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Holiday golf game had more slices than a fruitcake
From the Back Nine

During the Christmas break, my two brothers-in-law came for a visit from Virginia. The golf bug had bitten one of them, and he talked me into a golf game Friday at Belle Meade, courtesy of Teddy Reese.

I haven't swung a golf club in months, but after some prodding I found myself swinging in the backyard just to see how it felt. With the temperature at 32 degrees at 9 a.m. and with the weather promising to warm to the mid-50s, I agreed to play.

I first called Clark Willingham, the golf pro at Belle Meade, to make sure they were open on Christmas Eve. He said yes, and he even had a threesome already on the course. That should tell you that even the most avid golfers were staying home by the fire or doing some last-minute shopping. But not us; Tony, my son and I were headed to the course.

I don't like being cold, so I made sure to bundle up. Once I got done I think I managed a back swing to 3 o'clock and a follow-through to 9. But if the visitor wanted to play golf, that is what we are going to do.

I had heard that the course went through some renovations a few years back, and the first thing I noticed is that all the tee boxes had been moved back several yards because I am not hitting it as far as I used to do.

Another thing I noticed is the three of us should have joined the other golfers by the fire, or taken up pingpong or something.

I could make up an entire Old McDonald Had A Farm song with the way I was hitting the ball. Here a slice, there a slice, everywhere a slice, slice. I was hitting it every way except straight and long and even included a "swing and a miss" so baseball would not feel left out.

Then came hole No. 17. I pulled out my seven iron, made a couple of practice swings and made my shot. This time the ball went high in the air and was headed straight for the flag.

The ball landed about 4 feet from the hole, checked up and settled in less than 2 feet from the hole. Though I didn't score my first hole in one, it gave me enough confidence that I'll go play again soon, but not until the weather is a bit warmer and I don't have to wear five shirts.

AS WE HEAD INTO THE final stretch of college football games, it has been a less-than-stellar group of match-ups to date. I liked the outcome of Tulsa 62-Hawaii 35 simply because of the underdog status involved. I also liked the last-second field goal to give Florida-International its first ever bowl win over Toledo, 34-32. Louisville and Southern Miss appeared to be a good game with the Cardinals winning, 31-28. Boise State won, and I am really tired of hearing about them and more so over their blue field.

When I look at the schedule of the games left, there are a few that will make me schedule some time to watch. I'll probably make time for the Tennessee-North Carolina game, Clemson-South Florida and Miami-Notre Dame. I hope the Irish get crushed. (It's more of a conference thing than a liking for the Hurricanes.)

My family in Mobile will be happy to hear I'll be pulling for Alabama when they play Michigan State; Florida and Penn State should be a good game; Mississippi State-Michigan and Stanford-Viginia Tech should also draw a lot of fan interest. Then we have the national championship game matching the Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks. East Coast vs. West Coast. Go, Tigers!

So whatever your allegiance, get your favorite snacks out and enjoy the games we have left.



Web posted on Thursday, December 30, 2010













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