Once again, I’ll have to thank my friend Erica (check out her Blog on my Blogroll to the right) for this idea. This adventure starts off while I was in the Marine Corps but is not a Marine Corps story in itself. You know the old recruiter’s sales pitch…”Join the Service, See the World” well I did. Along the way though I made a goal for myself…something fun to pass the time and at the end I could say I accomplished something in my life.
I came up with the brilliant idea that I would golf or at the very least drive a golf ball in every state in the country. I was only 19 or so…then it seemed like a lofty goal. Anyway I figured I’d have 50-60 years to accomplish this. Sometimes though just to satisfy this goal, the term golf or drive a golf ball is loosely defined. Two things would aid me in this accomplishment…first, the USMC saw fit to route my plane back from Okinawa, Japan through Alaska and secondly, they also sent me to Hawaii. Now with these two hard targets out-of-the-way, the possibility was growing closer.
One would think it strange and damn near impossible now a days to board a plane with a driver or a 7 iron in hand and Titiliest 1 in pocket. ….I was making a layover in Denver and didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. So I am fortunate that this instance occurred several years ago (before 911)… of course I would have to explain several times my goal to many at the airport and on the plane and once again at Denver airport security. Fortunately for me, Denver Airport had an ample makeshift fairway just outside the doors….well not completely but who’s going to follow you back through airport security. Besides, those airport shuttle busses are like tanks anyway…golf balls ricochet off them very well.
Sometimes I would plan my trips and drive out-of-the-way just accomplish what I was soon to believe was not impossible. I once was in a bar in Kansas City, MO at the edge of the Missouri River drinking a beer with a colleague discussing this goal when the owner says ” We drive golf balls off the roof into the River all the time”. “GOAL!!!!!!!!” without hesitation, I picked up the driver and up through the opening to the roof I went…with a trail of followers to witness. To accomplish this goal of standing in one state and driving a golf ball in two states, I would need to at least reach the center of the river….Now anybody who has golfed with me knows that on any given day I can hit a ball like John Daly, Happy Gilmore or Tim Conway’s “Dorf on Golf”. Which one would I be today??? was the question??? Let’s just say it took a long time to get warmed up. I used up whatever balls the were in the owners bag and even sent a local to the store for 2 dozen more while I regaled my story of this feat to the patrons of the bar. I am proud to tell you that nearly 4 dozen golf balls late the John Daly in me showed up. I dug in my stance (as much as one could do on an artificial golf turf rug) slowly brought the club to the top of my swing and started my downswing with my eye on the ball. At the time of impact my head was down my wrists tight and hips were ready for follow through….then it happened…. “The Ground Shook, The Sky Opened, and Mere Mortals Parted”…the ball jumped off the club face and soared straight and true as it climbed its way up and away from the roof. I slight tail gust from the Gods of Golf and to the many of witness I had done what I thought earlier would be impossible….I had reached the center of the Missouri River and in doing so I drove a golf ball from Kansas City, Missouri to Kansas City, Kansas….the crowd said it was a “Gimmy” who am I to argue….GOAL!!!!!!!!
I’ve successively done this in many states prior and since, sometimes stepping out of a Denny’s after breakfast on my way to Florida and pulling a ball and tee out of my pocket and reaching into the trunk of my car and let it fly across a parking lot, highway or into the side of a Walmart. My favorite though will still be the roof of that bar in Missouri.
To this day, I’ve not yet accomplished the goal of all 50 States, but I’ve had a lot of fun and I’m well on my way. So if you happen to be traveling with me and you hear “Fore” take heed turn to and duck. At the very least get your ass in the car and start it…we may have to make a run for it.