Armadillos Should Not Golf

“Golf is a Gentleman’s and Lady’s game.”

I looked around at my twenty-odd fellow PE classmates sitting Indian-style in a semi-circle in front of Coach. It was late spring in Winnsboro Texas. I was twelve.

drunk dillo

Yeah, this is me: mocking.”

Poking my buddy (a lanky, slow-drawling ugly tow head of a boy named Gary) in the ribs with my elbow, whispered, “Golf? What’s he talkin’ ‘bout?”

Coach continued, “Gentlemen, today I am going to introduce you to the greatest sport of all: Golf.”

“Coach done lost his mind,” I remember thinking. “Ever’one knows there ain’t but one sport: Football.”

“Golf,” Coach said, “Is a sport you will enjoy for the rest of your lives. It requires skill, intelligence, decorum, and class. You all will search me out later in life and thank me for this day.”

(Coach was about twenty-nine and was going to night school in Tyler studying to become a physician. He was not your typical Deep East Texas Football Coach. He had a brain.)

We just sat there, dumb-founded, but we, to a boy, respected Coach so we said nothing. Although we did exchange some incredulous, ‘What the hell?’ looks.

Coach took us out to the practice football field and introduced us to “The Greatest Game on Earth.”

I cannot speak for the rest, but I was hooked.

Rode the bus home to Granddaddy that afternoon and announced, “I am gonna be a pro golfer.”

Gran-dad was sober that day (see shot not fired in anger) and said, “Is that a fack? What you know ‘bout golf young’un?”

“I know it is a Gentleman’s game, and I know I am a gentleman.”

“Pshaw Boy! You doan know anything about anything. I know about golf.”

Turns out, my Grandfather did, in fact, know a lot about golf. He had actually almost convinced his neighbor to combine his one hundred twenty adjoining acres with his and build a golf course for Winnsboro. Granddad was somewhat of an entrepreneur, having been in the Grocery Business, the Appliance Store business, the Catfish Restaurant Business (on the Tennessee river), the Worm Ranch business (selling red-worms to the bait shops at the area lakes), and pretty much had failed at all of them.

The following Friday I got off the school bus and noticed two little flags poking up from two little golf greens in our huge front yard. The ‘yard’ was about sixty ‘yards’ deep. There was a green next to the Farm-to-Market road just behind the bar ditch, nestled between the two Crepe Myrtles, and another green just in front of the house. Granddad found me as I was rummaging the fridge for left-over cornbread and sweet milk.

“Boy! I dun built you a golf course.”

“Yes, Granddaddy, I saw.”

He disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a golf club and some golf balls.

“Come on, I gonna see how much golfin’ that coach dun taught you.”

Eagerly I followed him out to the front yard. He dropped the balls in front of the porch and handed me the nine iron.

“See if’n you can hit that green yonder.”

I tee’d her up. Took a few practice strokes, remembering to keep my head down, and then I addressed the ball. My back swing was perfect. The downswing weren’t. I hit the ball and watched it sail over the barb-wire fence into the deep pasture.

“Sheeit Boy! You damn sure ain’t no natural.”

He coached me all that afternoon and after I finally managed to at least find the ‘fairway’ he went into the house and got drunk.

For the next several weeks, I played golf on my private course. But I had a major problem: I had no putter. Try putting with a nine iron. Even Phil Mickelson won’t do this. Granddad crafted a putter for me out of some scrap lumber. It was too light, so he drilled it out and poured lead into it. Then it was perfect. My putting skills improved instantly.

Summer now and I was growing unhappy with my greens. I wanted greens resembling those at Augusta. Mine were one notch above cow pasture cut short. I spent a week or two pulling weeds and planting fresh Bermuda grass. My tender mercies eventually produced two greens Jack Nicklaus would have been honored to putt upon. They were smooth, silky smooth, and wonderfully… green. Lush green. In contrast to the rest of the yard (fairway) which was somewhat brown, with some grass burrs serving as hazards. Hazards to my feet. Young’uns in Texas never wear shoes in summertime, but of course you’d know that.

I watered my greens every day. I mowed them every other day. Being a sometime gardener, I loved green things. My golf greens were my pride. I loved the way the Bermuda grass had thrived and how smoothly the golf ball would travel on its way to the pin.

In golf you will make maybe one or two shots in your lifetime that you never forget. I made my first unforgettable shot that summer. I had clipped my ‘Tee Shot’ from the tee next to the road. It had travelled about fifteen feet.  I needed a great second shot (my course was of course a par three), to have any hope of making par. (I had fantasy tournaments with imaginary friends in my head—going head to head with Arnold and Jack). My second shot was from about fifty yards. I had a good lie. No grass burrs to distract me. I addressed the ball. Took several looks up to the flag. Did my waggle to set my stance. Backswing. Fore swing. Clean crisp hit. Watched my ball bounce twice on the green and roll straight at the flag. It disappeared.

“Hole in One!” My grandfather shouted from the porch. (Until then, I had not realized I had an audience, or a color commentator, a slightly nose painted color commentator.)

“Yeah!” I shouted. I saw no need to inform him it was my second shot.

One morning about mid-summer I went out to water my greens. There were small holes in the one closest to the house. Holes! Holes the size of tea cups! “Fuckin’ ‘dillo!” was my first thought. My dog Spot would never disfigure my green. Nope. Was an armadillo. No doubt about it. This armadillo had made a fatal mistake.

I was resolved to terminate him.

mocking dillo

Don’t Shoot! I am only the Piano-Player

With extreme prejudice.

I dragged my sleeping bag onto my belov’d green that night and with my .22 rifle under my arm I lay in wait.

Fell asleep on watch around midnight. Woke up with the sun to discover more holes in my green. Further enraged now.

This MEANS WAR!

Made repairs to the ‘dillo divets and played a few rounds that day. Close to sunset, I downed some strong black coffee and filled a thermos with more. Camped out again on my green. Feigning sleep, I waited with my rifle and a flashlight. Sometime in the night, I heard him. Grubbing for grubs on MY Green. The moon was half. I did not need the flashlight. I spied him on the edge of my green, mockingly desecrating my pride and joy. Ever so slowly I turned toward him while resting on my side cradling my rifle. Took aim and shot him square in his armadillo ass. Bam! ‘Run tell that, fuckin’ ‘dillo!” He did (run) and I am quite certain he did tell all his ‘dillo friends not to fuck with my golf course. Ever again. I suppose he died, or not. Actually, I probably only clipped him, but that was sufficient; he never came back, and I continued my golfing career. It would be five years before I actually set foot on a real golf course, but I did impress the hell outta my peers with my ‘short game’, as that was all I had known. Took me two years to learn how to drive golf balls (and cars and trains and such other things.)

But Coach was right: I wish I could find him now to tell him just how right he was, per his prophesy.

47 thoughts on “Armadillos Should Not Golf

  1. “Fuckin’ ‘dillo!” 😀

    I always wondered about Southern accents: do you guys think with perfect syntax and just speak like Woody Harrelson, or what? Now I know you think exactly the same way!

    The only thing I don’t understand is why you didn’t shoot the ‘dillo in the neck then attack it with a shovel? Or….lead-filled wooden putter? I’ll bet even his armour would be no defense against that thing!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Shakespeare, but then, we have no idea how he sounded.
        Hey! I forgot to thank you for your visit and your read of this rather longish post.
        I do appreciate your time. Means much to me when ‘Y’all’ actually read.
        That is of course tongue in cheek.
        Yet, I am very sincere.
        Thank you.
        🙂

        Like

    • Ya know… as I live with a Brit…and as I do revisit comments…. I think you may have been mocking and insulting…. just the Texan in me thinking here (Yes, I know: Texans don’t think)

      Like

      • I had to re-read my comment, but now I remember.

        No, I wasn’t trying to be insulting to anyone. I was just trying to invoke a bit of southern accent and a bit of British. I haven’t commented in forever, but when I did, I treated them all as creative writing, so…no offence was intended. (I realize my blog is titled The Offensive Playbook, but…you’ll have to take my word for it on this.) 🙂

        I’m really into history, and I’m constantly learning about the UK and the South, so… yeah.

        ‘Sides, I enjoy guns too much to “Mess with Texas.” Posted a video on my channel just a few days ago from last year’s bear hunt. I remember you don’t shoot, but…yeah.

        Take care. Hope all is well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Down the middle with this one, Marcom!

    I salute your gym teacher for ignitin’ your lovin’ for golf and your granddaddy for whippin’ up that two-hole course on your front yard.

    You taught that Armadillo but good.

    Hey no foolin’ I shot two fox in the backyard off the seventh green at Radisson today. With my iPhone. Post to come tomorrow morning. We spotted a half-dozen of the frisky pups literally dancing on a deck, but by the time I pulled my phone out four were under the deck and two were almost hidden behind a tree.

    So, your course. I bet when you get back to your golf, your short game will still be top-flight, because you never forget the touch.

    Nice memory, Lance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I no longer kill innocent critters. In fact, it has been so long since I fried,er…fired a shot in anger. (Save for wanting to back in Iraq).
      Yep, Coach did me a huge favor (and I did love my Granddaddy), drunk or sober.
      The thing is, we all have memories, but they are never pure (at least in my case–I mean the mean SOB did shoot at me with a deer rifle once).
      I love golf. I did play a lot when in San Diego (it was actually part of my cool-down after my workouts in prep for SEAL training the second go – round.)

      Oh! Lost my train. What I was going to say, regarding cell phones: in ’86 I went on a photo safari in Kenya. I don’t have the photos any more, but I have the scotch – stained memories…still today.

      Like

  3. Brilliant, mate…absolutely brilliant.

    I was hooked on your writing as quickly as you were on golf.

    Cheers!

    (I’m shit at golf, by the way; one of my proudest sporting moments is being escorted from the course at St.Andrews by two committee members for ‘ungentlemanly conduct’)

    Like

    • ‘ungentlemanly conduct’
      Oh my fucking god!
      (been there too)
      But remember:
      Golf is a gentleman’s and Lady’s game!
      Still laughing!
      Thank you very much for making me spill my Stout.
      Jeeze!
      Thanks for coming by.
      Sincerely
      I appreciate the comment
      (still laughing)
      🙂

      Like

  4. Yeah = pretty pleased I came around for a visit 😀 I am not sure which part I laughed the most at – but this kinda is sticking in my head “Sheeit Boy! You damn sure ain’t no natural.”

    Liked by 1 person

      • Whose Hemingway? 😉
        We got lanceRS and Idiots.

        Um – I don’t get around much – but occasionally I mange to stop in and have a drink with people who interest me. (hence why i do not get around much? cos not many people interest me – THAT is the booze talking yeah!) Or it may be because I am a little more inclined to be a solitary creature and write a lot?
        Um – yip. Dunno – a bit flawed that you are amazed that I read your writing?? But thanks for the love none the less 😀 !

        Like

  5. Golf? What’s that? Football is King in the south as you know. lol. Your writing is so great! I can just see you out there getting a bead on that sorry armadillo! I only see them dead on the road, or when I run over one. That’s not good on my tires.

    Like

  6. Good story and well written! I alike your style! Can hear your accent through your words! I’ll have a read through some of your other stories!

    Like

  7. I used to love to golf. My finest hour was getting my first eagle on the first par 4 at Spanish Bay on my 50th birthday. True story! Have you ever seen Robin Williams’ routine about golf? Google it on youtube and you will HOWL! I love your story telling btw. 🙂

    Like

    • Andy Who? Seriously, I don’t know Andy. Andy Griff? Opey? But, thanks Teela. You have no idea how you just made me smile.
      Tis was / is a true story. Growing up with a good natured drunk is not all bad. (Well, mostly it is, but yet, there are some moments of clarity.)
      And good intentions.
      Thank you for the read and for the comment.

      Like

    • OK. You said, “…read some more..” take some time (when permitted) and read “Letters From A Southpark Jail” Tis a true story and longish, but no one reads it. I am happy with it, yet it is too long. I think if you can get past the first page, you will like it.
      Thank you for whatever you choose to read.
      I do love your site, by the way, and I visit it daily.
      Cheers,
      Lance

      Like

      • On my way, Just finished the goat story……funny as shit and terrible at the same time. I had no idea how to blow up a goat, but thanks for the mental image.
        Makes me kinda glad I had to eat oyster stew for supper. 🙂
        I had intended to wind down after my long day then I saw your post and I can’t sleep for laughing.
        My daughter said she wish she didn’t know how to blow up a goat either. 🙂

        Like

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