Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Perfect, Thanks to Mulligan

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Perfect, Thanks to Mulligan

Article excerpt

"Take a mulligan, Tim." The first time David offered, my son didn't know how to respond. What was a mulligan? Could it be a soda or snack food peculiar to the West? We'd just arrived in Colorado, having spent a wonderful night on Amtrak's Southwest Chief, the double-decker passenger train that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. We'd gone to sleep gliding through the farmlands of Missouri, awakened in the endless corn of Kansas, and alighted, soon after breakfast, in Trinidad, on the High Plains. My good friends Bonnie and David picked us up and drove us to their ranch-style home at the base of the massive pair of mountains known as the Spanish Peaks.

It all seemed a little unreal, more so even than flying long distance. I still felt the train's rocking rhythm as we stretched our muscles on the nine-hole golf course David had laid out on several acres of their land. Tim had recently discovered the joys of thwacking a golf ball at a driving range near our home, and seemed to have a knack for it. And, like a few million other kids in America, he'd found a hero and role model in Tiger Woods. Golf was it.

But today, Tim's putt on the first green missed the hole by a wide, un-Tigerlike margin. "Take a mulligan, Tim," was David's suggestion. Seeing our puzzled looks, he explained that a mulligan was another chance - the opportunity to strike an errant drive or putt from your score, bring the ball back, and try again. Once we understood this, my son and I relied heavily on mulligans. Though Tim got several honest birdies, mulligans saved us from many a double or triple bogey. THOUGH homemade, the course is plenty challenging and has a unique set of hazards. Indian Creek, with its weeds and cottonwoods, curves between greens; several balls fell in its overgrown sinuosity. Just over the barbed wire, hip-high pasture grass sways, ready to claim any balls that clear the fence. The biggest hazard, for me, was the view. I found it hard to concentrate on the little white ball with the Spanish Peaks rising into the mobile sky. …

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