May 19, 2003

"Golfing the Hawaiian Way," c.

"Golfing the Hawaiian Way," c. Ryan Rhodes, Jan. 14, 2002

One of the nicest aspects of my Hawaiian vacation this year was the opportunity to golf with my father on a pristine tropical golf course. Unfortunately, one of the most stressful aspects of my Hawaiian vacation was the process involved in actually arriving at a pristine tropical golf course with my father.

It should be understood that, even though my family and I have enjoyed many Hawaiian Christmas vacations, we have done so under the strict understanding that money does not grow on trees, palm or otherwise.

Therefore, when my father and I decided to test our skills on a Hawaiian golf course this year, I found myself on the phone for a full hour one morning calling golf courses around the island to ascertain the best rates. It turns out that afternoon rates are generally over $100 cheaper per person, and an overall round of 18 holes can be downright reasonable. So, on Christmas Eve day, I contacted the golf course with the best afternoon rates and set a tee off time for 12:15. Now, remember that time, 12:15, because my father certainly did.

Even though we had no idea where the golf course actually was, we had been on the island before and were relatively certain we could find it without a problem in plenty of time. What we did not count on was the streets of Kona being jam packed with Christmas Eve shoppers.

11:30 a.m. - My father and I get in the car and find ourselves in bumper-to-bumper traffic within three minutes. My father begins methodically chewing his nails. "This could be a problem," he says, and takes a break from chewing his nails in order to glance at his watch.

11:40 a.m. - We advance about four blocks in ten minutes, and my father's nail biting begins with renewed fervor. "Are you sure you know where the turn-off is to this place?" my father asks. I assure him that it will be no problem, and I hope his incessant finger gnawing doesn't result in bloodshed.

11:50 a.m. - In the distance, a green stop light has been looming for several seconds, yet traffic is at a standstill. My father says something under his breath, and I make a silent wish that we catch the green light.

11:52 a.m. - The light turns red just as we reach within three cars of the signal. My father throws up his hands and says, "Well, we're obviously not going to make it now! What time did you say our tee off is? 12:15?! No chance."

Noon - After making pretty good time following the stop light, I tell my father to take a right, and we drive, and we drive, and then we drive some more, all the while climbing higher and higher onto the volcanic slope. "Well, this can't be right," he says. "We're just driving up and up!"

12:10 p.m. - We turn around and go back. Then we take a right and drive for awhile. Then we turn around and drive back and turn back onto the rode that goes up and up and up.

12:20 p.m. - We're late. I ask my father to drop me off so I can ask directions. "What good is that going to do?!!" he growls. For one thing, it will get me out of the hostage situation I feel I'm engaged in within the vehicle.

12:25 p.m. - The gentlemen I ask directions from do, indeed, know where the golf course is, and they inform me we're on the right road and should just keep going up the mountain. I hesitate returning to my father with this information. "Well?" he prods when I re-enter the car. I tell him to keep going up the mountain. He growls and resumes his nail gnawing. I grow increasingly afraid.

12:40 p.m. - We drive past the turn-off to the golf course and have to journey about a mile before my father finds a place to turn around. His face appears to have changed eight different shades of red during the trip. I decide not to inform him of this.

12:45 p.m. - We pull into the golf course parking lot, and I can't wait to leap out of the car and put some distance between myself and my Tasmanian devil father.

Now, the journey itself was fraught with stress, but that didn't prepare me at all for the drama that awaited us inside the club house. I made sure that I raced into the club house to explain why we were late for our tee off time. The woman behind the counter seemed unconcerned that we were late for our tee off time. In fact, we could go golfing right away, except for one thing.

"We require all golfers to wear collared shirts on the course," she informed me. "I'm sorry."

Now, we weren't dressed like slobs, but neither were we dressed in collared shirts, and we didn't have collared shirts with us. I looked behind me to see my father standing rigid as a tree, seemingly lost in his own demented world of golf course mass murder.

Before he could let loose with whatever it was that was going through his mind, I told my father that we should just pick out a couple of nice collared shirts, and that I would pay for them. We had just about picked out our shirts when the clerk informed us that we were looking through the women's wear. It seemed fitting, actually, because by that time I was willing to wear lingerie so long as I was able to golf and that my father averted a major coronary.

I ended up shelling out $76 for two shirts, and I went outside to change. I went outside for two reasons. First of all, I didn't know there was a changing room inside. Second of all, I wanted to make sure I was close to the car in case my father decided to drive it through the front door of the club house.

My father emerged from the club house wearing his new collared shirt just as I finished changing into my own. We stood there, father and son, in nearly identical collared shirts, finally ready to take on the Hawaiian links.

At that moment, and I'm not making this up, two people who had just completed their round of golf drove by in a golf cart. Neither golfer was wearing a collared shirt.

Posted by Ryan at May 19, 2003 12:32 AM
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