By Karin Fuller
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Even though I’m still pretty darn new at this golf business, I think I might’ve already captured some sort of record.
I got two birdies on one hole.
It was even the same birdie.
It was kind of an angry looking birdie actually.
Tall and bright white with long, skinny legs and a couple streaks across its back like something round and muddy had slapped across it.
It happened on the last day of vacation at Myrtle, where Didier and I managed to squeeze in some golf. Excuse me if this sounds a bit braggy, but I did amazingly well on the first two courses, shooting in the low 50s for 18 holes in spite of all the windmills and fire-breathing dragons and such, but those next two courses we played were something else altogether.
There was so much water. So much sand. You’d almost think we were at the beach or something, but these were “big kid” courses with more than just putters and bright-colored balls, and instead of 2-year-olds stomping around and slinging clubs in the ponds, there were crotchety old guys with sunburns and earbrows and a cooler of empties.
I’d been playing fairly well this last day, without a single lost ball and only half-a-hundred sand traps, but those first few holes had been laid out in a way that I didn’t need to hit over water. Then came one where the entire right side was flanked by a lake, and to the left was a fairly busy thoroughfare.
I have this gift with finding water when I golf, an almost magical ability where my ball becomes something of a dowsing rod, capable of tracking down a teardrop in a desert. Put a substantial body of water nearby and there’s essentially nothing I can to do prevent my ball from quickly causing a resounding “kerplunk.”
“Try aiming over at the traffic instead,” Didier suggested.
Thinking there might perhaps be some water bottles in passing cars that could lure my Titleist leftward, I teed up, took aim and gave it a shot.
My drive started off left, then hooked crazily right, bouncing hard and fast straight for the lake, its trajectory only briefly slowed by skipping over the back of the big white bird that had been peacefully wading at water’s edge.
The intrusion didn’t sit at all well with the bird. He half-spread his wings and began stomping toward me with this furious, You want a piece of me? kind of gait.
“I think he’s planning on kicking your butt,” Didier said.
The idea of meeting my demise via stork stomping struck me as so funny that I dissolved into a fit of laughter so loud I suspect it carried all over the course.
Fortunately, the sound of the crazy lady apparently frightened the bird enough that rather than seek revenge, it flew about 20 yards farther up on the lake, and then glared at me from afar.
Once I got my giggles in check, Didier tossed me a second ball and I teed up again. Aiming left.
The ball went high and straight. Into the lake.
He tossed me a third.
It went into the bird.
It bounced quite a few times first, so it didn’t appear to hurt the poor guy, though it did clearly infuriate him even more.
That stork shook-flapped his wings several times — perhaps the avian equivalent to shaking a fist? — then waggled his head back and forth in a way that inspired me to retrieve my tee and hurry back to the safety of the cart.
“Chicken,” Didier said.
“Stork,” I corrected.
It seems the odds of hitting the same bird twice on the same hole, especially for someone who hits as inconsistently as I do, has to be a few million to one. Figures that I’d use up my millions-to-one odds to tick off a tall bird rather than for winning a lottery.
In a life as weird as mine, it’s just par for the course.
Karin Fuller can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.