The Ideal Scorecard for a Tensome, Plus a Record Turnout

SMG record

We had thirty guys on Sunday, which was both Father’s Day and the final round of the U.S. Open. Thirty is a record for us, so we took a photo (see above). We chose teams the way we always do, by drawing numbered poker chips from a hat, but we had only twenty-four chips, so we had to fudge things. That evening, at home, Rick made us six more.


I was on the lookout for guys who hadn’t been able to play because it was Father’s Day—a sore point for mebut according to my informal investigation there was only one: young Dr. Mike, who was said to be absent for reasons related not only to Father’s Day but also to his wife and tennis. Reese and Addison weren’t there, either, but they (along with Addison’s brother, Harris, who works in the golf shop part-time) were in Pittsburgh visiting their father/grandfather, also Reese, who is ninety-two. He can’t play anymore, but he rode in the cart while his son and grandsons played, so no one missed any golf: 


Addison and Harris’s other grandfather is also a golfer. In fact, he was the No. 1 player on the golf team at Wake Forest at a time when the No. 2 player was Arnold Palmer. His name is  Ray, and he still plays. Here’s what he looked like in his prime:

Ray Harris

Because Sunday was the final day of a major, the Sunday Morning Group used the scorecard from the course where the major was being played, Pinehurst, instead of our own. I won a skin on No. 18 because on the Pinehurst card I get a stroke on that hole, and the stroke turned my miracle eagle (approach shot into the hole) into a miracle net hole-in-one.

Pinehurst card

So good for me. (Pinehurst, like a number of clubs, assigns handicap stroke indexes in a dumb way, and I will write about that at some point.) This coming Sunday, we’ll be back to using our very own, brand-new Sunday Morning Group scorecard. It was designed mainly by Hacker (real name). Here he is, studying a proof:


Our new card is much smaller than our old card—just 3.25 by 5 inches once it’s folded in half—but it has enough spaces for a tensome, or for a fivesome playing five simultaneous games:

scorecard interior filled

The cards were created for us by PrintWorks, a small graphic-design and printing shop in the next town. This is Doug, who runs the shop with his mother. He cheerfully put up with dozens of picky last-minute design changes:


Doug gave us such a good deal on our scorecards that PrintWorks is now the official provider of graphic services to the Sunday Morning Group. Everyone who reads this should be sure to have something printed there this year, to ensure that they’ll still be in business the next time we need scorecards, business cards, letterheads, envelopes, flyers, brochures, posters, postcards, or any of the other stuff they specialize in. (Doug also printed waterproof scorecards for us, for rainy days, and I’ll tell you about those soon.) Our new scorecards have our rules printed right on the back, for easy reference:

Scorecard rules

Incidentally, that record score, at the bottom of the card, is nine over par  net. No one in SMG history has ever played worse.

Scorecard name-001

SMG Sunday

Why Fathers Should Boycott Father’s Day

Father and daughter, New York Hospital, June 29, 1984.

We were standing around drinking beer on Friday evening at my brother’s member-guest fifteen years ago when one of the participants suddenly moaned, “Oh, [very bad word], I’ve got to go to my wife’s [extremely bad word] birthday party.” Nasty rub of the green, there. What are the odds of marrying someone who was born on the exact date of the steak-and-calcutta stag dinner? (My own wife’s birthday occurs in the fall somewhere. No problem!)

At my brother’s member-guest a couple of years later, I noticed that one of the regulars was missing. “His wife wouldn’t let him play,” someone explained, “because it’s Father’s Day.”

Let that one sink in for a moment.

I’d always hated Father’s Day without knowing why; suddenly, I knew why: Father’s Day has nothing to do with fathers. It’s just a passive-aggressive reprise of the day that inspired it; it’s Mother’s Day, Part Two. You would think, in theory, that Father’s Day would be the one Sunday of the year when a married man could get away with playing just as much golf and drinking just as much beer and smoking just as many cigars as he wanted to. But it doesn’t work that way.

“Oh, you can’t play golf in the morning,” your wife says, smiling cruelly, “because the children are going to make you a nice Father’s Day breakfast. And you can’t play at lunchtime, because the children want to give you the presents they made for you at school. And you can’t play in the afternoon, because your mother and I have planned a lovely Father’s Day dinner for you and your dad.” Which means, of course, that your father can’t play, either.

Appropriate Father’s Day activity, three sons and their father, 2011 Member-Guest.

Mother’s Day, paradoxically, has a higher Golfability Index than Father’s Day does, because your wife isn’t in charge of making the plans. You can buy her some jewelry, or you can make a dinner reservation for the two of you—say, at ten p.m., after the course has safely closed—or you can blow the whole thing off (she isn’t your mother, after all) and endure her scorn for a week or two. If your kids are determined to serve her breakfast in bed, you can put a box of cereal on the kitchen counter before you leave for the club.

The only solution to the problem of Father’s Day is to move it out of prime golf season. Will that require an act of Congress? I don’t know, but here’s what I propose: henceforth, Father’s Day shall fall on the first rainy or snowy Monday in November. Like Passover, it shall begin at sundown. And it shall be ignored, or celebrated over the telephone, if you happen to be in Myrtle Beach with your pals.

Father and daughter, St. John’s Episcopal Church, September 17, 2011.