With the impending turnover of the Record editorial board, Executive Editor Michael Green ’18 and Managing Editor Jack Brent Greenberg ’18 were in search of a new way to occupy their time. Green initially suggested Mahjong, but Greenberg noted the lack of a lively tile-based gaming community on campus. In response, Greenberg proposed starting a book club, but Green shrieked at the notion of reading nothing but Ayn Rand for an entire semester. Finally, the duo settled on a goal: joining the golf team in the spring. But there was one problem – neither knew how to golf.
To bring their golf skills up to par, Greenberg and Green enlisted men’s golf team co-captain Grant Raffel ’17.5. If anyone was qualified to teach Greenberg and Green the skills necessary to emerge as the newest stalwarts of men’s golf, Raffel had the right club for the shot.
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, Raffel led the two to a corner of Lasell Gym to impart the fundamentals of the game. Green quickly emerged as a formidable putter, sinking balls into the hole from five, maybe even six feet out, as he astutely noted the slight southward incline of the green. Greenberg, by comparison, seemed focused on grappling with how golf serves as a metaphor for life itself; even though sometimes the ball does not fly in the right direction, you always have to swing. Once Raffel was “satisfied” with the performance of his recruits on the artificial turf, he led them to the driving nets.
“The key is to avoid thinking too much,” the sage told his students. “I like to play by feel, to not get too technical.” Greenberg immediately took this advice to heart; his form could have used some work, but he managed not only to make contact but also to execute some impressive shots. Green was not good – in fact, he was quite bad. “Keep your eyes on the ball,” Raffel reminded him. As Greenberg was practicing in the adjacent net, he heard a constant refrain of “Damn … I missed again!”
The next step in training was for Greenberg and Green to take their newfound “skills” onto the course. However, the aspiring golf legends would have to make their way to the links the following weekend without the supervision, and automobile driving, of their coach, as Raffel left town for the weekend. In place of the All-American superstar, Greenberg and Green brought along one-time beginner P.E. golf student Sean Pasquali ’19. Pasquali came in with great confidence, having recently fared well on the fairways against two of the College’s chaplains in a friendly game. The fledgling golfers and their newly-designated coach decided to play a round at Waubeeka Golf Links.
Upon arrival, the trio discovered that a frost delay would push tee time back. While they waited to get onto the first hole, the golfers decided to take advantage of Waubeeka’s driving range to see if Greenberg and Green learned anything from Raffel’s instruction. Although Pasquali had claimed that he could train the nascent golfers, the trio discovered that one quarter of beginner P.E. golf does not make a master, as he struggled to get the ball flying. Fortunately for our intrepid golfers, a benevolent soul arrived to help. Andy, a middle-aged frequent visitor to Waubeeka who appeared to be a distant cousin of Vito Corleone, approached Greenberg, Green and Pasquali to provide unsolicited advice. Per Andy, Greenberg had to “be mindful of his left thigh.” Pasquali was asked, “What are you, an old man?” before proceeding to take a more youthful stance while Green was informed that he had to try to hit the ball.
With these insights, the trio headed to the first tee. Greenberg, having had the best performance on the range and the most pleasant interaction with Andy, approached the tee box with great confidence. Nevertheless, his first drive barely made its way to the start of the fairway. He quickly called for a mulligan and proceeded to make an even worse shot. Pasquali, redeeming himself after a lackluster performance on the range, executed a distant drive, albeit one that made its way straight into the rough. Green, though, was so enamored by the tree line that ran alongside the right side of the fairway that he sent his ball straight into it, hopping into his golf cart to retrieve the errant Titleist Pro V1.
The trio proceeded to attempt to get on the green from the area where Pasquali’s ball had landed. The first hole became Greenberg’s highlight of the day. He secured a nice approach shot that found its way just to the left of the green and, three putts later, placed the ball into the hole for a bogey. Pasquali and Green were mesmerized; would Greenberg take Raffel’s place as the fulcrum of the men’s golf program at the College? Was he, in fact, the prince who was promised?
The answer, the trio soon realized, was “yeah … no.” The second hole did Greenberg in as he proceeded to lose several balls in the rough. Green, by comparison, was beginning to show improvement as he made his way on to the fairway with his first shot. However, it was all downhill from there, as each subsequent shot rolled away from its target. Pasquali, fortunately, held his own. A nice drive allowed him to move on to the third hole with a bit of confidence restored.
Pasquali continued improving, easily driving the furthest and the straightest of the trio. Certainly, he was still awful, but he was the least awful of the bunch. Greenberg, his confidence shaken after the second hole, never found the promise he possessed on the range. Green, for his part, kept on swinging and, usually, kept on missing. Even when the biology major attempted to make a ball go “blub blub” on the fifth hole by sinking it in the water hazard, he instead managed to drive the aforementioned Titleist Pro V1 onto the fairway of another hole. Increasingly fearing the prospect of getting hit by a ball from the trailing group and needing to return to campus sufficiently ahead of Raffel’s arrival to cook him a thank-you quiche, Greenberg and Green accepted defeat. While looking into each other’s eyes, they came to the mutual realization that they, in fact, would not be joining men’s golf in the spring and should instead consider running for College Council, which requires neither athletic ability nor coordination, once they retire from the College’s independent newspaper. After the fifth hole, the golfers hopped in their carts, blazing past local retirees clogging up the path, and drove into the Purple Valley sunset, beginning an indefinite hiatus from their fledgling golf careers.