“Woods? And Irons”


My grandson is learning to play golf, being taught by the father of a friend. We were chatting about it Saturday and I asked him if he used woods to drive the ball. He looked at me strangely and said,”What are woods?” I told him that there were irons and woods, and that woods were the four golf clubs for driving the ball long distances. “You mean they used to be made out of wood?” he replied. Things had certainly changed since I last caddied for my father 60 years ago!

The public course where my father and his three friends played early Saturday mornings is pictured above. I loved going along with them and carried his golf bag over my shoulder until I was tired. Eventually he purchased a little cart to use to pull the bag around and I used that. No one used an electric golf cart since walking was a big part of the game. Walking was where you discussed where the ball had landed, which club you needed to use next, what sand and water traps were on the hole being played and how likely it was that you would make par.

I loved my jobs as caddy, especially the one where I waded into the water traps and retrieved balls. There was a little gizmo to wash off the ball and I would present my new finds to my dad and his friends. I knew which club was which when I was asked for one.  I knew to be quiet when anyone was putting. I learned to duck my head if someone yelled fore.

But best of all was the so-called 19th hole where we went after they played 18 holes of golf. My dad and his friends would get beers. But I had a root beer float. I can still remember struggling to keep the root beer from overflowing the glass as I pushed the ice cream down into the liquid. So I guess woods are now made of metal. But I bet my grandson would still love a root beer float after a game.

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