Wednesday, July 2, 2014

If it's Tuesday it must be Malibu

 (reposted from February 14, 2012)

It's Tuesday morning and I'm feeling nostalgic. I'm heading into the office and somehow wishing I weren't. Not that I'm not grateful for the gig, I am. But I remember a time when Tuesday mornings and the office were mutually exclusive.

I was working as Creative Director at Chiat/Day. My partner and I were left alone to run the ABC account the way we saw it. We never had to have the work cleared by a planner. Or an account director. Or even someone higher up on the creative food chain.

We had shoestring budgets, run and gun schedules and complete autonomy. We also had the trust of a client who would produce the work they found funny and kill the work they didn't find funny. It was that simple.

That type of creative freedom was rare, so we took advantage of it.

On Tuesday mornings we would schedule golf outings at the Malibu Country Club. We'd hit the links
at 8 AM and be back in the office after lunch. No one seemed to notice and no one seemed to care.

The foursome included myself, John Shirley, Jerry Gentile and Mark Fenske. Not the best quartet of golfers by any means. (OK, Gentile, as his name would indicate, was pretty good.) But what we lacked in golfing acuity we more than made up for in laughs. By the time the round was over, my shoulders and neck were always aching from the non-stop howling.

Best of all, the design of Malibu Country Club lent itself to our tomfoolery. The course is built into the hills of the Santa Monica mountains. The fairways are lined with desert scrub and thick, high chaparral. Out of bounds is truly out of bounds, with an abundance of scorpions and rattlesnakes. That never stopped Jerry from galloping into the brush and collecting as many lost balls as possible.

And those found balls were put to good use.

The 18th hole at Malibu sits atop a high hill. There is about 300 feet of elevation between the tee box and the green, some 400 yards away. So with the carts parked on the path, we all reached for our drivers. Somebody, I don't remember who, had a USGA non-approved driver made in Korea. The head of the golf club was about 1000 cc's and it looked like a small toaster oven.

And with that we tee'd off. Not aiming for the green. Or even the fairway. Not giving a damn about hooking or slicing. We simply gripped it and ripped it. Taking advantage of our Mt. Olympus-like setting and hitting those rescued balls as hard and as far as we possibly could.

We all looked forward to Fenske's monster swings. Mark stands about 6'3" and at the time weighed in about 250 lbs. A moose of a man, with the strength to match. His form was nowhere near perfect. And he possessed all the athletic grace of a drunken ice fisherman. But damn that boy could smack the dimples off a Titleist.

Once he drove the ball 350 yards, 150 of them were straight.

The ball landed on the green of the 7th hole.
The 7th hole of nearby Sherwood Country Club.

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