September 10, 1999
You leave home for your favorite golf course, even though there’s enough drizzle to keep you switching the wipers from intermittent to low and back again. By the time you park and run in to the pro shop to register, it’s raining pretty hard. The Weather Channel radar on the pro shop’s TV makes it look like the storm might last all day.
Sometimes, though, the Weather Channel is a little off. The rain slackens, although the course remains off limits. A few minutes later, the superintendent walks into the clubhouse and says if the rain stops in an hour or so, you can play.
You have a choice. You can hang around and find something to do, or leave.
There’s really no choice, is there?
Of course you decide to stay.
It’s even easier to pass the time if you can put your hands on one or two of Don Wade’s And Then X Told Y books (Contemporary Publishing, Paperbacks, $11.95 or $12.95 SRP). These collections of short stories and anecdotes are a pleasant way to spend some free time. Club houses and pro shops should keep copies handy for when their golfers have time on their hands and are looking for some light-hearted fun.
Wade was a long-time writer for Golf Digest. Several years ago he started this series of anecdotes, short stories, and moving moments from literally dozens of sources. His books are consistently good sellers, and there’s apparently no end in sight for the series.
Each book has a forward, introduction, or other contribution by a familiar professional golfer, such as Curtis Strange or Amy Alcott.
The pieces run from one or two paragraphs to several pages. They include stories from the pro tours as well as some less-familiar places, such as The Hogan Company’s meetings when Ben was still in charge.
In And Then Fuzzy Told Seve, Wade tells about the time Hogan appeared before his sales force with his hair uncombed and with his clothes in an unusual state of disrepair. He then left the room and shortly returned with every strand of hair in place, looking sharp in perfectly pressed clothes, as he usually did. He then asked, “So which person would you rather make a deal with?”
Not too subtle.
And then there’s the time Nick Faldo claimed he saw his ball stuck high in a tree at the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. As recounted in And Then Seve Told Freddie, the tournament officials insisted Faldo had to be absolutely positive the ball was his. Faldo dutifully climbed the tree to look. After a while he yelled down, “Where the hell is Jane?”
Avid golf readers might find some of these stories pretty familiar. They are. It’s not as if Wade was searching for consistently original material, but that’s okay. For every yarn heard before, there’s bound to be some new stuff. Besides, good old stories can stand retelling, especially if someone like Wade buffs them up and makes them presentable.
There’s not much point to reading these books in the order in which they were published. In fact, there’s not much point to reading these books from cover to cover. They’re simply not intended for that purpose. Instead, these books are the kind to dip into every now and again. The stories are also handy for passing the time between shots during a friendly round.
Whether you buy one, a few, or all of these books, you’ll find yourself immersed in the world of golf and those who love the game. Wade’s collections will add to the list of simple golfing pleasures.