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Looking at life through an oversized steering wheel

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Hail-sized golf balls

I wonder if weather forecasters put little labels on their radar screens every time they intone “golf ball-sized hail”. The way fighter pilots put the other guys’s flags next to the cockpit when they shoot one down.

They never rave about “ping-pong ball-sized hail” or “marble-sized”. It’s the weatherman’s way of being macho enough to stand up to the sports desk. (Doppler radar just doesn’t cut it.)

My first year in Minnesota, I golfed at Phalen Muni in St. Paul, a very nice 18-hole track near Lake Phalen (home in colder climes to the Ice Castle). I had moved from California the winter before, and had no experience of heavy weather, Minnesota-style. Cal, after all, only offers fog, rain, sunny, and sweltering. Oh, and an earthquake once in awhile, but the weathermen really can’t take credit for those, despite their solemn claim that “heavy rains make the faults slide easier”.

Minnesota, on the other hand, has four seasons. Four seasons with complete weather patterns of their own (although three of them sometimes feel like winter).

Back to Phalen: I was using borrowed clubs, had long hair and was wearing bellbottoms (which should tell you how long ago that was. At the time, despite the WWII movies showing gallant Brits and Aussies wearing shorts in Africa while they battled the evil Nazis, I sneered at shorts. At least, until the bellbottoms began binding.)

Sunshine streamed down; then the sky darkened, sirens started whooping, and what to my wondering eye should appear, but golf ball-sized hail bouncing right about…here. Ouch.

From under a well-leafed tree, I watched as they piled up in drifts, too, clumps of them in every dip and shallow. The traps were thick with them. They made putting very difficult. And a half-hour after the sun returned in all its blazing glory…they were just a weathercaster’s memory.


Written by rvgolfer

June 21, 2005 at 2:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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