Sittin’ home watchin’ the grass grow

Published 7:07 pm Friday, April 9, 2010

Watching golf on television is like watching grass grow.

I don’t like watching grass grow.

But I’ve watched a lot of it.

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Daddy and Mama were both golfers and, from the time we had a television and the channels started showing golf tournaments, we watched “grass grow.”

Back then, most homes had only one television and parents were in charge.

Daddy had learned the game of golf when he was in pilot training down in Florida during World War II. When he came home, he had the “fool hearted” notion of building a golf course in a two-horse town. There were other men in the Brundidge community who thought it could be done and made it happen.

They built a nine-hole golf course out on the Springhill Road and, minus a few giant oaks, it plays about the same today as it did a half century ago.

Daddy loved the game of golf and he knew as much about it as anyone around. The office at the family-owned ice plant doubled as his golf shop where he sold and repaired golf clubs and dispensed his knowledge of the game and the tools of the trade to those who came to listen and to buy.

Daddy wanted me to play golf and thought I had potential.

“If you have the ‘want to’ and are willing to practice and work hard, you can be a good golfer,” he told me.

By my own doings, I did not make a good golfer.

Oh, I played and really enjoyed it especially after I downsized my bag.

Daddy said that I had to learn to use every club in my bag. So, I took out all the clubs except the three wood, a seven iron, a nine iron, a rough iron and a putter. I used them all, especially the rough iron.

For a long time, Mama didn’t play, she just watched golf on television with Daddy. Then, one day, she picked up a club and never put it down again as long as she was able to play.

Mama was serious about her game and she worked at it. She would “ping” the ball. It wouldn’t go far but it would go straight down the fairway. I’d “whack” it and it would go a long way the wrong way. Mama would par the hole and I’d either have a quadruple bogey or just pickup.

It was great fun playing with Mama and all the ladies at the Brundidge Country Club, Miss Adele Johnston, Marwood Hall, Miss Rachel Rodgers, Melba Sanders, Sara Faye Fleshman, Susie Hastey and Sue Hudson. We all went to ladies’ golf tournaments at country clubs in places like Luverne, Opp and Andalusia. Most of the ladies usually brought home a prize. I never did.

Nellie Mobley and I played barefooted except when we went out of town.

Then we donned shoes to keep from embarrassing ourselves.

After a while, I stopped playing golf all together but Mama and Daddy kept playing golf, talking golf and watching it on television.

Mama’s favorite players were Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and “The Shark.”

If Lee Trevino is the one who hit the ball with a Dr. Pepper bottle, then she liked him, too.

Mama got to go to the U.S. Open that was played at the Atlanta Athletic Club and that was one of the most exciting times of her life.

Those days with Mama on the golf course were some of the most special of my life and those times spent with her watching “grass grow” are fond memories, too.

Mama had a way of putting things into words that kind of stuck with me. To this day, I quote Mama so often.

With The Masters being this week, I’ve been thinking about Mama and what she would have to say about all the media attention directed toward the return of Tiger Woods.

Mama wouldn’t have liked Tiger Woods because he has overshadowed Jack Nicklaus. She thought no golfer could ever equal the feats of “The Golden Bear.”

And she certainly would not have approved of Tiger Woods’ behavior and would not have faulted his wife one minute for taking a swing at him with a nine iron.

And, Mama would not have believed that Tiger Woods had been off being rehabilitated.

She would have been certain that he was on some secluded golf course practicing so he could stroll into Augusta and steal the spotlight from the more well-behaved golfers.

“He just ought to keep his be-hind at home,” that’s what Mama would have said.

And, she would have been right.

It might do Mr. Woods more good to have to sit at home and watch the grass grow.