Willie Nelson, Yesterday’s Nine

“When another is shooting, no player should talk, whistle, hum, clink coins, or pass gas.”

— Willie’s Rules of Golf

“The only two good balls I hit at Willie’s course was when I stepped on the rake.”

— Kinky Friedman

Golf isn’t just a game — it’s an addiction.

Think of it as the crack cocaine of sports.  Like most addictions, doing it more doesn’t necessarily make you any better at it — it just makes you want more.  Start with a few holes and the next thing you know, you’ve worked up to thirty-six a day.  If the golf club manufacturers were smart, their advertising slogan would be, “The first one’s free.”

It’s a difficult game to learn, and then it gets harder.  I’ve been playing thirty-something years and have learned the hard way that just when you think you’ve figured it out, that’s when you’re really screwed.

My longest-running game has been at Pedernales Country club, the nine-hole course I own in the hills outside of Austin.  The course is a little rocky, but the greens roll true, and no one’s every going to tell you to tuck in your shirttail.

I first saw Pedernales playing in a celebrity tournament in the mid-seventies, and a couple of years later, another guy and I bought it.  Then I let him have it, but later I bought it back.  Then I lost it to the IRS, so Darrell Royal and Jim ob Moffett bought it back for me.  But the Feds said my pals didn’t pay enough for it, so the IRS took it back and sold it to an Iranian fellow.  We didn’t get along, so I convinced a theater owner in Branson, Missouri, to buy it for me and I did six months of shows to pay him back.  So I guess I’ve paid for the course several times.

For years, the standard game at Pedernales was somewhere between five and fifteen of us in an equal number of carts, all of us racing from shot to shot claiming whatever ball we found as our own.

The general philosophy in this game was, “May the man with the fastest cart win.”  Needless to say, I had a pretty fast cart.

— The Tao of Willie:  A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart
    by Willie Nelson, with Turk Pipkin

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