“Have you ever played a round of golf sober?” Josh asked Jeremy as he sorted golf clubs.
“Sure, back in the day, I won money off Garcia at Pontre Vedra. Nice resort. Well tended grounds and a step out of your room onto white sandy beaches.” He tilted back his hat. “I’ve played with the big boys and held my own.”
“You made a living at it? Here are some more balls.” Josh swung the bucket and Jeremy grabbed the handle.
“Yeah, then I’d celebrate too much at the 19th hole. You know what I mean. Soon, I’d start drinking at the 10th. Finally, I’d putt for shots.”
“No question, Pebble Beach. I can tell you about the fog rolling in. Hooked the ball left, sliced it right. I swear I hit a seal one day.”
“Hell, they’re all over that coastline. Didn’t mean it, but swung a snap hook that bonked a poor seal. Could hear that sucker crying the rest of the course. You know how they sorta bark? Well, this one yelped and its echo followed me to the clubhouse.”
“Strike anything else?”
“My head on a golf cart. Knocked myself out on that stunt. Crazy.” Jeremy shook his head as he mulled over his past. “I’ve had birds swoop down and steal balls. Lost ‘em to alligators, too. At Kiaweh, they post signs about the gators like ‘Don’t turn your back on the big boy sunning himself at the tee box.’ Stuff like that. I left a ball in a baby gator nest hidden in marshy grass. Rather lose a stroke than a finger.”
“Sounds like a blast. So, how’d you end up here?” asked Josh as he spread his arms wide to encompass the area.
Jeremy looked around. “This isn’t so bad. I kinda dropped off the tour quickly. Lost the beachfront house to the wife. No other skills, man. I wasn’t renowned, so I could take my game to clubs. Offered my services to corporations who needed to win a golf tournament. Nice clothes, meals, and drinks, plus a day on a golf course. It was a living.”
Josh handed Jeremy a box of stubby score pencils to place on the shelf behind him. “…Go on…”
“I got older and less consistent. My game tanked and I wasn’t invited back to play. Fewer and fewer invitations meant I needed a steady job. That’s how I ended up here.” Jeremy checked his watch as a green mini-van parked. “Our 10 am group is prompt. Birthday kid’s name is Tyler.” Jeremy glanced around. Clubs and balls lined up. Scorecards stacked. “We’re ready. Josh, flick the switch for the windmill.”