Play On

golf ball on course

Cash learned he wasn’t very good at telling people what to do, even in his position as Assistant Pro at Coventry Pines Golf and Country Club. The particular foursome holding up play were drinking beer from a cooler on one of the carts, which Cash decided to overlook, and gambling on several elements of each hole, and then arguing for ten minutes about the outcome and what each player owed or won. 

Cash authorized several groups to play through on nine and also on thirteen, while the slow foursome argued and drank at the pin, but players were stacked tighter and tighter behind them. The club Golf Pro was just starting a round with a group of VIPs, and asked Cash to take care of it, pronto.

The Pro, Colin, was under the impression that Cash had some experience with golf and golf courses, but aside from pitch and putt Cash had never held a club, and had never driven a golf cart, and knew little about the rules and regulations. He had an open, blinding smile, however, and an outdoorsy tan, and the new slick golf shirts draped beautifully on his torso, his off-the-rack golf trousers looked tailor made— in other words, he looked the part, and Colin, being a professional, assumed that the Club would hire someone qualified, and not the adult son of a colleague of a wealthy member.

Most of the time Cash hung around the Pro Shop, sometimes answering the phone and booking players’ tee times, though he’d recently been asked to do so only when the Pro Shop manager was in the toilet. He could show Pro Shop visitors some of the gear and clothing he liked, but he didn’t know about stock or discounts or how to used the cash register. He listened with intensity to the stories from players about this birdie or that bogie, laughing heartily when it seemed appropriate, and deposting countless slaps on the backs of the old boys. Except for his utter ignorance of the game, he fit right in.

Cash drove the cart to the edge of the green then approached the foursome, who were in a huddle clutching handfuls of bills. Cash picked up an empty beer can and said amiably, “How’s it going, guys?”

“Hey, Cash is it?” called out one large man. 

“Sorry to have to ask you gentlemen to play on.”

“We paid for this round like everyone else,” said a man with a yellow visor, which cast an unfortunate pallid hue on his face.

“Oh yeah, sure, sorry,” said Cash. “Pro wants you to pick up the pace for the last few holes, ok?”

“Whatever,” said the skinny man with the visor.

“No, you really have to move on to the next hole now and play a little faster. Maybe a lot faster. Please,” said Cash with a self-deprecating smile.

The large man shrugged. “Tell them to play through,” he said. 

“Yeah, or you could just step on it, like the Pro says,” said Cash, still smiling.

“This round is costing us close to six hundred,” said a man in a purple golf shirt. “So you can basically fuck off.”

“Hey Roger, the kid is just doing his job,” said the large man, who Cash finally recognized as one of the members. The Pro Shop manager ordered 3X shirts, just for him.

“Thanks guys!” said Cash, striding back to the cart. He got in and started it up, hoping to drive off in dramatic glory, but the cart slowly got up to its maximum speed of 20 kilometres per hour and puttered away. 

Cash returned to the Pro Shop and went into Colin’s office to cool down. He sat down on the hard oak chair that reminded him of the furniture at his old high school. There were pictures of Colin’s wife and children, older pictures since he’d met the kids and they were teenagers now. He could hear the phone ringing; people wanting to book times probably. He wondered where the manager was and if he had sought medical help for his bladder issues.

The oak chair swivelled and pivoted backward, so Cash could lean back and rest his feet on the desk quite comfortably. He really wasn’t cut out to be Assistant Pro, doing the grunt work, and sometimes even having to do groundskeeper’s chores, which he was sure weren’t in his job description, though he’d never seen it. He would do better as the Pro, entertaining VIPs, handing out prizes after tournaments, delegating the less pleasant tasks to the assistant. And those golf carts—what was the point of them being so slow? He’d remove the governors from the motors so the staff could zip around quickly and in style.

He’d need to improve his game. He could take lessons. He could just imagine the pictures of Virginia and Echo on his desk, Echo as a baby, then a little girl, and then maybe graduating from high school. She would learn to golf too, maybe become a little golf whiz, wowing the members and wowing her grandparents. 

By that time he might have advanced to General Manager of the course, taking over Dave’s job. Dave didn’t do much, as far as Cash could tell. He was never around. He often ate dinner in the Club restaurant, the Lobster Pot. Otherwise Cash never saw him.

Yes, he could have a future here, one Virginia could be proud of. 

His cell phone buzzed abruptly. He had to think for a moment. “Cash here, Assistant Pro!”

“Where are you?” Colin asked.

“Just got back!” 

“Well get out there again. I’m standing here at three. Can you take care of it or not?”

“I did take care of it,” said Cash. “They said they’d hurry up.”

“Who is the member, is it Gordon Wall?”

“I um—is he the big guy?”

“Tell him the rules. He knows better. Get it done Cash, or get out.”

Cash stood up. The window in the office had a view of the eighteenth hole. It was deserted, the flag hanging limply. The green was the same emerald colour as Cash’s golf shirt. 

He wasn’t sure what another confrontation with the foursome would accomplish. He just wasn’t cut out for confrontation. He was better at delegating. 

He wondered where he could take lessons, other than at the Coventry Pines Golf and Country Club.

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