A while back, I introduced you all to my pal Ector, (name changed to protect the innocent:)) You all remember my pal Ector, right? The guy who whiffed and took a divot the size of a football?
Well Ector is off the hook forever! Meet Rojas, (pronounced ROE-hass), also not his real name):
“Rojas” just moved to NYC from the Dominican Republic. He’s working as a chef in a coffee shop/restaurant where I come into write when I want to get out of the office. Rojas tells me he’s the former head pro of [name of golf course redacted] down there. He’d like to play with me.
Sure I say. Maybe I’ll get a story out of it. Sure enough, I did. He shot 117. With a whopping sixty-six on the back!
The punch line comes when we’re on the 12th tee and he suddenly gets on the phone. I tell him “Hey! Get off the phone and hit!” He tells me later he’s on the phone with his “sports psychologist!”
Must have done a lot of good, because he promptly went 10-9-8 over the next three holes, with the ten on a par-3…he was in a greenside bunker after the first shot. It took him five to get out and four putts:) He told me earlier in the round his most embarrassing day on the golf course was when he shot a 98 in a pro competition. That had to feel like a Swedish massage compared to yesterday. BRUTAL! BY the sixth hole, the other guys and I were like, “There’s no way this guy is a pro…” A pro…a real pro…could ham and egg an 80 on his worst day…maybe 82 on a tough course. But between three-jacks, stubbed chips, and sliced tee shots lost in the spinach patches, there may have been three golf shots all day. Yes, he didn’t have his clubs, but he hit one pitch shot all day with any modicum of golf talent. The rest of the time he ping-pong back and forth across the green like Tom Kite at Royal St. Georges.
But here’s how you know for sure Rojas can’t be a true professional golfer…I beat him…and I beat him still hung over from the night before’s Phish show. That’s right, I got to bed at 5 a.m., woke at 6:22 with eight minutes before Rojas was going to pick me up, still woozy from my friends keeping me out partying all night.
When you lose by 27 shots to a Phish head who’s head is still aswim from last night’s gig, it’s time to switch to badminton. We should make T-shirts: “Can YOU beat Rojas?” Oh well, at least Rojas’s food and coffee are good:)
As for Eisenhower Park, I must confess myself disappointed. The course is choked with trees. You’re bowling, not playing golf. They need to cut 5,000 trees down, but at 5,000 bucks per tree, it’s impossible. Moreover, the trees are frequently those low hanging spindly-needled variety, so your lucky to find your ball – forget about hitting it. It’s almost always an unplayable. That’s no fun.
On top of that, what used to be a Devereux Emmet course, but intervening architects turned it into a penal architecture, center-line slog. BORING! The course conditions were fine, but every time I go there (like once every four years) I get reminded why I never play there regularly.
Eisenhower Park underscores the dramatic chasm between the quality of Greater NYC’s private courses, (perhaps the greatest golf city in the country), and the dismal conditions of most public venues in the area. In the greater NYC area, unless you travel 90 minutes or more to Union Vale, Centennial, Tall Grass, or the Concord Hotel’s Monster course, your only public choices are Bethpage Black and the Knoll Club in Parsippany, NJ.