughest holes had a 5-foot high fence surrounding it. We had to tee off from about 15 feet away, get through the one opening in the fence, over the stone bridge (I’d gotten stuck on that for 3 strokes once) and then there was still another 15 feet to the hole. Jess shot first and got close to the opening of the fence but didn’t get through. I went and, miraculously, the ball sailed through the opening, across the bridge, and landed within a couple of feet of the hole. Fred went last and lobbed his ball far to the left, nowhere close to the fence’s opening. This made me laugh because Fred rarely messes up this bad on the mini-golf course so I have to take advantage when he does.
I stood back when Jess took her next shot, and it was a good thing, too, because in effort to get her ball through the fence opening, she lobbed the ball pretty hard. It flew up in the air and hit the wooden railing that surrounded the top of the fence, and then bounced into the grass outside the fence. I laughed at that as I watched Fred attempt to putt around the side of the fence to the opening. Then Jess went again. “I’m going to try to hit it over!” she said. What happened resulted in me doubling over, clinging to my club as if it were a cane to keep me from falling over. Once again, Jess lobbed the ball high and it angled to her right, bounced off the railing, and flew toward the hole. Unfortunately, it was hole 4 and we were on hole 12.
Back and forth Jess and Fred took turns trying unsuccessfully to get their balls on the green. At one point, Fred told Jess, “It might be easier if you just putt the ball through the holes in the fence!” Perhaps it would have been, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. Or hilarious (I’d cried all my makeup off at this point). Once they both reached the 6-stroke limit, I putted my ball in. Two strokes.
The next hole, Jess was up first. This was another tricky one. There was a well and the hole was beyond the well, down a little slope. Newbies would think that going through the well would be the fastest way. Maybe in putt-putt where tubes help lead the balls through certain obstacles, but not in mini-golf. It was actually quite easy to get stuck in this well and was best to putt around it. Fred and I advised Jess to do so. I don’t know if she heard “putt around” or “putt over” but she decided to hit the ball with a greater force than she had been. The ball sailed through the air and hit a large rock. Because of the force, the ball bounced off the rock and sailed back toward Jess. It looked like it might hit her in the head, but it didn’t. Instead, it hit the par sign and flew off in another direction, far from the hole. Jess and I were doubled over in laughter. Tears streamed my face. I was finding it difficult to breath. Fred, who was also finding all this amusing, said, “That’s what we call a boomerang shot!”