It was late in the afternoon. Most of the other members were in the club house bar doing whatever wealthy men do after golf when their wives weren’t around. But two men remained out on the practice green, working on their putting technique.
Unknown to the two putters, two others watched from nearby. One was an older man, the other a younger man. They kept their presence hidden as neither was a club member.
“Now, watch his feet, kid,” the older man pointed out. “See how the pin and the tips of his two feet all line up in a straight line? That’s key to one great putt.”
The younger man nodded and wrinkled his brow as he tried hard to remember all the things the older man was teaching him.
“Okay, kid, and note how he bends just slightly at the waist, not too much, not too little. Very important!” the older man added. “You bend over too much; you’ll pull your putt to the left. Gotta watch that.”
“Really? To the left, huh?” the younger man answered. “Feet lined-up and bending down at the waist, but not too much. Real important stuff. Got it!” Again, he tried to concentrate, but it was hard. He was hungry and tired and had to pee. But he really appreciated the attention he was getting. These putting tips were really important, and he knew it. He’d need them when his luck turned.
The older man put his hand on the younger man’s shoulder and whispered into his ear, “Look at his grip. He’s looking at that pin to the right, about a forty two foot putt, I’d say. Watch his grip. See how it’s different than his grip when he was making the shorter putt?”
The younger man pretended to understand what was just said as he enthusiastically nodded his head and replied, “Oh, yeah! Wow, you must have given me a million bucks worth of great tips today.” Wiping his nose with his sleeve, he then asked, “Where’d you learn all this stuff, anyway?”
“Here and there, kid, here and there,” the older man mused. “I used to knock a golf ball around for a living a long time ago. I was pretty good . . . you know, until the booze got to me.”
The younger man let the branches he had parted close in front of them and the two men retreated a few feet back into the trees alongside the golf course. “Booze, huh? It was heroin for me. I used to be a pretty good mechanic.”
The two men leaned back against separate tree trunks. The old man pulled out a pint of cheap whiskey and took a pull from it while the young man snorted something.
They sat there silently for a while, both forgetting about putting and everything else.
Soon, it started to rain, so they packed up and headed back to their spot under the bridge.