Joe looked tentatively at the clock. It was seven-fifteen. Could anything else go wrong today? First the “Blackberry Blackout” and then even after he got the presentation up and running, the clients couldn’t have been less impressed. But at least it was summer, and there was enough daylight to get in at least 9 holes before dark. And right now, Joe needed to hit something badly.
Maybe it was the lateness of the hour, or the threat of thunderstorms, but the course was eerily empty. Joe didn’t care. He quickly grabbed his golf clubs and headed for the clubhouse. He didn’t even remember paying the greens fees or loading his clubs, but there he was perched on the first tee. Par four 415 yards straightaway. Not normally one to use the driver, Joe tore off its cover and teed up his ball. This was not a normal day. Aiming slightly to the left as he had a tendency to drive right, the ball made a thunderous noise as it sailed down the middle of the fairway. Visions of Tiger Woods flashed through his head as he looked around at an imaginary gallery and tipped his hat. Good thing he had spent the extra money on the cart, because he certainly wasn’t used to walking this far for a second shot. Sand to the right, water to the left, but he was actually close enough to use his pitching wedge. This day just kept getting weirder.
A mighty swing, followed by a mighty splash brought Joe back to reality. He smiled and walked over to the “drop zone.” “Does he have a shot from here?” he imagined the sport casters commentary. Why not? Tiger always did. So he again clutched his wedge, choked up a little and almost collapsed as the ball hit the flagstick and fell in. The fictitious crowd roared. Actually it was distant thunder, but Joe hadn’t noticed. He was “in the zone.”
The next hole was a par 3. A small booth was set off to the corner. For ten dollars, players could take a chance at a hole in one for half a million dollars. The other half went to the kids from St Jude’s Hospital. Joe wasn’t big on charity, but if there was a charity that could stir the hearts of the hardest golfer (not to mention stroke his ego at the same time) this was it. So Joe gave the man a twenty and told him to keep the change for the kids. He was secretly happy to have an actual audience, the way he was playing. There was a long form to fill out with social security numbers etc. in the event of a million dollar shot. Joe drew a quick line through it, and joked that if he hit the whole in one, the hospital could have the full million, he just wanted to keep going before the sunset or storm brought an end to the best round of golf he’d ever played (even if it was only the second hole).
Just as Joe hit the shot, there was a loud crash. The ball shot straight up into the air, and was barely noticed as it landed on the green and trickled down into the cup. Joe never saw it. The man from the booth never saw it. His attention was on the smoke coming from the club, glued to Joe’s hand, as he lay dead in the tee box. Who says lightning never strikes twice?
In the far wing of St Jude’s is a small plague with a golf ball attached. It simply reads, “Thanks a Million Joe! Hole in One, Grand Tetonic Golf Course, Par 3, 8:05 PM.”