Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Clothing Optional

Last week I enjoyed a rare day off.

I know that as a freelancer I can have any day off, but the truth is I'm cursed with a sadistic work ethic.

It haunts me with the sad numbers of my financial worth and mocks me with my daughter's upcoming college tuition bills. It tells me to crank it and bank it and threatens to play a non-stop slideshow in my head, of dirty nursing homes, leaky bedpans and suspicious orderlies who swipe loose change off the dressers. And so I work. As much I can.

With the exception of my yearly camping trip (which can hardly be considered relaxing) last week was the first time all year when I had consecutive days off.

After spending two hours in the garage hunting for my golf shoes, I headed to PenMar by the Sea, a nine hole executive course known to anyone who lives west of the 110 freeway. I love PenMar. Not only because it's close to my home. It's also relatively easy. The biggest hazard are the overly aggressive squirrels (particularly at the 4th hole) who can literally unzip a pocket on a golf bag and steal a protein bar.

The other reason I like PenMar is the incredibly relaxed atmosphere.

Years ago I was invited to play golf with an ad agency and their client at the very chi-chi Donald Trump Course in Palos Verdes. The green fees were an astounding $300. As if that weren't bad enough, the course sucked. It had faux waterfalls. Tricky moats. And the kind of showboat design one would expect from that merkin-wearing blowhard.

In 18 holes I went through two dozen balls.

PenMar, on the other hand, has none of that pretension. It's funky, it's relaxed and draws golfers from all walks of life. It's golf for the 99%.

Take this codger for example (pictured above). As our group stepped up to the 4th teebox I saw this guy remove his shirt. He looked older than me, but in surprisingly good shape. Not only was he going sans shirt, he was sans shoes as well.

After he planted his ball 250 yards straightaway down the fairway. He came back to his golf bag and pulled out a Ziploc bag with carrots and cucumber slices. With a pleasing smile and the demeanor of an old hippie, he walked around and offered his group, as wells as ours, a vegetable snack.

"You gotta try the zucchini, I grew it in my garden. With my homemade compost."

Then from the tee box, I watched as he followed up his great drive with an equally impressive approach shot, capped off with a 15 foot birdie putt.

Good karma, dude, good karma.

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