You people have done it all on the golf course.
You've hit awful shots that somehow found the bottom of the cup. You've hit great shots that, for one reason or another, have turned out awful.
You've struck innumerable squirrels, had run-ins with deer and flirted with gators.
You've imbibed an awful lot of adult beverages, many of which have left you caught with your pants down. Literally.
You've seen buddies throw clubs into backyards, lakes and thick trees. You've seen complete strangers fall out of carts, whiff at the ball and -- more times than you'd like to remember -- get plunked on the noggin.
But most of all, you've had a ton of laughs. So have I, for that matter, after reading the 517 entries (and counting) to our mailbag in response to my two-birdies-on-one-hole story from a few days ago.
As promised, here are the best of the bunch, broken down into 10 categories. (Extra credit to those who showed true storytelling skills.)
The award in the category of "Greatest Confluence of Unforeseen Events" goes to … Mike from Kenosha, Wis.:
College. Beer. The 18th hole was a par-5, downhill, over a river. One of the guys smoked his drive to the top of the hill on the right side, leaving an approach into the left, but he couldn't reach the green in two. We see a groundskeeper on the green. My buddy decides to lay up. He hits a high iron, the ball lands on the asphalt cart path, bounces sky high and before we could yell "FORE!" the ball lands directly on top of the groundskeeper's head. Knocked the guy out cold. The ball rolled to within 5 feet of the cup. On the way down the hill, everyone was concerned, but laughing uncontrollably -- and the beer had nothing to do with it. One guy lost control of the cart and ended up in the river. My buddy made his eagle putt. As for the groundskeeper, he was a retired priest. Required eight stitches and had a concussion. Surprisingly, we were asked never to return to the course.
The award in the category of "Biggest Embarrassment in Front of a Legend" goes to … Dan S. from Goldens Bridge, N.Y.:
In the early '90s, I was a guest at the Shady Oak Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Founded by Ben Hogan, by this time, the elderly Ben would spend his days in the grill overlooking the 18th hole. I was 12-over-par after 17 that day and was feeling good about my round until my approach at 18 found one of the greenside bunkers. I grabbed my sand wedge and as I readied to hit the shot, I noticed that Mr. Hogan was standing at the window watching me. Shaking like a leaf and with a bad case of the nervous sweats, I proceeded to blade the ball and hit it directly into the bunker on the opposite side of the green. I then repeated the performance and ended up about one foot from my original lie in the first bunker. As I readied my third bunker shot, I looked up towards the grill window and watched as Hogan sadly shook his head and turned away from the window, probably wondering who had let this bumbling cretin on his course. To this day, when I'm asked about the quality of my game, I honestly reply that I have a game that disgusted Ben Hogan.
The award in the category of "Best Retrieval of a Golf Club" goes to … Brett Demshar from Boston:
When I was 12, I had a great deal with my parents; I was allowed to play 18 holes every morning as long as I got out before the first tee time (usually around 5:30 a.m.) and managed to work at least 30 hours per week. Rain or shine, I took advantage of this every day the course was open. One summer morning, after playing seven holes in pouring rain, I stepped up to the tee at the par-3 eighth hole that had a pond in front of the green. I didn't waste any time on a practice swing as I didn't want to spend any extra time outside of my umbrella. I hit the ball and immediately felt that something was horribly wrong. My 9-iron flew through the air, keeping up with my ball for about 50 yards before it dropped into the center of the pond. It was a goner, no getting that back … or so I thought. I finished my round (minus the 9-iron) and when my dad picked me up at the clubhouse, I told him the bad news. The next morning I was up at 5 a.m. with a rope tied around my waist and shoulder deep in muddy pond water. I thought it would be impossible to find it, but with the sun shining just right, the water still as can be and my club sticking straight up, I could see it clear as day. I knew as soon as I stepped in the water that I would lose sight of the club, so I made sure to keep a straight line and felt my way around until I finally grabbed the handle. My dad pulled me back in, I dried off, changed my clothes and went straight to the first tee. Like I said before … rain or shine, I took advantage of that deal every day the course was open.
The award in the category of "Playing in Traffic" goes to … Ben from Irvington, N.Y.:
I was playing a round with my father this past spring when Mother Nature started to give us some summer showers. We continued playing and on the eighth hole at Elmwood Country Club my dad hit a slicing tee shot onto the fairway. In the heat of the moment, he spun around so fast that his driver flew backwards off the tee box, over a fence and into traffic. We stood and watched in horror as not one but two cars ran over his driver. He turned to me and said, "Let's go now." It's safe to say we didn't tell anyone at the club. We just picked up and left and shared the story with family. My dad still misses that driver, though.
The award in the category of "Nuh-uh, No Way, That's Impossible!" goes to … Cameron from Salt Lake City:
I was in high school and was golfing with a buddy of mine. We came to a par-5, dogleg right. The dogleg has some trees that you can go over (or through) if you want to cut the corner -- or shorter hitters can just go around the dogleg. I was lying two, getting ready to hit my third shot to the green. My friend had tried to cut the corner but hit some trees so he was looking for his ball. I decided to go ahead and hit. It was an OK shot, but was heading a bit right. Then, all of the sudden, I see it hit another ball in mid-air. I look over and my friend had hit at the exact same time, only to have our balls collide in the air. The odds of this happening are 1 million-to-1. We went up to find our balls, all the while going nuts about how this happened. As we approached the green we found his ball, but mine was nowhere to be found. That is, until we looked in the hole. Just like I planned it … 130 yards out, slight fade, off the golf ball in mid-air, on the green, nothing but the bottom of the cup. I will never forget it!
The award in the category of "Best Bathroom-Related Incident" (and there was a lot of competition in this one) goes to … John in San Jose, Calif.:
About 10 years ago, I was playing in St. Louis and someone in my foursome hit their tee shot off of the blue marker that bordered the tee box. It ricocheted to the right and hit a woman square in the forehead just as she was exiting a porta-john. It knocked her cold, she fell back into the porta, and the door closed. I honestly thought she was dead. Everyone froze, and about seven seconds later she stumbled out (completely incoherent), and you could actually see the dimples of the ball on the egg-sized lump on her head. She ended up OK, but it scared the heck out of everyone. I must admit that the round did speed up significantly once we could play without her.
The award in the category of "Best Quadruple-Bogey" goes to … Kyle from Eureka, Ill.:
The sixth hole at Eureka's course is the spawn of Satan. It's a 430-yard par-4 that the women play as a par-5. O.B. on the left, but you have to play it to the left of a birdhouse on the right to avoid another green. This leaves the fairway (whose grass is at all times the length of the rough on most other courses) only about 30 yards wide where you need to hit it. From tee to green it goes: huge valley, huge hill, huge valley, not-quite-as-huge hill, valley. Then when you get on the green, there is so much slope that it doesn't meet USGA regulations and the course can't be used for tournaments. When dry, you can touch the ball on the top of the green and it will roll until it falls off the bottom side. Enough about the hole. I teed off, and my horrible lefty slice took the ball O.B. Re-tee: same thing. Now hitting 5 off the tee, I do the same thing, but this time it hits a tree and I get the luckiest bounce ever, back into the fairway on top of the first hill. Hitting 6, I duff one and it barely rolls down the shaggy grass on the back side of the hill. I hit my 9-iron, just trying to get it the last 100 yards over the second hill. It lands halfway up and rolls back down to the EXACT same spot for shot No. 7. Now, pushed to the breaking point, I pull out a 5-iron. This thing was either getting to the green or finding the highway 150 yards past it. I wound up, hit the ball and watched. My friend at the top of the hill dropped his bag and shouted, "That went in!" I packed up my 5-iron, what was left of my dignity and went to the next hole.
The award in the category of "Worst Shot to Hit an Animal" goes to … Bert from Houston:
I've had two REALLY bad golf shots in my life. This is one of 'em. I was playing a straight par-5 that paralleled a set of horse stables. I sliced my drive and it went over the fence and behind the stables. I didn't think anything of it until I heard a horse whinny very loudly and a young girl scream in terror. My golf ball apparently struck the horse and hurt or startled it. The horse bucked and took off, throwing the young girl off the horse. I felt so badly, I left the course after that and considered quitting.
The award in the category of "Biggest Name Dropper With a Crazy Story" goes to … John Felizzi from Vail, Colo.:
It was the 1993 Jerry Ford Invitational Shootout at Beaver Creek C.C. I was partnered with Andy North, we were playing with 16 foursomes in the shootout, where the high score is eliminated. At the first tee box, Gary McCord teed off in front of us, hit his ball through the fairway and was almost in a lateral hazard. His caddie advised him to take a drop, but McCord said he could play the ball, insisted he had a shot. A heated discussion ensued. McCord was straddling the ball with one foot almost in the creek and his other foot so far uphill, above the ball, that his swing was darn near impossible. His caddie again advised him to take a drop. Julius Erving, Johnny Bench, Craig Stadler, Hale Irwin, Yogi Berra, Morris Hatalsky, Donnie Hammond, Jerry Pate and North all told him to take the drop. McCord said he'd make the shot and make the green. Many side bets ensued. So McCord sets up, waggles, begins his backswing, makes a great move at the ball … and misses it completely. The club hits in the hazard and McCord falls into the creek. Half a dozen guys almost wet their pants laughing so hard. Meanwhile, McCord is eventually eliminated and his caddie stormed off the first fairway, right into the bar!!
And finally, the award in the category of "Best Golf Joke Anyone Took Credit For" goes to … Tim Tone from Newark, N.J.:
I was golfing with my wife one day. I sliced my shot really badly, and the odds of getting par on the hole was very slim. I had to go through a barn door to have any chance to make par. I had my wife hold the barn door open as I shot. Tragedy happens as my shot goes awry. I strike my wife and she dies. A couple of years later, I'm playing at the exact same course and I see another couple trying to attempt the exact same shot as me. I see this horror and run over to warn the guy: I tried to do the exact same thing once and wound up making double-bogey.
That's it, folks. Thanks for the stories and the laughs. Congrats to all the "winners," but if your story didn't make the cut -- and with only 10 out of 517, just 2 percent of 'em actually did -- I strongly encourage you to share it with your fellow readers in the "comments" link below. Until then, hit 'em straight and have fun …