Golfing for Others

Buckeye Farm Beat

When a good cause calls you to the links to make a charitable contribution, who's going to let a little rain get in the way?

Published on: June 10, 2010

Maybe it’s golf season at your house, too? I mean, I just got an email from the human resources director urging me to use my 11 days of accumulated vacation this month or lose ‘em. Why would I throw away a perfectly good Wednesday when I could spend it enjoying the natural beauty of a golf course and the cheerful camaraderie of fellow agriculturalists? Never mind that Mike Wilson was in town the week before and I took a Friday off for golfing with him. Or that rain is forecast for most of the day Wednesday. Or that the deadline for the July issue is looming.

Nah, no way I can refuse to support a charitable event like the Annual Farm Science Review Alumni Turf Seminar at Raccoon International Golf Course? It’s for charity. Heck, I can take my wife Kathy along and pick up double points. There is some risk in that. If the team should under perform, those points might go the other way. She doesn’t tolerate losing. But there’s risk in everything.

Finding Raccoon International near Granville is no problem. I have been there many times. This is after all the 13th annual turf seminar. However, it is the first one since they finished the widening and re-routing of SR 161, which took away the entrance to Raccoon International as well as the long row of international flags that gave the course its main note of distinction. First we followed Kathy’s insistent remembrance of how she went to the course last summer and then we pursued my well-reasoned, sensible expectation of how you would be routed from the north lanes of 161 to the new entrance on the other side of the highway. Neither panned out, which was OK because we had plenty of time and it was raining pretty steady. No sense getting out of the car any sooner than necessary.

Finally on the third pass we saw the hand-painted sign that steers you off the exit and back under the roadway to the course entrance. I would urge the owners to use some of the money they no doubt received from the state for eminent domain to put up a few nice signs. Signage needed.

So it is raining as we get our bags out and it is raining as we walk up to the club house and meet our partners. And it is still raining when we tee off, but somehow we manage to birdie the first hole and the second one.

It’s still raining by the fourth hole and there is some very distant thunder and a pair of carts from the group ahead of us head for the clubhouse. We are already so wet it doesn’t matter. There is no more thunder and we push on. And the rain gets worse. So we hide under some trees. Seriously, no thunder, however, not really that much protection from the rain. We can see other carts steering for the clubhouse. But, our ball is in the fairway. We are two under par. And we are already so wet our hands are starting get wrinkled. Golf gloves have been cast aside. An umbrella covers the bags sitting on the back of cart.

Over the next 10 holes it mostly rains. For short periods it lightens up and twice I even close up the umbrella. I quickly reopen it as the rain resumes.

Finally around the 17th hole, the rain lets up. We are all really wet, but we are having fun. Our partners are both in the seed business --friendly competitors for different companies. One is filling me in on the status of wheat crop, which she says is a week ahead of schedule causing her to scramble for soybean seed to fill what she predicts will be a strong demand for double crop varieties. The other says he has several farmer customers with thousands or rain-pooled acres that will need to dry out before they can finish planting. Both have been spending time chasing slug reports.

Thanks to our “gimme stick,” a tool I’ve never seen put to use at any other golfing event, our team is doing great. The “gimme stick” is about 2 feet long and any putt that comes to rest within its reach is considered to be in the hole. Putting or chipping into a hole 4 feet in diameter is not too tough. Kathy is enjoying this. On a par 3 Vonn hits his shot of the day to about 6 inches and we mark down an eagle “1” for the hole.

And thanks to our relentless approach we finish well ahead of the rest of the group, which spent more time being dry in the clubhouse. We enjoy our dinner as the other golfers come in. Pretty soon everyone is off the course and eating bratwurst, baked beans and great brownies. Our score of 15 under par is good for second behind some ringers who probably didn’t follow the rules, but are still nice people. I choose an Ohio State tennis tee shirt as my door prize and Kathy gets an OSU football shirt.

So now I've only got ten vacation days left. Anybody need a golf partner?