GOOSE STEALS PUTTER

By R.J. Smiley

With Bernie’s putter tucked securely under its left wing, papa goose swam to the center of the pond. Papa goose stretched his head upward and with a taunting honk, flapped his wings dropping the putter into the center of the pond.

Bernie and his three golf buddies have played Sleepy Hollow Golf Club every Saturday morning at 7:30 AM for years. The group did not need range finders or to read their putts from both sides of the hole. They knew the golf course and all the critters that made this country farm track their home. Five years ago a pair of Canada Geese homesteaded the pond that separated the 4th and 5th holes. Since that fateful day, the problem had gotten worse. Bernie hated these invaders of his golf course. They had ruined the beautiful Par-3 5th. No matter where a golfer hit his golf ball, it was obvious that the geese had been there. The ground was covered with purple sausage shaped evidence of geese.

It seemed that every round Bernie had to deal with the goose droppings. It got to be a joke in the group, “I think that pile of goose crap is in your line Bernie. Hey Bernie you got goose crap on your ball. You gonna hit it with that crap on your ball or are you going to wipe that nasty stuff on you new golf towel.”

“We got to get rid of those pesky bastards,” Bernie said a million times. He went to the owner and asked him to have a hunter systematically kill off the flock. That request fell on a deaf ear. He did convince the superintendent to get a dog, hoping that he would scare the intruders away. In a short while the new dog tired of chasing the geese and things returned to normal.

Bernie’s frustration continued to grow until one day it boiled over. With birdies on one and two followed by two pars, Bernie was heading for a record score. With the flag stick flapping in the gentle breeze on the back right corner of the 5th, Bernie choose the aggressive route and hit his ball directly at the flag. His high beautiful seven iron carried just over the flag and trickled into the fringe about 20 feet from the cup. The geese that were feeding in the lush rough to the left of Bernie’s ball flinched and scattered as the ball landed. Several of the flock proceeded across the green into the pond. As they crossed the line from Bernie’s ball to the hole, they left several fresh deposits.

Bernie hopped off his cart and screamed, “Look those SOB’s crapped right in my line.”

The geese that fled to the safety of the pond began calling to the rest of the flock as they reached the water while Bernie brushed goose droppings from his line.

As Bernie lined up his putt from the fringe, his friends taunted, “Hey Bernie I think you missed one? Hope your ball doesn’t hit it and cost you another birdie.” With a beautiful stroke the ball headed directly at the hole. The line was perfect, but the speed was too much. His putt to go three under lipped out and rolled about three feet past the hole. Obvious upset, Bernie hurried to the hole and without a look struck his ball. Then it happened, Bernie’s ball hit a small piece of goose crap and lipped out on the right side. “Goose crap!!” he shouted as he raked the ball into the cup.

Just as a smart assed playing partner laughed and said, “Their went your record round.” The balance of the flock headed across the green toward the pond. Bernie turned and, with a boomerang fling, threw his putter at the flock.

The big drake saw the missile coming and jumped, with a flap of his huge wings, to avoid the hit. But, Bernie’s putter found its mark. With perfect timing, the shaft of the putter caught the huge bird in the side directly under the extended wing. The bird flinched and the wing folded directly over the putter with the putter head stuck in the arm (wing) pit. The goose scurried into the pond and swam to the middle. Papa goose stretched his head upward and with a taunting honk, flapped his wings dropping the putter into the center of the pond.

Bernie stood speechless as his golf partners roared with laughter.

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