Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning

A Story by Aaron D Gam

Jacob sat against his car, waiting for his opponent to arrive.  The crisp early March air swirled, making him shiver.  The last of the snow had melted away over the past week, letting the grass come back, and Jacob knew what that meant.  Golf season.  That week at school he and Cameron planned their season opener, and today was the day.  Jake was starting to get impatient when a silver Mercedes pulled into the parking lot and slid into the spot opposite Jacob’s Toyota Corolla.  Jake stood up and brushed the dirt off of his jeans. He grabbed his clubs from his trunk as Cameron slid out of his vehicle, his shiny white belt glistening in the morning sun.

“You ready to dance?” Cameron taunted, pretending to tango.

“Not necessarily,” Jake responded flatly.

“Well then,” Cam scoffed as he grabbed his new TaylorMade clubs from his car.  “I’m gonna run in and grab a hot dog before we start, you want one?”

“Nah, I ate at home.”

“You’re loss,” he said as he headed into the clubhouse.  He came out a minute later holding an already half-eaten hot dog in one hand and a Gatorade in the other. “Let’s rock,” he said, and they headed to the first hole, a tree lined par 4.  Cameron grabbed a tee from his pocket and tossed it up into the air.  It landed, pointing at himself.  “I’m up,” he said, and headed to the tee box.  The tee box didn’t have its welcoming green color, but instead was still brown and dead for the grass hadn’t had enough time to grow, yet.

Cameron stuck his tee in the ground with the shiny white orb perched on top.  He lined up and began his swing immediately.  He pulled his driver far past parallel to the ground, as Cam contorted himself in the hopes that he may actually destroy the ball.  The ball may not have exploded when the club contacted it, but it did sound like it had.  The ball rocketed off the club face, boring its way down the fairway.  It landed off in the distance, and rolled down towards the trees, finding itself in the rough.

“Good start to the year,” Cameron laughed.

“You’re still in the rough.”

“10 bucks says that it’ll be further than yours.”

“20 says mine will be in the fairway.”

He didn’t respond.

Jacob sauntered up to the tee holding his 2 iron, and sunk his tee deep into the dry dirt.  He set his ball down, which still held dirt stains from the previous year, and stepped back and took a practice swing before lining up.  He fidgeted for a moment, like someone trying to find the comfortable part of their bed, and took one last look down the familiar fairway.  He slowly drew his club back, stopping when it was parallel to the ground, and allowed it to fall back to the ball, popping it straight down the fairway.  It landed down the middle of the road, and stopped.  “Just how I like it,” Jacob muttered, pleased with his first hit of the year.  “Pay up!”

“Not a chance.”

The two walked up to Jake’s ball.  He crouched down, inspecting his lie.  “Dude, you’re in the fairway, what could you possibly be looking at,” Cameron scolded.  Jacob didn’t say anything.  He looked at his bag, debating which weapon to select.  He upon his 6 iron and approached his ball.  He stepped back for a moment, and swung once before setting up next to the ball.  He fidgeted for a moment, like a batter waiting for the pitch, and then began his swing.  He brought the club back until it was nearly parallel with the ground, and dropped his shoulder, guiding the club towards its target.  The ball jumped off of the clubface and focused in on the green.  It sailed towards its target, a gentle breeze guiding its trajectory towards the pin.  It dropped onto the putting surface, rolling towards the hole.

“Well struck,” Cam commented, “but mine’ll be closer.”

“Suuure it will.”

Cameron strode up to his ball, wet with the morning’s dew, and promptly walloped his toward the green.  Yet again, he hit his ball with enough force to kill a lion, and he found himself on off the back of the green.  He slammed his club into the ground, mad that the ball had not gone where he had wanted.

“Shake it off,” Jake comforted.

“I always do that, every time!” Cameron said, annoyed.  As they walked up towards the green, Cameron recovered and was able to place his third shot close to the pin.  Jacob lined up behind his 12-foot putt and read the green as if it was the Bible.  He stood next to his ball, and drew his putter back and forth, finding the rhythm he needed for the shot.  When he thought that he had found the desired power, he stood up over the ball.  He drew his putter back, and released it, tapping the ball towards the metal hole.  The ball slid along its line, tumbling down towards its target.  It fell towards the hole, but lipped around the edge of the hole and careened back towards Jacob.

“Bad luck, man,” Cameron said.  Jake didn’t say anything, but walked toward the ball that had refused to fall and marked it.  “Seriously?” Cam asked.

“What?” he askd, looking up.

“You’re going to mark that?  You’re only two inches away.”

“Yeah, but you’re out.”

“Like it matters,” Cam scoffed, as he walked up to his ball.  He stood above the sphere for a moment before striking it into the cup.  Jacob returned his ball to its place, carefully lifting the marker, paused for a moment, and then dropped his ball into the hole as well.

“All square after one,” Cameron remarked as his friend marked down the pair of fours they had just made.  They matched each other’s scores over the next three holes, leaving them tied as they approached the short par 4 fifth hole.  “You know I made my first eagle on this hole,” Cam said.

“I know, you tell me every time we play it,” Jake retorted, “right before you pull your drive into the trees.”

“Very funny, but I’ve got a good feeling about this one,” he said right before he hooked the ball deep into the woods.  He punished his shiny white driver into the grass of the tee box, leaving a grass stain and clump of dirt on the club.  Jake stepped up to the tee box holding his 2 iron, not saying anything so as to avoid angering him even more.  He placed his tee in the ground, placed the ball on the tee, stepped back, took a practice swing, approached the ball, fidgeted for a moment, like someone standing on a beach, feeling the sand between their toes, and swung, sending the ball down the middle of the fairway.  Cam had resentfully went back to his bag to grab a second ball, and returned to the tee box to hit his drive again.  He took his normal, overpowered, erratic swing, which found itself tailing to the right again, but landed safely in the rough.

As they proceeded down the fairway, Cam bragged about how much further his drive had gone than Jake’s, having seemingly forgotten his first stroke on the hole.  Jake was able to place his second shot, using an 8 iron, onto the green while Cam hit his fourth shot off the back of the green, flirting with the line of trees again.  He punished his sand wedge with a firm slap into the dirt.  However, Cam was able to miraculously recover his composure again and hit his next shot within inches of the pin.

“How d’ya like that!” he bragged.  Jacob just laughed and shook his head.  He approached his ball, studying the green.  He stood above the hole, with a dangerous downhill putt before him.  He stood above the ball, knowing that making this putt would secure him both with a birdie and with, at least, a three stroke lead.  He stood up straight and took a gentle practice stroke, not wanting to hit the ball too firmly and send it cruising past the hole.  However, his nervousness would get the better of him and he hit the ball too softly, and it only rolled halfway to the hole.

Still feeling mad at himself for making such a poor stroke, he marked his ball and cleaned it, forgetting that it was still his shot.  Cam, noticing Jacob’s lapse, placed his ball back onto the putting surface and made his tap-in.  Jacob then returned to his ball mark, stuck his ball on the ground, glanced over the green, took a brief practice swing, and struck his ball, sending it two feet past the hole.  He let out a cry of disgust, angered by his poor play, walked down to where his ball lay; now looking up towards the elusive cup.  He crouched behind the ball, took a deep breath, and regained his composure.  He went through his normal routine on the green and made his putt for a bogey.

As the twosome moved to the next tee box, Jacob was reflecting on his last performance and realized his mistake, and tried to apologize to his friend, realizing that it should still have been his turn after he had missed his first putt.

“It don’t matter,” Cam said, laughing it off.

“Do dude seriously, sorry,” he said, feeling bad about the infraction.

“It seriously doesn’t matter, don’t sweat it.”

“Fine,” he muttered as he approached the tee, yet again, with his 2 iron. His nerves and contemplated violation broke Jake’s focus slightly, and he didn’t hit his drive well, instead hitting the ball into the sparse trees to the left of the fairway.  Cam smashed his drive near the green on the par 4, due in part to the steep decline from the fairway towards the green, which put pressure on Jacob to hit a strong second shot.  This pressure, he was able to handle, and he punched his second shot under the trees, down the hill, onto the green, mere inches from the pin.  Cam, however, was able to keep the pressure on, and he hit his shot less than a foot from the pin.  They each made their birdie putt, and the lead remained at one.

From this point, the two’s battle remained close over the next eight holes.  Cam had hit his second shot into the water on the par 5 ninth hole, but had recovered to make a one-putt par to keep the deficit at one.  Cam reached the tenth green, a par 4, in one shot and two putted to tie the match with a birdie, but Jacob retook the lead on the thirteenth after sinking a 35 foot birdie putt to retake the lead.  Cam was not happy after his friend sunk the putt.

On the fifteenth hole, Cam tried to take the stroke back.  The short par 4 gave Cam another chance to reach the green in one.  Jacob, however, would hit first, and, as usual, sent his 2 iron down the middle of the wide fairway.  Cam, feeling confident since the tenth, grabbed his driver.  He throttled the club, leaving imprints from his hand and his glove on the grip of the club as he yanked the club back, and powered it far down the fairway until a wind gust and the ball’s spin forced the ball to break sharply the left.  The ball was lost from sight a moment before a sharp thunk was heard.  Yet again, the once shiny driver was slammed into the ground.

Jacob, feeling confident that victory was within his grasp, hit his pitching wedge, which graced the ball onto the putting surface before helping his companion locate his ball in the long grass.  They found it, somehow still intact after striking the tree, and an unhappy Cameron grumpily punched his ball out from under the trees back into the fairway.  “I actually thought that you might have gone for it, there,” Jacob said as they moved backwards to where Cam had been forced to hit his ball.

“If I could have cut down that tree I prob’ly would’ve,” Cameron said.

“It might have just gotten out of the way in fear when it saw your ball flying at it.”
            “No, it wouldn’t have had time.”  Cam hit his next shot, wielding a sand wedge, onto the green, and almost made his putt to save par, but had to settle for bogey.  Jacob meticulously studied the green, wanting to lock in his victory.  He got up to his ball, feeling confident that he had the correct line, and approached his ball after he took his practice swing.  His line was correct, but he didn’t hit it firmly enough, and the ball stopped less than a foot short of the hole.  He walked up to where his ball had stopped, having failed to fall, and marked it.  He stepped back, cleaned a mud mark off of the ball, put the ball back to its spot, and made his par putt.

The par 3 sixteenth produced the familiar result of two pars, due to Cameron making a brilliant greenside chip shot.  “One down with two to go,” he remarked, knowing that there was a strong chance that Jacob would bogey the difficult seventeenth, giving him a window back into the lead.  They stood on the seventeenth tee box, staring up the massive hill that was the fairway.  “Do you have any idea why they made this thing a par 4?” Jacob asked as he looked over his bag.

“Because it’s an extremely easy and short hole,” Cameron said, confident in his skills as ever.  Jacob laughed and grabbed his driver from his bag.  “Whoa!” Cameron exclaimed, exaggerating how shocked he was at Jacob’s club choice.  “I didn’t even know that you had one of those.”

“Only for special occasions,” Jacob said as he took an extra practice swing.  He strode up to his ball, and rocked on the balls of his feet, like a basketball player about to take a free throw, and began his swing.  He drew the club back gracefully, bringing the club back just past parallel to the ground before he unwound and hit the ball.  That extra distance on his backswing would cost him, and the ball careened towards the trees on the right.  The ball struck one of the monstrosities and it flung the ball back into the fairway, but down to the bottom of the hill.  “You know I really don’t like these things,” Jacob said as he put the club cover back onto the driver.

“Too bad for you,” Cam said as he lined up in the tee box, “‘cause I love ‘em.”  He forced his club back much farther than Jake ever would have dared, and brought it down with more force than he could have ever hoped to create, and the ball flew up and over the hill, finding the middle of the fairway.  Jacob walked the short distance to his ball and grabbed his 2 iron, the club that he was thinking he should have hit one stroke earlier, and hit it over the top of the hill, just barely past where Cameron had hit his drive.  Cameron then hit his second shot onto the green, knowing that it would be tied, if not better, for the final hole of the match.  He was correct, as Jacob hit his second shot onto the green as well and they each two putted.

“Seventeen down and one to go,” Cam said as they approached the final tee box.

“Got that right.”

The long par 4 eighteenth hole stretched out before them.  A wind gust blew the grass as if they were waves on the ocean, giving a false sense of beauty; a calm before the storm.  Cam, as always, yanked his driver from his bag and strode onto the tee box.  He stuck his tee into the ground, his target already resting on top, ready to be struck.  Again, Cam brought his club far back, getting as much power stored as possible, and released the power of the Kraken in his downswing, sending the ball skyward.  It sailed through the air and fell to the ground, almost reaching the pond that he had already claimed one of his balls on the ninth hole, which ran parallel to the eighteenth.  “Match that!” he exclaimed, proud of the shot he had just hit.

“Don’t need to,” Jacob responded as he grabbed his trustworthy 2 iron and prepared for what would be his final day.

He placed the tee into the ground, letting the dirt engulf it, and perched the ball on top.  He stepped back and took a practice swing, finding his rhythm yet again.  He addressed the ball, looked up for a moment, finding a target down the fairway, and returned his focus to the ball.  He fidgeted his feet for a moment as he made everything else disappear, as he had so many times before, trying to concentrate.  All that existed was himself and the ball.  He brought the club back, as if it were an extension of his body, and swung, knowing that it would go where he desired.  The ball sailed through the air, and fell to the ground, rolling down the right side of the fairway, leaving a window with which to attack the green.

Jacob returned to his bag, cleaned his club, and set the 2 iron back in the bag and headed off down the fairway.  “Well struck,” Cameron complimented.

“Thanks, I know,” Jacob responded, an air of sarcastic confidence about him.  Cam laughed, glad that he was golfing with his buddy again.  They approached Jacob’s ball which rested atop a tuft of grass on the fairway.  Jake knelt down, examining the lie.  He went to his bag, considering which club he should use.  He stood there for a moment, knowing that he was “in-between clubs” and that this decision would most likely decide the match.  He selected 4 iron, and approached the ball.  He moved back for a moment, took his practice swing, and stepped up to the ball, and fidgeted for a moment, finding his groove.  He drew his club back, but not all of the way to parallel, and brought the club back down, introducing it to the ball, and sending it towards the green.  Unfortunately, as the ball flew through the air, a gust of wind blew it off track slightly, and it fell to the ground right of the green, kicked off the hill next to the green and ended up some distance to the right of the green

Jacob sighed, disappointed that his good shot had gone astray.  “Rotten luck,” he muttered to himself as he lifted his bag onto his shoulders.  Cameron made another brilliant approach shot, adjusting for the wind, and found himself in line with the pin, left of the hole.  They walked up the final hill, each splitting towards their respective balls.  Cam knelt down and looked over the green that he already knew well, looking over the fifteen foot putt that he thought could win him the match.  Jacob peeked at the green that he knew even better before locating his ball.

It had found itself resting against a tree root, stuck in one of its ancient grooves.  Jake stared at the ball, looking at the intricacies of the root.  Its bark was rough, dark, and weathered, holding the ball in its dangerous grasp.  He looked at his ball, and it stared back at him, daring him to make a shot.  Jacob made his decision and grabbed his sand wedge, praying that he would be able to pop the ball out of its trap and that it would find the green.  He took an unsure practice swing, not sure how he would attack the ball, but knowing that he would.  He set up over the ball, straddling the root, and brought his club back part way.  He let the club fall back down, opening the club face, and hoped that the shot would go as planned.  The club contacted the ball and it jumped out of the hole, flying towards the green.  The ball landed on the fringe of the green and rolled towards the hole, letting the hill bring it towards its target.  It continued to turn towards the cup until it struck the pin and fell with a satisfying plink; a birdie.

“Really!?” Cam exclaimed, both out of surprise and annoyance, “You’re not gonna make this easy are ‘ya!?”

“Guess not,” Jacob said, just as surprised as his friend was.  Cam grunted, now having to focus more on his putt.  He settled behind the ball to read the green one last time, twitching like an excited child.  He stood next to the ball and struck it.  It started rolling above the hole, letting the hill take it back down towards the cup.  It continued to fall, catching the lip of the cup and spinning around the circle one and a half times.  It jumped out, rested on the lip for a moment and fell into the cup; a birdie.

“YES!” Cam exclaimed, flinging his putter into the air and doing a celebration dance on the green.

“You look like an idiot,” Jacob said as he walked towards the dancer.

“An idiot who just tied you,” he said as he kept dancing
            “Still an idiot.”
            “This is true,” he said, but kept shimmying.  After he finally stopped, they shook hands, as they always did after the round and headed back to the parking lot.  “74 to 74,” Jacob stated as they were about to leave.

“Par round against par round.”

“Wanna give it a try next week?”
            “I’m in.”

“Good, I’ll be able to win that one.”
            “Of course you will.”

© 2012 Aaron D Gam

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Added on December 21, 2012
Last Updated on December 21, 2012
Tags: Golf, Sports, Jacob, Cameron, Competition, Friends, Friendship, Skill, Talent, Sport, Club, Hole, Pin, Putter, Driver, Iron, Too many metaphors