Monday, September 04, 2000


Shanks for the memories

        It was not my idea — with a Seven-Figure Guy and a Six-Figure Guy — but it was a siren song this Five-Figure Guy could not resist.

        Because the two would have to be interviewed anyhow, better to do it from a tee box with troubling fairway views than a 29th floor mahogany office box with stunning river views.

        What's more, there would assuredly be some Labor Day lessons and who better to teach than a Seven-Figure Guy who made more in one year than the Five-Figure Guy made in a lifetime. The Six-Figure Guy was no slouch, either.

        We made a bet at $1 per hole, called a “skin,” with $1 greenies, sandies and sandy-carryovers, too.

        Nobody had heard of a sandy-carryover before except for the Five-Figure Guy, who suggested it because, while he was very bad at golf, he was very good at getting out of sand traps. Which they, of course, didn't know. (A sandy is when a golfer gets out of a sandtrap and into the cup in two strokes).

        It was apparent that the Seven-Figure Guy and the Six-Figure Guy had more time for golf than the Five-Figure Guy and were more confident, straighter and better. You'd think the Seven-Figure Guy and the Six-Figure Guy had nothing to prove, were financially comfortable for, oh, about 30 generations, and so the buck-a-hole bet was meaningless.


        Labor Day Lesson One: Money really matters to a Six-Figure Guy, and it really really matters to a Seven-Figure Guy.

        “You have all the skins so far,” the Seven-Figure Guy said quietly to the Six-Figure Guy. The Five-Figure Guy could tell that the Seven-Figure Guy did not like that, either.

        Another Labor Day lesson soon landed. Though the Six-Figure Guy was eight skins up at the end of nine, he never stopped standing in the Five-Figure Guy's line-of-sight when the Five-Figure Guy putted. (OK, so it's Akron rules, then, is it? the Five-Figure Guy thought. I'm gonna plant a bad seed by comparing golf swings to baseball swings. We'll see how you like that.)

        The Six-Figure Guy's swing soon fell apart, which yielded Labor Day Lesson Two: Use against rivals what brings advantage because it is better to win money than to lose money.

        The day wasn't just about money, though. The Seven-Figure Guy was as polite as a Boy Scout. He held doors, waved his arm to allow the Five-Figure Guy to step to tee boxes first and asked caring questions about the Five-Figure Guy's life.

        The Six-Figure Guy was the first to announce “mulligan” when the Five-Figure Guy took a 290-yard poke and mystically whisked the ball 6 feet, leaving it on the tee. Labor Day Lesson Three: Be generous.

        The sandy-carryover clause worked. The Five-Figure Guy made five bucks by coming out of a sandtrap to 3 inches from the cup — a stunt that was thick with carryovers.

        Like every golf round ever, it ended far too soon. The lessons, too, were fleeting: Be generous, be interested in others' lives, keep track of the money, heighten each advantage.

        The Seven-Figure Guy ended up owing $2 to the Six-Figure Guy and $2 to the Five-Figure Guy.

        I didn't see if the Six-Figure Guy took his money, but this much I know: The Five-Figure-Guy took his, folded it twice and put it away in his pocket — along with those lessons.

        E-mail or call (513) 768-8386.


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