I have been extremely fortunate over the years, and I have had the opportunity to indulge myself. One of my favorite indulgences was the annual golf trip. I went on such a trip for 11 years, and visited nice places, a not so nice place, and played golf on some of the nicest golf courses in central Florida.
It all started by chance I guess. I knew one of the managers that lived in Texas, and that he played golf, we had talked from time to time about our love of golf. One day out of the blue he called me and asked if I wanted to join a group of guys going to Florence SC to play golf for a week. After getting the cost and getting permission from my wife I called Ken back and said I would love to join the group. Ken asked me if I knew of any other golfers that might be willing, I said let me make some calls and I would get back to him. Shortly after the call, I spoke to Terry and Don. Both agreed without hesitation, and I became the coordinator for the DC contingent of golfers. Including Terry, Don, and I the group was 28. That was my 1st golf trip. I loved the golf; the accommodations were okay, the group way to damn big.
L to R Doug, Me, Terry, Don
Terry, Don and I all liked the concept behind the golf trip, only to a much smaller scale. It was decided we would do it again the following year, but only 4 of us. Don was sure he could talk Jim into joining the Group.
The following year the four of us headed to Myrtle Beach in late February. We stayed at a place called the Hurl Rock Motel, by far the single biggest dive I have ever stayed in, and could write a two thousand words just on this one golf trip.
Jim was an active participant for the first 2 years, and would join the group from time to time in the future years. But Terry, Don and I would remain the core of our group for the duration. After Jim’s departure, Doug joined the group, and also became part of the core. For the next 2 years it was just the four of us. Our group would grow from 4 to as many as 9. But it was generally 7 or 8.
I realize that once again I have taken a million words to set up my story. Today’s story really is about Terry, Don and Doug, and why I feel these three guys made it the best 4 some I ever played golf with.
Doug is the best golfer I have played with consistently over the years. I have never beaten Doug no matter many strokes he has given me; we may have tied a few times which to me meant I won. But even at my best I couldn’t beat him. Sure I won a hole or 6 over the years. But Doug is just good golfer and even better person. Doug was the baby of the group, no matter who joined Doug was always the youngest. But Doug is a people person, a great listener, a good conversationalist, and a caring person. During the trips he would be the 1st to volunteer to be the step and fetch person. He was generally the last to bed and the last to get up. Doug also helped me during the planning stage to pick the golf courses we would play that trip, and we pre map them so we didn’t have to scramble trying to get directions each day. Doug could also hold his own in the verbal jousting that always when on during one of these trips. Giving as well as he got. I believe, I have known Doug for over 17 years I have never seen him mad, nor have I ever seen him have even single drink. His drink of choice was Pink Lemonade, and he was just as addicted to Krispy Kreme donuts as the rest of us, and he would be willing to drive 40 miles out of his way to pick up a couple of dozen for the group. He was also in charge of the nightly movie or double feature, however it played out.
Terry or “Mr. Magoo” as he is affectionately referred is the elder statesman of the group. I don’t believe if we actively searched we could find anyone older to play with (that fit it) LOL. He is referred to as Mr. Magoo; because I am sure the cartoon character was fashioned after his likeness. A Terry and I became friends in 1985, but met in 83, while on a business trip to NYC. He was the Telecom Dir. in charge of an area that stretched from Maryland all the way to Maine (the entire NE). I was the program manager out of DC, and we met to review how his Zone was managing my program. It was during the course of these meetings that our friendship was born. And we have been extremely close friends since then. We speak at least once a month and talk for 30 or 40 minutes. Anyway, back to the 4 some. Terry was/is the oldest member, can’t see for shit, has no sense of direction, and thinks he hits the ball further than he does, which makes him pretty much a normal golfer. Terry was by far the worse golfer in the group expect when Jim played. On the tee Terry would dead hook to the right, and begin searching the left side of the fairway. Doug or I usually rode the cart with him because we had the eyes of the group, so we could normally drive Terry right to his ball. In time it got to the point where Terry would just get in the cart and just let us take him to his shot. But his single biggest contributions to the outings were his stories. He has some of the best life stories imaginable, and even though I have heard almost all of them, I would gladly sit through yet another telling. Do keep the ears of most women and child out of range when he starts because his language has the ability to embarrass even a Sailor. More often than not he is clearly the villain or perpetrator in his stories, which explains why he got to go to so many different private and public schools as a youth. Terry was also a Marine, and worked for the federal Govt for at least 35 years. Terry btw was one of two gentlemen that called the hospital when I was gravely ill demanding an update on my condition. Claiming he was my brother in Philadelphia and as part of the family it was his right. The nurse started in on the HIPA rules and Terry apparently told the Nurse to F…. HIPA tell him what he wanted to know, HOW!!! Apparently the nurse folded, and gave out very detailed information on my condition, and Terry advised her he would be calling back. At some point Steph added him to the HIPA paperwork. I speak at length of Terry in my dream sequence posts. Terry is one of my dearest friends (way beyond a best friend) in the world.
Finally I will talk about Don. Don was one of the highest ranking Govt Officials for local telecommunications before he retired. He wasn’t considered an expert in local telecom, he WAS the expert. One of the single smartest men I have known. He was my mentor and dearest friend. As a golfer he was middle of the road. He could power it off the tee, but not always with the accuracy needed. On any given day we could play pretty even. For as loud as Terry was Don was quiet. Terry and Don were best friends and had pretty much worked together in one way or another, their entire adult lives. As a fledgling manager Don taught me 2 important lessons 1; it is always better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and 2; a crisis on your part doesn’t make it a problem on my part. Don was a constant source for education, guidance and leadership, and I tried to emulate him throughout my career. In the office he had a style grace that I had not seen before or since. Don passed on about 5 years ago as a result of complications from his COPD he was 74 at the time of his passing.
This wasn’t so much about golf or golfing, it was how I enjoyed these friends and what they meant to me. Doug is still Doug, and we talk about once or twice a year. Terry and I are dearest of friends and we talk about once a month. Terry is 83 or 84, and doesn’t act a day over 15 usually. He recently successfully had lung surgery to remove some cancer. He is cancer free, and currently does not require any further treatments, just checkup every 6 months. While Don isn’t around to talk to, I do chat with his wife every 5 or 6 months. She was the love of his life, it just took forever for them to finally meet, but their time together was fantastic, and I don’t remember Don being happier prior to his marriage to Nancy.
Someday I may actually write the story about the Hurl Rock Motel, and that golf adventure purely as a golf story. I will continue to dig pictures out, and write the appropriate story.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to ask. I will address each. Please take care and have a great day. Bill