Saturday, May 26, 2012

Local, Non-local, or Stupid?

After five months as a resident of Florida, I finally made a reservation to do what it is that all non-Floridians believe that all Floridians do each and every day; golf. As an ignorant transplant, I thought any empty plot of land that wasn’t a beach, swamp, or planned theme park would be filled with a golf course here; however, based on where I live in Orlando, you actually have to search for courses.

I recognize it’s not prime golfing season and I can’t figure out if this makes me local, non-local, or just plain stupid, but I’m headed to a Johnny Miller designed course next Friday and paying a staggering $29. I emailed my buddy Jimmy about this and commented that I hoped the $29 greens fee included some sort of derogatory comment from Johnny printed on each tee marker. His response: Quotes on the holes would be great. "This par 5 may look tough, but even Gary Koch birdied it once. Of course, I made eagle and then I let Gary buy me dinner to celebrate my 61 - not that day's 61, my 61 at Oakmont in the U.S. Open."

Who cares if it was actually a 63 Johnny shot that day at Oakmont. If you’re making that distinction you’re missing the joke. And you’ve never watched golf on NBC. Of course, if you’ve never watched golf on NBC, you’re not making that distinction. If you have watched golf on NBC, you understand that Johnny still rests on the laurels of a year or two when he dominated the sport. He’s still pretty proud of himself and isn’t afraid to compare himself favorably to today’s stars. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do the same thing, but he was pretty much the Dwight Gooden of golf there for a bit (minus those off the field issues – I’m making an assumption there; you’re welcome, Johnny).

Regardless, I was amazed at what it’s going to cost to play this place. I’ve been watching a LOT of “Pawn Stars” since my return from India and I have those two years of living in an economy still largely based on negotiating. As a result, I’m pretty much a bargaining savant, I count amongst my more impressive negotiations, convincing a dude at a grocery store to break a Rs. 500 note (this is the equivalent of getting a dude at a 7-Eleven to break a $100 bill without buying something) and bargaining the price of prescription sunglasses at the optometrist. In fact, I consider myself to bargaining what Johnny Miller was to golf in 1973.

That being said, I didn’t realize I’d be negotiating when I called the pro shop. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “I tried to schedule online but received an error. Can I still get the $40 rate.”
Pro Shop Guy “I can do $29.”
Me: “Is that with a cart?”
Pro Shop Guy: “Yep, that’s what the rate goes down to 3 days in advance. I’ll just give you that. Any other questions?”
Me: “One last one, how long has it been taking to get around the course?”
Pro Shop Guy: “As long as it takes you to play.”

I sense we may be able to get more than eighteen in next week. I also sense they’re not seeing a lot of business this time of year in Harmony, Florida. Either that or from those “local, non-local, or stupid” options, I’m probably non-local. And stupid.

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