Friday, March 31, 2006

Do You Aim For The Golf Range Picker?

During a summer when I was about 17 I worked at Meadowlark Golf Course in Huntington Beach, CA in the cart shack running carts back and forth from the starter. I was also responsible for getting the range balls by driving the range ball picker. Back then Meadowlark had an old farm type of tractor with the big wheels in the back and the small ones in the front. It also had a welded cage surrounding the area where you sat to protect you from golf balls. It was actually pretty cool to drive around.

I was really scared the first time I picked the range because I knew the range picker had a giant virtual bulls-eye on it. You know it's true because all of us are guilty of trying to hit that moving target on the range. How many times have you actually hit the range picker? I know I had hit it many times up to the point of getting into the caged bulls-eye.

I hooked up the range ball picker to the tractor, got in, and drove it into the range. It was almost like a bull coming into the arena to fight the matador, but this time the bull was going against about 30 matadors with metal sticks and white balls. As soon as I entered the range it felt like it was raining golf balls. The golfers were actually waiting for me to enter and as soon as I did they didn't waste any time unleashing their attack on me. It was right then that I realized that all the bad karma I created for hitting the range picker was coming back 30 fold. It was very unnerving to be driving along and out of no where hear a 100 mile an hour golf ball hit the side of the cage.

I never really go used to being hit, but I learned to ignore all the near misses. The hardest part was when I had to drive the tractor really close to the mats where the golfers were hitting. I knew I was prime meat then because I was an easy target. Most of the golfers didn't try to hit me then because they knew I could see them. They liked to wait until I was far away so their anonymity was protected, but there was always some kids who didn't care if I saw them hit me. The kids got a kick of trying to hit me and it was a rare case if they did.

One day I was driving along in the picker and a ball pierced the armour of the cage and it started to ricochet inside the cage. It ricocheted about 3 times before it fell out. I had to stop the picker and collect myself after that happened. To this day I still don't know how the golf ball didn't hit me, but I'm sure glad it didn't.

Do I still aim at the range picker while hitting balls on the range? You're damn right I do. It's just too much fun to fire off a few balls at that moving bulls-eye.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course, why else would you go to the driving range?

Funny write up, thanks.