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Golf and the Ghost Town

the good, the bad and the ugly
the good, the bad and the ugly
Michael Sherer

It might have been a conversation from a barbecue the week before, where four of us were consuming adult sports beverages. It might have been my idea although it was quickly picked and decided. Rich, the host, was quick to organize the outing: his wife was in Mexico
and this would be a great outing/adventure for the “guys.”. The fact that I was the only one with a set of clubs and that the others weren’t familiar with the game didn't make a difference. This was Guatemala, after all, and such things as no equipment and lack of experience never stopped anyone.

It's only a sign
Michael Sherer

Wednesday morning came around and it was now a party of five: two local musicians, Bobby Darling and Piano Mike, Raul the owner of a local coffee farm, Rich the architect and myself, the provider of the instruments of shame, aka golf clubs. A caddy found us on the fourth hole, as we struggled under the weight of the two ice chests that Rich
insisted we bring, plus the full bag of clubs and assorted paraphernalia.

It was a good thing and of perfect timing. It was a warm morning and given that our collective ages would probably average out somewhere in the sixties, plus an altitude of seven thousand feet or so, we were more than ready to employ someone else as the ‘mule.’ A deal (price) was struck, the bag of clubs hefted and the chests lightened by a few cold cans of beer.

In all fairness, Rudy our caddy, tried to demonstrate proper form and swing: it didn’t work but he kept trying. By the time a few balls were lost getting in, out and over a major rock-filled empty ex-water hazard, he borrowed a club and demonstrated how a shot was made.

By now, on the fourth hole and 3 and a half hours of up and down terrain, the toll on older bodies took its measure. The last hole, by mutual agreement, was a par 3: being able to actually see the pin from the tee box became something possible, something within reach of tired backs and aching legs. The finish wasn’t ugly but it was memorable.

Rich suggested that the next time we skip the other holes and just play the par 3 nine times. That might just work. There’s always the miniature golf course: it’s ugly but it’s short. There isn’t a windmill to get through but there is a large statue of Rio’s famed Jesus, right before the faux Leaning Tower of Pisa. A few prayers can’t hurt.