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Playing golf with a dozen clubs
Victor Pisano.jpg
Victor Pisano

I first started playing golf when my son Luke was born. His birth got me thinking about passing the “baton” so I decided to take up the game of golf.

Why? That was the only sport left for me. At 45 years of age, with the birth of my son, I became a three-index which is supposed to be pretty good.

When I was a puppy, I was a five-letter jock at my high school. Two letters in basketball, two letters in track and field, and one letter in Golf.

I don’t even know if they give out letters anymore in high school? Do they?

Anyway, I put my “sticks“ away for about 30 years after high school. But as I got older, it was becoming evident that golf was totally a sport of my future and perhaps acumen, for everyone knows, that you can play golf for as long as you are vertical. What a wonderful concept for a game.

Golf ends up being the ultimate sport that no one can truly conquer. It’s beyond reach. Perfection. No one will ever make the perfect score — no one will make a hole-in-one 18 times in a row. This I’m pretty sure of. And golf is the only sport played in heaven. This I ‘m also sure of. Only God can post a perfect 18 score — and I have it on good authority that he’s tried many times and failed.

In the words of my mentor, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, who famously said, “golf is but a good walk spoiled.“ So, here I am in a ripe old age of none of your business, playing the sport that I was ultimately chosen to play — golf.

Why? It is the most metaphysical game ever conceived by man — yes, man.

Women are way smarter than that.

It used to be that golf was an elitist activity, reserved for old white men in funny checkered pants who excluded the hoi polloi. Not so anymore. Most of my friends in Bryan County — male hackers mostly — will play golf with anyone.

They don’t care how good or bad they play, they just play. Why? Because golf is now the last bastion of a gentlemen’s hand-to-hand combat, of chivalry, integrity, honesty, and gamesmanship. Unless of course you’re playing with my golf golf buddies in Richmond Hill. Pillagers all — the lot of them. But the game transcends side-bets and Nassau’s.

Case in point: I was very honored a few years back to captain a golf team from Fort Stewart. We had a tournament for the soldiers here at the Ford Plantation. I was a captain with three really cool active servicemen. They told me they had to play on a scrubby nine hole course out there on Fort Stewart, but they loved the game anyway. (Mr. President, guru of golf courses, are you listening, Sir?) I was also honored because my dad and his small battalion were posthumous recipients of the Croix de Guerre with silver star — the French Medal of Honor — for their action in the Battle of the Bulge. My dad, still alive at 95 years of age, served with George Patton’s 3rd Army, the 51st Engineer Combat Battalion - a Fort Stewart banner. Dad’s small band of 120 also received a Presidential Citation as well. The citation read: “This was possibly the first time in military history that an engineer battalion had been relieved by five divisions.” So, co-hosting this golftournament from the base really meant a lot to me.

I was very proud to be one of the 10 team captains. Meaning? We brought in 30 military golfers from Fort Stewart. We had a wonderful time.

Of course, my team won. Why? At the first tee, we all raised our drivers high into the air, crossed them overhead with a loud “click” and I said, “Team on one.” They shouted, “TEAM!”

How could we not win?

We did.

You’re allowed 14 golf clubs in the rules of golf and also in the rules of life. How you use them is the challenge. No one will post a perfect 18. No one. Since my team’s victory with the strike force from Fort Stewart, I now carry only 12 clubs in my golf bag with respect. I retired two sticks. One in honor of the sacrifice of my dad and his brave Combat Engineers and one for my grandpa who served in the US Army too — in the trenches of France during WWI armed only with a trumpet in the American Army Band. Each was handicapped going into both World Wars with both wars ending in our favor.

If my dad, granddad, and the soldiers of Fort Stewart could play on nine-holes or without a full complement of “sticks” – then so could I. That’s why I only carry 12 golf clubs now — and why I still win — or at least I give it my best damn shot.

Pisano is a writer and thinker who has been a columnist at large for the News since 2006. He’s a Ford Plantation resident.

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