The HAC is my neighborhood society of gentlemen devoted to golf mostly for the opportunity to get together and:
1. avoid wives, children, and lawncare duties
2. drink beer and consume artery-clogging foods that accompany beer and fellowship
3. connive, lie, steal, revel in a fellow’s misfortune, and cheat
Yes, cheat, because within the heart of all golfers beats a small fifth chamber that pumps black bile, that motivates sin, and drives competition. No way around it, golf competition is a zero sum game of winners, cheaters, losers, and those who failed to cheat effectively.
Golfism seeks to cleanse the black heart of golf. It should be played from the tips with no handicap. You get what you get and you can’t throw a fit, to paraphrase my 6 year old.
Golfists are keenly aware of the mystery of the numbers that form the tapestry of a round of golf. 434454453 is instantly recognizable to the golfists at my club as the par sequence of the front nine -each number brings the image and the feel of walking up to each tee. 444535434 is the back nine. Each golfist can recite their courses numerical map by visualizing each hole from memory. These numbers add up to 36 a side, 72 for the whole. My course from childhood (Baymeadows, Jacksonville, FL): 543443454 435344544. The first number, the 5, brings to mind my first tee off on a Saturday morning at 12 years of age -a train of carts full of old impatient men looking up at me. The inability to swallow my spit, the terrible awareness of about thiry eyes, and the need for me to get out of the way.
I top my drive, refuse a mulligan (always thought mulligans were the worst kind of lie -the lie you tell to yourself), walk the twenty feet to the ball which happily is perched on the rough, and I smash a 4 wood (remember those) 200 yards to applause. That first par five is burned into my memory. These numbers are pregnant with as much meaning as cosmological constants.