Daniel Boone and Arnold Palmer on Golf

        It’s a lazy summer Sunday.  We’ve had rain for weeks.  Today it was bright sunshine.  Still it’s muggy, though.  I’ve got a pair of golf sandals I’ll wear sometimes.  When I walked through the back yard the turf squished under my feet, and the mud seeped up towards my toes.  When I was a boy, I’d gone barefoot, but I’m a little more cautious now.  Gotta go the office in the morning, and I like to believe my people still need me.  The ground squirrels darted around, and the birds flitted past.  My dog came up to cheer me on, and I gave her a pat on the head.  ‘Don’t worry kid, it ain’t like we’re going bear hunting,’ I told her.

        Some days you feel as long in the tooth as those afternoon shadows, and this was one of ’em.  From where I hit practice balls, a favoring wind often blows a gentle breeze.  Daniel Boone said, “Wisdom comes by facing the wind; fools let it carry them.”  (From Robert Morgan’s book, ‘Boone’)  Ben Hogan used to practice into the wind.  Maybe he knew, or at least read about Daniel Boone.  Oh well, I ain’t Hogan.  Daniel Boone was a wise man, but I thought I’d take what help I could get.  Besides I wasn’t on call.  I was wise enough for golf for the day, though maybe not Doctoring.  I set up with the wind at my back.

        There’s a yellow bush down the fairway about 230 yards.  I took another look.  Arnold Palmer used to say there was this one hole at Latrobe where you had to carry a creek.  When he was a little boy, he used to hit it over for the ladies for a quarter.  He said when he got to where he couldn’t fly that creek, he knew it was time to give it up.  That yellow bush serves as a similar marker for me.  I took a few practice swings.  Would this be the day?

        It was hot.  I began to perspire.  I teed it up, and roped hooked the first shot in the creek.  Dang.  Now it was no longer perspiration, but sweat.  Hm.  I guess my little bluegrass friend Sophronie would say it beats hauling rocks.  I bet Daniel Boone’s wife Rebecca would say the same. 

        I had to laugh.  What the h#!! am I complaining about!  The hardest thing I do is push a pencil.  One summer I picked cotton, and when I worked the paving crew I went back to school that fall and made an ‘A’ in Organic Chemistry.  It wasn’t as tough as the paving crew by a long shot.  I drew back and made another pass.  A little more solid, but pushed.  Better.

        The breeze picked up.  It was like coolant for a radiator.  I mopped the last bit of sweat with my towel.  ‘Three’s lucky, here we go.  I ain’t so old.’  I drew back and popped a good one.  “Sail away, ladies!”  It wasn’t an Arnie shot but it was solid. The impact went all the way through my chest.  She pierced through the blue sky, curved with a gentle draw, and cleared the yellow bush on the fly.   

        I hit a few more good ones, and went to retrieve them.  Old Ezekiella came out to help.  She pranced around the Bermuda fairway like a pup, chased off a few Canadian Geese, then laid down to pant and slobber on my feet.  

        I didn’t have to measure it off.  I know the distance.  It was pin high with the front lip of the trap, and that is exactly 263.  Good enough.  We went back to the house.  I bounded in, chest all puffed out.

        Marfar greeted me in the kitchen.  “Care for an Arnold Palmer?”  (Half sweet tea, half lemonade.) 

        “Sure ’nuff.  Hit it like Arnie today.”

        “Did you clear the eunoymus bush?”  (I suspect she knew.)

        “Yep.  When I was a boy Dad would say, ‘Son you hit that one just like Arnie.'”

        “Aw, honey, you hit ’em like Arnie all the time.”   A good white lie can make a marriage very strong.  In fact, I think Daniel Boone’s wife did some of that. 

        I turned up my drink.  The ice cubes crackled and the condensation gathered on the outside of the glass.  “Hard to beat an Arnold Palmer in the summer.” 

        Maybe msslightly is right.  I can’t be but so old.  If I can still hit a ball past the eunoymus bush, and my Marfar thinks I’m somewhere in between Arnold Palmer and Daniel Boone I must be doing something right.  (More likely she is.)  I believe I’ll leave hitting into the wind to Hogan, though.  He’s tougher than me.

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: Writing


You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

8 Comments on “Daniel Boone and Arnold Palmer on Golf”

  1. Felix Miller Says:

    Oh, that was so good. May the eunoymus bush be never out of your reach.

    I believe you and your wife are equally wise.


    Felix Miller

    • drtombibey Says:


      So good to hear from you. It might get to where I can only go out when the blows strong in my favor, but I think Mr. Boone would forgive me.

      Dr. B

  2. Ponder Says:

    I don’t have to watch when Doc swings…just wait for him to let out his breath, and it’s evident if he connected. Funny when you’ve been around someone for a time – picking up the almost imperceptible. I think that’s what he he has to do in his profession: picking up on the patient’s “tells”. Probably what makes him a picker too.

    • drtombibey Says:


      An old faithful golf buddy knows a man’s game as well as his wife knows his sleeping habits.

      Y’all, Ponder is still a player too. Have an Arnold Palmer on me today, my friend, and pick a little Doc Watson too. All the best.

      Dr. B

  3. Karen Says:

    Story telling at its best, Dr. B. You have a way of making the words jump off the page and create a vivid image in my mind. Just so you know, in my imaginings Marfar is definitely peeking out from behind the curtains while you swing, partly to be prepared for the day when you don’t hit it over that bush, but mostly to celebrate with you when you do.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms. Karen,

      I just signed to an editor, and I’m gonna post on that in a minute. It is a woman. I told my agent it wasn’t an absolute requirement, but I thought a set of female eyes would bring another perspective to the table. That has been my experience till now. He agreed.

      You are the type to see a lot, and so is my Marfar. I think she peeked too.

      Hey try an Arnold Palmer one hot January day down there in Australia. (Maybe y’all call it a Greg Norman?)

      Dr. B

  4. Smitty Pres. of Neuse River Fan Club Mississippi Says:

    Doc, 263 off the tee(steroid free), hmmm,? I will pick you again for my partner versus Elvis and the Preacher Man. I believe Marfar was peeking also. Make sure you keep that bush healthy so that you can always refer to the moment- they are bad to get lice…………….

    • drtombibey Says:


      You know my game well my friend. The breeze was a little stiffer than I let on, and I forgot to tell y’all it was downhill, too.

      It really was 263, though. I stepped it off twenty years ago, and my memory is still excellent in spite of my age. (I think)

      Dr. B

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: