Special Report # 14: An on-going series from Stephen P. Bye, a former Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality. Please refer to the previous thirteen reports on the seven-month history of the transformation that has occurred in Laicos County.
March 17, 2019: I now write as an independent blogger, as I was terminated last week as a correspondent for the Mirror Rearview by their backward-looking ownership group. The Mirror Rearview readers supposedly indicated that my reflective columns violated the paper’s motto, “The Mirror never lies”. The newspaper editor, Ed Itor, fired me by kicking me in the rear and simply telling me “Bye-bye…Stephen Bye.”
My termination was likely the result of insightful reporting, after discovering that Alice N. Wonderland had assembled an eclectic mix of investors, called Pot Luck, Inc. to purchase a 50% interest in Round Trip Fields from the County for ten dollars and “other valuable consideration”. I couldn’t verify what “other valuable consideration” included, although reliable sources indicated that the consideration was of limited value. Pot Luck inked the deal with Laicos County, taking a gamble with the struggling golf course through a revenue split agreement where the income includes the sale of cannabis grown at the course, as well as the profits generated from all the operations.
Last month, the County commissioners approved clothing optional for the golfers at Round Trip Fields and over the first few weeks, the course has been overrun with nude players and throngs of spectators wearing only thongs, as well as many others shedding all their clothes. With the frenzy about Round Trip Fields created by the national media, thousands of visitors are descending upon Laicos County. I’ve learned that every hotel room in the County has been booked for six months in advance with endless waiting lists. The nudist party atmosphere and the attraction to legally smoke marijuana has labeled Round Trip Fields “Naked Potpourri”. Pot Luck has even created a new ad campaign… “Puff in the buff from the rough…you cannot get enough!”
The lack of parking at Round Trip Fields has dictated the urgent need of mass transit transportation to the course, so Pot Luck has acquired a fleet of electric buses, charging each rider ten dollars for a round trip ticket plus the twenty-dollar admission fee. They have also erected viewing stands next to the tees and greens, charging patrons ten bucks to sit there, as well as have introduced a twenty-dollar rental for binoculars. With the sudden increase in camera equipped drones, the air space over the course has been declared a no-fly zone. In addition, the County has built a fifteen-foot-high concrete wall around the perimeter of the golf course to eliminate illegal migration and peeping. I-phone devices are also restricted, although a secured locker can be rented for a fifteen-dollar storage fee.
Timothy Leery has been retained as the head golf professional at Round Trip Fields. His favorite slogan is “Turn on…tune in…drop out.” After I questioned him on the meaning of the phrase, he elaborated. “Turn on to playing golf high on grass…tune in to the Doobie Brothers’ greatest hits…and drop out if you whiff too much.”
I noted that Pot Luck has now named the holes on the back nine… “Magic Carpet Ride”, “Along Comes Mary”; “One Toke Over the Line”; “Stoned Soul Picnic”; “Smokin’ “; “Feelin’ Groovy”; “Grazin’ in the Grass”; “Let’s Groove”; and “Fly Like an Eagle”. As I mentioned in an earlier edition, the front nine holes had been named “Good Vibrations”; “Strawberry Fields Forever”; “Dear Mr. Fantasy”; “Eight Miles High”; “Sky Pilot”; “Ball of Confusion”; “Purple Haze”; “Hypnotized”; and “Psychedelic Shack”.
Lester “Duff” Hacker, the former Laicos County Golf Executive, has been demoted to a janitor at Hammer Valley Club. As a former manager in the County’s waste management department, Hacker should be in a familiar role, now changing the cheaper toilet paper rolls at the courses. With the demotion, Hacker has reportedly been severely depressed, living in the comfort room at Sausage Creek Links and conversing for hours with Clare Voyant, the soothsayer he hired months ago to hypnotize golfers into hitting a hole-in-one at Round Trip Fields.
Two weeks ago, I arranged a meeting with Ms. Wonderland to congratulate her on the innovative ideas at Round Trip Fields and the overall economic success it has created for Pot Luck, Inc. and for Laicos County. Upon labeling her an innovative capitalist, she became incensed, ranting about the evils of entrepreneurial philosophies. When I pointed out the various revenue sources created by Pot Lucks’ business decisions, she had me arrested by a swat team and I was thrown in jail, charged with heresy. I’m currently appealing my free speech rights, but the County is charging me a hundred dollars for each word I use in my plea. Ironically, not long ago, one could be thrown in the joint for smoking a joint. Now, I’m being incarcerated because Wonderland’s nose was out of joint.
I’ve engaged an attorney, Sue Yorbutt, known for her “hard ass” legal tactics. As you may recall from my prior reports, Yorbutt has cracked heads with the County on several personal injury claims filed on behalf of several golfers.
Thousands of Laicos County residents, who marched in protest to the new taxes imposed by the Executive Council, have been arrested. Apparently, no one is too big to jail. My cellmates include real estate magnate, Donny T. Rump, who is also president of The Laicos Country Club. Wonderland has called Rump an “ass” for demanding the County pay for a wall to be built around the exclusive golf club. County Executive, Jim Nasticks, has also been incarcerated for exercising his opinion and is in solitary confinement, chained to an unbalanced beam in a cell with uneven bars. Prominent local businessman, Paul Ronnald, was also arrested for repeatedly playing the Beatles’ song “Taxman” over his boombox for several days in front of the Laicos County administration building.
For those of you who have never been a “guest” at the The Laicos County Jail, they pipe in speeches by Fidel Castro, Karl Marx, Nikita Khruschev, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Bernie Sanders. To overcome the drone of the socialistic propaganda, we shared our despair by joining hands and communally singing “In the Jailhouse Now”, “The Hokey Pokey”, “Down in the Boondocks”, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”, and “Jailhouse Rock.”
Alas, I am falsely accused for spreading false information and confined to the calaboose under lock and key. I soon expect the guards to lock up the keys on my laptop, so I’ll have to smuggle in a pen to write from the pen. So long and thanks for reading my reports over the past seven months.
Special Report # 13; An on-going series from Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality. Please refer to the previous twelve reports on the six-month history of the transformation that has occurred at the three Laicos County public golf courses.
(February 14) After several days roaming the streets of Laicos County I gathered candid comments about the recent decisions by the Laicos County Commissioners on the golf course operations and the new adopted tax measures. The following are direct quotes from answers to a few of my questions.
Question: How do you feel about the adopted measures impacting the Laicos Country Club?
Donny T. Rump: “I’m the President of the Laicos Country Club and the fake press has lied about our benevolent membership. We’re filing a law suit against the County for illegally condemning our street access and creating a toll to drive into our club, as well as taxing our golf rounds with that silly tariff. I will build a big wall around our Club to keep our enemies out and have the County pay for it.”
Clint Hillray: “I hacked into some classified e-mails on Donny T. Rumps’s private server. I discovered years of evidence that the corrupt Laicos Country Club deceived the County lied about their tax-exempt status as a charity. What happened? I’d like to give them a BILL for millions of the back-taxes because of his deception and infidelity.”
Paul Fortaman: “Our Country Club is being unjustly punished. They’re treating our President, Donny T. Rump, like he’s a Russians spy…a complete witch hunt! We are a legitimate charity…we’ve been feeding the homeless for years on Destitute Day, February 29th and allowed them to use our outdoor pool.”
Alex Casio: “Their golf course property should be condemned and covered with solar panels. Damn those grass greens…we’re going green in different ways. Of course, we’ll have a to cut down most of the trees to be sure the solar panels are optimized. I’ve learned a lot about green stuff at my bartender job…like green olives, limes, pickles and the green beer I serve on St. Patrick’s Day.”
Question: How do feel about the new 5% tax on households earning more than $500,000 a year?”
Sandy Bernard: “Wonderland didn’t go far enough…the tax rate should be 70% and the income threshold should be lowered to $250,000. It can provide free college and health care for all.”
Paul Ronald: “Any tax is bad for a free economy. I’m putting my house up for sale and leaving Laicos County as fast as I can. This is just the start of a taxation trend. I’m relocating my company’s headquarters to a state that has no income taxes and is free of stifling regulations.”
Harry K. Llama: “Why should the new taxes pay for the stupid golf course operations? That revenue can be spent on free housing for the homeless and funding income for all, even if they don’t want to work.”
Warren Lizbet: “I lobbied Ms. Wonderland to create a wealth tax instead of an income tax. All rich people lie about their income on the Federal tax returns, so the County can’t use that as an accurate measurement. The wealthy should be taxed for their discriminating, I mean FAIR share of their wealth.”
John Garyson: “Alice N. Wonderland’s fantasy adventure is responsible for tens of millions of losses that Laicos County has recently incurred? The County made millions from GRIM, the former professional golf management company, and then some idiots came up with this decision to socialize the golf operations. Look at the massive problems that over-regulation has caused. Let the free market rule.”
Question: Do you believe that nudity should be allowed at Round-Trip Fields?
Michael Sterling Penny: “ABSOLUTELY NOT…moral decay in this country has gone to a thrilling extreme.”
Tony Wiener: “What’s wrong with letting people see your wiener?”
Daniel Storm: “I can’t wait to play with some celebrities who are famous.”
Jake Rubee: “Certainly NOT! The County will kill business at my Carousel Strip Club downtown.”
Will Burmills: “I’ve been skinny dipping with a stripper, Foxy Fanny, in the lake on the second hole for years. Now I can do it legally.”
Do you agree that lifting the ban on hookers, protective goggles and hardhats at the Laicos County Golf courses are good ideas?
Rose Jipsey: “Yes…I’m anxious to do a strip tease on the first tee of Round-Trip Fields. I’m a dancer at the Carousel Club, so happy that hookers can play golf again.”
Helmut Steel: “I couldn’t play golf wearing a heavy hard hat. All that metal on my head created mental problems for me…I got lost trying to navigate the courses because my compass kept pointing at my head. I kept walking in circles.”
Al “Lefty” Wright: “Those goofy goggles gave me double vision and a lot of double bogies since I got confused a lot. I’m right-handed but converting to a left-handed golfer, so I’ll be all right now.”
Sue Yourbutt: “I love the repeal on the safety items. Many more people will get hurt by golf balls again. I just recorded a new TV ad announcing the huge settlements my law firm negotiated from Laicos County and insurance companies for my clients who were injured on the County Golf courses.”
Should Alice N. Wonderland be subject to a recall vote?
John Q. Public: “No…she’s created a perfect utopia for the middle class and poor…and poor golfers too.”
Libby Commune: “She’s done a wonderful job. Opening the golf courses to all residents and creating a beautiful community is so democratic. She should run for President of the United States in 2020.”
Rock Macho: “Man, kick her out…the sooner the better. She and Hacker ruined three nice golf courses, so she better watch out. She ain’t too smart. I heard that she started a new political organization called the Mad-Tea Party and is planning to run for President and run the country into the hole too.”
Billy Hill: “I used to went to the bar at Round Trip for burgers, onion rings, and fries, but I don’t go no more with that crap food they cook. I liked the TP though…it was soft on my butt, so I steal some rolls. Now they growing that wacky tobacky there…it’s just gone to pot. Wonderland has been sitting on her pot way too long too and stunk up the whole place.”
Felicity Delight: “Are you dreaming…never? I really like to dine at Alice’s restaurants at the golf courses. Alice N. Wonderland is such a joy! She showers everyone with love and happiness.”
Special Report # 12; An on-going series from Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality. Please refer to the previous eleven reports on the six-month history of the transformation that has occurred at the three Laicos County public golf courses.
(January 31, 2019) Yesterday afternoon, Alice N. Wonderland held a press conference to announce the steps the Laicos County Commissioners approved for dealing with the on-going losses at the three County golf operations, as well as recapturing the twenty million dollars of capital improvement costs. Les “Duff” Hacker, the County Golf Executive, did not make an appearance at Wonderland’s press conference, as it is widely known that he has been in seclusion over the past few weeks.
After three days of closed-door meetings, the commissioners voted 7-2, along political party lines for the following adopted measures, which will be implemented immediately:
- Country Club Lane, the only street providing access to the Laicos Country Club, will be condemned by the County and converted to a toll road. The asphalt street will be transitioned to gravel and all vehicles entering Country Club Lane at Levy Street will be subject to a $5 toll fee. No toll will be charged for outbound traffic.
- The Laicos Country Club property will be re-accessed by the County Assessor’s office based upon its highest and best use as luxury residential land and the appropriate mill rate applied to the valuation. (Note: this reporter discovered that the Laicos Country Club property has been exempt from property taxes for the past forty-nine years because the Club declared its status as a non-profit charitable institution in 1970)
- Each golf round played at the Laicos Country Club will be charged a tariff of $5, without exception.
- The Round-Trip Fields course and facilities will be sold to an undisclosed private group, although the price has yet to be set. The buyer will be given a license to plant cannabis in the excess land surrounding the golf course and sold in the clubhouse. In addition, nude golfing will not only be permitted, but encouraged. All golfers will be charged a ten-dollar fee and spectators, a twenty-dollar “viewing” fee. The owners will share 75% of the fees collected from golf and cannabis sales with Laicos County. The non-smoking ban will be lifted for Round-Trip Fields only.
- A local income tax of 5% will be implemented for all Laicos County households reporting over $500,000 in annual income based upon their Internal Revenue Service filing.
- To encourage more traditional play, golfers will no longer be required to wear hardhats and protective goggles on all three courses, although each player must sign a waiver renouncing liability claims to Laicos County for any injuries sustained on the courses. In addition the ban against hookers will be lifted.
- To eliminate operating costs, all bathroom attendants will be dismissed and employment contracts with the hypnotists, yoga instructors, and designated golfers will be cancelled. In addition, golfer phone sessions from the comfort rooms with County engaged psychologists will be limited to ten minutes for each call. Cheaper two-ply toilet paper will replace the expensive lotion and wax coated four-ply toilet tissues that “Duff” Hacker introduced in the bathrooms.
Alice N. Wonderland took several questions from the media after her announcement. She reiterated her support for Les “Duff” Hacker, even though some of his initiatives were scuttled. When questioned about the punitive measures levied at the Laicos Country Club, she defended the Commission’s actions, pointing out that, “private country club members are wealthy and can easily afford it.” Further, she admonished the Club for cheating the County out of nearly five million dollars of tax revenue over nearly five decades after declaring itself a charitable non-profit entity. Ms. Wonderland said that the Club claimed its exempt status because they held an annual lunch for the homeless population in Laicos County, although only a handful of “street” people ever attended.
After several questions were raised regarding the new 5% County income tax, Ms. Wonderland slammed her fist on the podium, rationalizing it with her brief comment, “those rich folks need to pay their fair share.” Regarding the tariff on the Laicos Country Club golf rounds, she defended the decision by simply saying…”it was our duty.” Wonderland pointed out that the additional revenues to be collected from the various actions will result in a huge windfall for the County, easily covering the losses and costs incurred over the past six months for the three golf courses.
Conservative commissioner Jim Nasticks vaulted into the limelight by exercising his free speech when he held an open press conference later in the afternoon. When questioned about the sale of Round-Trip Fields, Nasticks indicated that the sale of the course was necessary in order to avoid State laws regarding nudity on public property. Nasticks was keenly interested on learning the identity of the Round-Trip Fields purchaser as well as the secretive price negotiations of the Commissioner subcommittee, which he is not a member of. He also pointed out that he abstained on the decisions impacting the Laicos Country Club, as he was conflicted as a member of the Club.
Nasticks vehemently expressed his frustrations about the Commission’s decisions, particularly with the decision to allow nudity at the Round-Trip Fields course. To make his point, he proceeded to strip down to his underwear revealing his big belly and spindly legs. The crowd stirred when they observed a red MAGA tattoo imprinted on his chest. Nastick’s quickly added, “With this body, who would possibly want to see me play golf naked?” No one raised their hand and the crowd immediately dispersed.
I called Ms. Wonderland this morning, probing the identity of the group purchasing Round-Trip Fields as well as the purchase price. She repeatedly beat around the bush and finally hung abruptly up after cursing several times.
I plan to interview County residents over the next two weeks in order to gather a spectrum of reactions to all the developments occurring within Laicos County for the past six months and will provide a sample in my next report in two weeks.
Special Report # 11; An on-going series from Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality. Please refer to the previous ten reports on the five-month history of the transformation that has occurred at the three Laicos County public golf courses.
(January 12, 2019) The Laicos County Commissioners held a public hearing earlier this week at the Laicos County Auditorium after an audit revealed that over twenty million dollars have been spent by the County on improvements made at the three public golf courses. It was further reported that operating losses have climbed to one million dollars per month. As a result, the County Executives are considering a possible closure of the three County golf courses. Over two thousand people attended, and the shouting became vicious at times with several hundred more protesters marching outside the hall.
The County Executive, Alice N. Wonderland, conducted the meeting and when she took the podium, her supporters stood and applauded for over five minutes. A few minutes later, at least five hundred of her opponents forced their way into the auditorium, choreographing alternate chants… “Wonderland is Fantasy” and “To hell with Wonderland.”
When Executive Golf Director, Les “Duff” Hacker, began to address the audience, taunts of “Enough of Duff” and “Duff is a Hack” echoed through the hall. After a few minutes, repetitive loud coughing sounds erupted, apparently playing off his last name. Many of his critics also hoisted signs reading “More less of Les”. Hacker suddenly left the podium after two minutes, unable to quiet the crowd.
The event turned into a circus as the opposing groups tried to outshout the other and the police were called to control the crowd after some fistfights broke out. The hearing literally ended in tears after the police fired mustard gas into the arena. Fifty protesters were arrested, including veteran County Commissioner, Jim Nasticks, who was subdued after tumbling on the ground with three of Wonderland’s supporters.
Through an unnamed source, I was able to obtain a list of ideas that the Executive Council is considering for the three golf courses.
- Convert all three golf courses to public parks, since non-golfers are currently being discriminated from enjoying the County owned land.
- Sell the golf course land to a developer to build affordable housing. To appease the golfers, some of the proceeds can be reinvested in a miniature golf operation and driving range near the municipal land fill.
- Keep the County courses open but require that golfers volunteer their time to maintain the course.
- Plant cannabis in the rough areas and harvest the crops for sale. The increase in revenue will be a windfall for the golf course facilities. Marijuana can be sold in the clubhouse for golfers to further enhance their rounds.
- Adopt a tariff on the golf rounds played at the private Laicos Country Club to raise revenue for the Laicos public courses. In addition, reassess the Laicos Country Club property based upon its highest and best use as prime residential development land. The increase in tax revenue will be allocated to the operation of the Laicos County public courses.
- Fire Les “Duff’ Hacker and reinstate Golf Really Incredible Management as operator for all County courses. Tear out all the improvements made under Hacker’s supervision.
- Sell the courses to a private operator under a sale/leaseback agreement. The County will lease the land in perpetuity at $1/year and allow the public to play for free.
- Hold an immediate recall vote for Alice N. Wonderland and her allies on the Executive Council.
- Eliminate the requirement for wearing hardhats and protective goggles as well as reinstate golfers who were banned from playing because of the no-hooking policy.
After the hearing, I asked Ms. Wonderland about the rumor of a recall vote on her position as County Executive. She laughed and then added, “What a ridiculous suggestion…I’m doing a really great job.”
I then asked her about the suggestion for growing cannabis on the courses. Ms. Wonderland seemed spacey, struggling for words, and finally stammered… “We have a few crack-pots on our Council, like Mary and Wanda, who made that suggestion…I mean Mary Reefah and Wanda Hashwead.” I confronted Wonderland about her comment since she was quoted two weeks ago supporting growing cannibals on the golf courses and allowing golfers to smoke marijuana, even though a non-smoking ban had been instituted months ago. She quickly added… “Only a dope would admit saying that. It was a false report…a smoke screen that my critics planted in the fake media.”
A person close to “Duff” Hacker told me that he has been very distressed since the confrontation at the public hearing. He’s apparently desperate for finding a solution to the dilemma the County now finds itself in. The source reported that Hacker is delusional, repeatedly asking Amazon Alexa for help or consulting a Magic 8 Ball for suggestions. He also bought a Ouija Board and is consulting with Clare Voyant, the soothsayer that he hired to hypnotize golfers on the Round Trip Fields golf course.
The Commissioners will hold a closed-door meeting next week to vote on the suggestions that have been proposed.
Special Report # 10; An on-going series from Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality. Please refer to the previous nine reports on the five-month history of the transformation that has occurred at the Laicos County public golf courses.
(December 23, 2018): The Laicos County Commissioners held an emergency meeting last night to discuss several measures to stem the rapidly declining revenues at the three County golf courses. Operating losses have mounted recently, especially since the implementation of the safety measures recently adopted for all golfers to wear hard hats and protective goggles. Further, the restriction on hookers to play the courses has also put a major dent in the number of qualified players. After dodging calls from the press for several weeks, Duff Hacker reluctantly admitted that there are too many free rounds being played, as seniors and junior golfers have dominated the tee times with complimentary golf for several months, as well as with actual paying players using the “frequent golfer” discount card. In addition, the operational costs have skyrocketed with the addition of the new restroom attendants, the restaurant wait staff, and golf course support personnel.
I checked several social media sites that list Hammer Valley Club, Sausage Creek Links, and Round-Trip Fields. There are hundreds of complaints but thousands of positive comments from Laicos County residents. I’ve learned that most traditional golfers are travelling thirty miles to Latipac County where there are four old-style public courses that are open to non-residents for a ten-dollar surcharge. The Latipac County courses are all managed by Golf Really Incredible Management, or GRIM, who was terminated by Laicos County months ago due to some minor contract violations. With the pick-up in Laicos County golfers, GRIM estimates that each Latipac County course has averaged 1,800 rounds per week over the past month and that all tee times are booked five days in advance. Some other local golfers have elected to join the exclusive Laicos Country Club.
Last week, several golf associations have dropped all affiliations with the Laicos County courses. However, Hacker has requested that the Laicos County Attorney file a restraining order in the District Court, citing the “stodgy” rules established by those organizations are obsolete. Further, Hacker feels that the loss of the accreditations are discriminating for golfers who enjoy playing golf courses with unique features, like those which have been incorporated under his plans. In another confrontational move, Duff Hacker will immediately convert the diameter of all holes on the greens to ten inches, an idea that he suggested months ago.
Hacker has met with Sod Greenman, the head golf course superintendent about possible ways to save money from golf course maintenance, although the grounds crew is guaranteed employment as a result of the Golf Course Workers Union contract that the County Executive Council ratified in August. Greenman suggested that the fairways and roughs could grow naturally as pastureland. Herds of cows could then keep the grass short and the farmers would generate revenue for the County by leasing the land. Alternatively, Hacker suggested that fairways and greens could be replaced with artificial turf.
Hacker is considering terminating the golf course greeters, as well as the designated golfers and the hypnotist, Clare Voyant, at Round Trip Fields. Further, he will likely eliminate the cost for the on-duty psychologists at Laiscos County Hospital, replacing them with prerecorded messages when golfers call for mental help.
Alice N. Wonderland, the Laicos County Executive, suggested that the dress code could be relaxed to allow clothing optional for golfers. She has also apparently spoken to Greenman about the possibility of growing cannabis plants in the rough areas of Round-Trip Fields, now that the sale of recreational marijuana has been voted in. In addition, she encouraged that smoking be permitted on all courses, including the use of marijuana.
I drove past Hammer Valley Club yesterday as several picketers tried to block the entrance. I saw several new signs stating, “Cows are Bulls…!”, “Hacker’s an Ass…Are Donkeys Next?”, “Our Golf Courses are going to POT” and “Hacker Must Go”.
I stopped and spoke to three dancers from Dizzy Izzy’s Strip Club. They were encouraged that nude golf is being considered, although were still upset about their playing restrictions, since they had been labeled as hookers without being able to take the hooker test.
The Laicos County Commissioners will hold two public hearings before the end of the year to hear input from local citizens. I will cover the meetings and provide summaries in my next report.
Special Report # 9; An on-going series from Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality. Please refer to the previous 8 reports.
(December 10, 2018) The Laicos County Golf Course Executive, ‘Duff’ Hacker, held a press conference today announcing new rules to be implemented for the three County golf courses, effective immediately. Hacker confirmed that at least twenty golfers have been hit in the head by golf balls over the past two months and three lawsuits have been filed by the players against the County. As a precaution, all golfers will now be required to wear protective googles and hard hats to prevent more head injuries from occurring. In a stunning announcement, Hacker also stated that golfers who hook their shots could no longer play at any Laicos County course.
Hacker began the press conference offering the following statement “Our courses have been flooded with new golfers and unfortunately, many have no idea where they’re hitting the ball. We’ve placed many directional arrows on the tees and fairways pointing golfers the direction to play the correct hole and provided maps and compasses to help them navigate the course, although most folks have ever been trained in map reading. We’re now in the process of installing GPS markers along the fairways, so players will soon be able to use their I-phones to navigate the course.
All courses now have a supply of protective glasses and hard hats which can be rented for three dollars each per round. If anyone has their own safety equipment, the County has hired a new inspector general to evaluate the quality of the gear to conform to the standards listed in a 10-page manual adopted by the County Commissioners yesterday, after a six-week study. For a ten-dollar fee, the apparatuses can be brought to the County offices between 9 and 10 AM and between 3 PM and 4 PM to be certified. However, equipment will need to be recertified annually as stickers will be issued showing the year of inspection, like car license plates updates.”
After researching public records, I discovered three lawsuits were recently filed against Laicos County by Sue Yorbutt, a well know personal injury attorney, whose office is in Frivolus. The three plaintiffs identified are Sterne Stargeezer, Jose Golfista, and Homer Plato.
I contacted Stargeezer, who is a retired astronomy professor from Laicos Community College. When asked to describe the incident, Stargeezer stated “Without any warning, an unidentified flying object hit my eye socket and I immediately saw stars. I knew something was wrong, when I realized that I was not using a telescope.”
Mr. Golfista told me about his experience through an interpreter. “I speak no English. When I played golf in Mexico, the words para or cuatro are shouted for an errant golf ball. I do not know four, for, or fore. My head hurt. I don’t remember who I am.”
I also contacted Homer Plato, who own’s the Homer’s Home Plate Sports Bar. He detailed the time he was struck by a golf ball at Hammer Valley Club. “I was playing in the Greek Geek Golf Open when I heard a faint scream, which sounded like the number 4. Since I was only playing in a threesome, I didn’t think twice about it. The next thing I remember was waking up in an ambulance feeling like I’d been struck by a hammer or a club.”
I’ve also learned that County Executive, Alice N. Wonderland, was hit by a golf ball at Sausage Creek Links when she was touring the course with the head golf professional, Frank Furter. The incident occurred as she crossed The Folly Bridge over Sausage Creek. The ball apparently hit Wonderland in her buttocks, causing her to lose her balance, then falling into a rabbit hole beneath the bridge. Although she was not injured seriously, Wonderland subsequently met with “Duff” Hacker to recommend requiring golfers to wear full body armor.
For the past few weeks, Hacker has pleaded for golfers to yell the universal golf warning, FORE, when hitting errant shots, even posting reminder signs on the first tee. In the press conference, Hacker also acknowledged that he was calling the Public-School Superintendent to require that math teachers emphasize the number 4 in their arithmetic classes and for students to shout it out loud for testing. Due to the number of Hispanic students, the words “para” and “quatro” are now also emphasized.
Olaf Knudson, the President of the Norwegian Ancestry Club, sent a recommendation to me for the correct word to use to warn golfers of an errant golf shot. They use the warning “fire”, the Norwegian word for “four”. Yelling “fire” certainly will make people run for safety. I forwarded this suggestion to Mr. Hacker as another option.
Regarding the decision to ban golfers who hook their shots, Hacker concluded that more head injuries occurred from players who hook their shots, based upon his investigation of past incidents. Hacker explained that he had spent several hours watching players on the three County courses and concluded that right-handed golfers are more prone to hook their shots to the left, while left-handed golfers to the right. All golfers must now take a test proving that they do not hook their shots, by hitting ten balls with a 90% passing grade.
Hacker also considered restricting slicers, although I’ve learned that local Meat Cutter’s Union 69 apparently lobbied heavily to oppose the decision. At the end of the press conference, Hacker defended slicers with the following statement; “I’ve been told that slicers are known to hit banana balls, but since most people like bananas, I’ve agreed to allow those golfers to play.”
I went to Sausage Creek Links yesterday, noticing several scantily clad women in high heels, picketing outside the entrance. The signs read “ALL STRIPPERS ARE NOT HOOKERS”, “STRIPPERS ARE GOLFERS TOO”, and “HACKER DOES TRICKS.”
There were also a few men carrying signs at Round Trip Fields, which read “I’M A HOOKER WHO WAS HOOKED”; “HACKER IS HOOKED ON POWER”; and “WONDERLAND IS A HOOKER … SHE USES A HOOKAH”. As I approached the Round-Trip Fields’ clubhouse, I observed several large pictures of Captain Hook from the Disney film, Peter Pan. A thick black X, was painted over Hook’s images, apparently also reminding golfers that no hookers are permitted to play.
We will report back in the coming weeks on the success of the program.
Special Report # 8; An on-going series from Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality.
(November 25, 2018) After my brief discussion with Jim Nasticks two weeks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sausage Creek Links, I wanted to obtain a much greater perspective on his opinions about the revolutionary changes at the three Laicos County golf courses implemented by “Duff’ Hacker, the County Golf Executive. The following is my entire interview with Mr. Nasticks.
Reporter: “I gather from you comments to me two weeks ago, that I are very upset about what has transpired at the three Laicos County golf courses because of “Duff” Hackers’ ideas.”
Nasticks: “Upset? I’m livid! Three wonderful golf courses turned into a damn carnival. Hacker has never even played a round of golf in his life. He’s insulted the great game of golf and its traditions. He’s a former garbage man as head of the Laicos County Waste Management Department and he’s trash as far as I’m concerned.”
Reporter: “What troubles you the most?”
Nasticks: “Where should I start? The bumpers, curbs, nets, and walls to keep golf balls from the hazards and boundaries for one. The self-grading for performance and shortening the yardage on some holes without decreasing par? The elimination of the old food and beverage menu? I couldn’t even have a private lunch…several odd people sat down with me and a buddy at one of those community tables in the restaurant and wanted to discuss liberal politics. We have dogs and cats running around the course with his stupid comfort animal caper. The music is playing everywhere…golf must be played in a quiet setting. I just learned that our Executive Council head, Alice N. Wonderland has requested that Hacker convert part of the practice putting greens into croquet courts. I could go on…”
Reporter: “I thought you would have first mentioned the designated hitter and the hypnotist at Round Trip Fields. I understand that the County is raking is some hefty fees from golfers using their services.”
Nasticks: “Yeah…talk about hallucinating…that’s a real wet dream! They may be collecting some golfer fees, but they pay those people five hundred bucks a day each. They’re losing money on that crazy scheme.”
Reporter: “Since you brought up the money question, how that’s going?”
Nasticks: I’m trying to get the Executive Council to conduct an audit of how much Hacker’s office has spent. I’ve been told that over one million bucks have been shoveled out so far. You saw the overkill for improvements on the tour last week of the Sausage Creek clubhouse. Gold-plated bathroom fixtures? Uniformed restroom attendants? Comfort rooms with custom lounges and couches? Emergency psychologists on call? Valets and tailors? What an unbelievable waste of County funds!”
Reporter: “The number of players has increased dramatically, right?”
Nasticks: “That’s what I understand, but two-thirds of the golfers aren’t paying any greens fees. All those kids and seniors play for free. All fees have been waived at Round Trip Fields for the first month and I heard that Hacker is planning to extend that for several more weeks, since most people are still reluctant to play there, given its former reputation as a challenging course. Overall revenue is way off from past years.”
Reporter: “Will you play any of the County courses?”
Nasticks: “Are you kidding? I’ll never play any of them again. I’ve joined the Laicos Country Club.”
Reporter: “Do you like the environmental policies that Hacker has implemented like using plastic straws?”
Nasticks: “Have you ever tried to drink out of a paper straw…you can suck as hard as you can, and nothing comes out and pretty soon the straw sticks together…it gets stuck on my tongue.”
Reporter: “How about the paper golf tees?”
Nasticks: “They’re a freaking joke! It takes a minute to fold them and most the time, the ball falls off before you can hit it. And who is he kidding about saving trees…there’s enough wood used in that ugly strawberry painted fence and in the men’s locker room to produce thousands of wooden tees, plus the amount of plastic used for all those bumpers and curbs could have produced a million plastic tees.”
Reporter: “I’ve heard that you are starting a grass roots campaign to fire “Duff” Hacker. Do you have support form the County Executive Council?”
Nasticks: “I’ve started a petition with the County residents for terminating his contract, although the Executive Council is clearly supporting him. Ms. Wonderland is experiencing an Alice in Wonderland journey herself. Our Council fantasy meetings are like the “Mad Tea Party” chapter in that book…she talks in riddles.”
Reporter: “I’ve also heard that she’s trying to remove you from the Council.”
Nasticks: “People joke about my name since it sounds like gymnastics, but her efforts are just an exercise in frustration.” He laughs for a few seconds. “Again, that novel defines her to a tee…not a paper tee of course.” He laughs again. “She must be smoking weed or those hallucinogenic mushrooms. I heard that she named her dog, Caterpillar and her cat, Hookah. I even heard that Hacker used her as a consultant for the songs and music groups they use at Round Trip Fields.”
Reporter: “You understand that recreational cannabis is now legal in this state.”
Nasticks: “I don’t know about cannabis, but those liberal politicians bought that election last year to legalize marijuana. This state is really going to pot. Speaking of pot, I really need to use the men’s room, so I gotta go now.”
Reporter: “Thanks for your time today, Mr. Nasticks.
Special Report # 7: A series from Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality.
(November 11, 2018) Yesterday, the County Executives had a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sausage Creek Links to celebrate the grand opening of the renovated clubhouse. Alice N. Wonderland was given the honor of cutting the large blue ribbon at the front entrance of the building, as most of the Laicos County Executives linked their arms in solidarity. Lester “Duff” Hacker, the Golf Commissioner who orchestrated the transformation of the golf club over the past three months, made a few comments followed by a long applause. About one hundred county residents were invited to join, as well as several members of the press. Immediately after the sizzling hot afternoon ceremony concluded, one hundred blue sausage link-shaped balloons, were launched into the clear sky.
Ms. Wonderland led us on a tour of the clubhouse facility. Our first stop was in the basement where the comfort room is located. Hacker pointed out that his vision of the comfort room arose after observing frustrated golfers swearing, tossing clubs, or breaking them over their knees on the course, as well as kicking their cars repeatedly after completing their round. The comfort room was created for a safe place to relax before or after the round for golfers to handle their inhibitions or frustrations. Hacker added that he selected the basement as the perfect location for the comfort room, as no one could attempt to jump out a window, since there weren’t any in the subterranean level of the building. The padded walls are painted in soft pastel colors, with unique a specially designed indirect lighting plan, which changes intermittently. Six couches and two water beds, all adorned with large pillows, are separated by large natural plants. Each couch and bed have a headset for golfers to listen to an array of soothing music, selected by a team of consultants. Two private booths are placed in opposite corners of the room, where golfers can call an emergency number to speak with a psychologist at the Laicos County Hospital. Ms. Wonderland pointed to a dispenser, where the golfers can purchase a black mask to cover their eyes or a soft rubber ball to squeeze during their session.
The group split up to tour the women’s and men’s locker room facilities. Hacker led the men on a tour of the Gentlemen’s bathroom, where two attendants dressed in white tuxedos and white gloves stood at attention. I noticed their names stenciled on their silver-plated tags…one guy was named John Flusher and the other was Lou Lavabo. Hacker pointed to the air cleaning system, when every minute, a flowery scent was pumped into the air. The bathroom stalls are separated by soundproof walls, finished in natural walnut. Hacker unrolled a few stands of toilet paper and pressed it to his cheek, gloating about the moisturized feel and soft texture. He directed us to four private shower stalls, pointed to the multi-head showers that created a special rainfall effect. Finally, he pointed to the gold-plated sink fixtures, bragging that his bathroom upgrades were the highest quality of any public golf operation in the country. When a reporter of a television crew asked him about the cost of the improvements, Hacker shrugged, replying that he was given an open-ended budget. He further elaborated that money was no object if meant that the Laicos County residents had an overall pleasurable experience.
The men and women congregated in the restaurant, now called The Laicos Link-Inn, where the golfers could network with their friends and meet new folks around community tables. Hacker indicated that traditional square private tables were replaced with round ones at the recommendation of five sociologists, to promote friendliness and to encourage open conversations. The dining room was lit by ten gold-plated chandeliers and the walls were painted in a watercolor pattern. The wait staff was smartly dressed in white shirts and pants, with red waistcoats, red bow-ties as well as red and white polka-dot designer tennis shoes. Ms. Wonderland introduced the new chef, Russ Tarrant, who had been hired from a famous New York City bistro. Tarrant gave a brief overview of his menu plans, focusing on locally grown farm to table ingredients. He also introduced his assistant, Sue Sheff.
Our last stop was the golf pro shop, where light symphonic music was piped into through multiple speakers creating a pleasant stereo affect. The head golf-pro, Frank Furter, escorted around the room, which had many mannikins dressed in fashionable golf attire, ordered from designers in Milan, Paris, and Miami. I checked the price tags on several items, which seemed to be very expensive compared to other stores in the area where I shop. I peeked into one of the dressing rooms, which was furnished with two plush chairs are five-sided mirrors. Furter reported that a couturier named “Stich” Taylor, had been hired to ensure perfect fittings for the shoppers.
As I waited for the valet to deliver my car, I briefly spoke with Jim Nasticks, a long-time conservative member of the Laicos County Commission. He explained that he attended the ribbon-cutting event only to see how Les Hacker had spent County funds. He was livid at the outrageous expenditures and policies that Hacker had implemented. An avid golfer, Nasticks added that he will never play the three county courses again, sighting the ridiculous transformation of three great golf operations into silly amusement parks. He recently joined the Laicos Country Club and now plays golf there.
My next report will be in two weeks.
Special Report # 6: Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality.
(October 25, 2018); Last week, I met with Lester “Duff” Hacker, the Golf Director for the Laicos County Golf courses. The following is the full content of my interview with him.
Reporter: “After three months in the position as Director of Golf operations, how would you summarize your accomplishments so far?”
Hacker: “Terrific…I give myself a ten rating…naturally, on a scale of ten.”
Reporter: “Have you decided to start playing golf to evaluate the courses from a golfer’s perspective?”
Hacker: “I see no reason to learn the game at this stage. I have such great ideas without knowing anything about the game of golf. The positive e-mails are flooding my in-box…more every day too!”
Reporter: “I’ve been getting hundreds of messages from veteran golfers who are very upset with your changes. They feel that there are too many silly gimmicks and hundreds of rank amateurs playing who tie up the course for hours.”
Hacker: “Those golfers are way too serious. We want to expand the number of players in Laicos County and have them enjoy the experience. We want to see smiling faces…not grumpy ones who complain about getting double boogers and triple boogers.”
Reporter: “Mr. Hacker, I believe that they’re referring to double and triple bogies.”
Hacker: “Oh…I thought they were talking about nasal problems…you know…boogers. What are bogies?
Reporter: “A golf term when they score over par.”
Hacker: “So they don’t feel up to par, huh? They should eat in our new health-oriented restaurants.”
Reporter: “That’s another grievance. They miss the hot dogs, brats, fries, onion rings and nachos.”
Hacker: “Well, they should get over it…that junk food is not coming back. We want healthy golfers. No sugar either…we’ve cut out serving any kind of artificial beverages like soda…even diet soda. We only carry natural water and organic fruit and vegetable juices.”
Reporter: “Last week, I ordered sugar for my coffee from the half-way house and they didn’t have any.”
Hacker: “Stop right there, Mr. Bye. They’re not called half-way houses any more. You may recall that I didn’t want golfers to think that they were visiting a prison building or place for drug addicts. I’ve renamed them the “Sugar Shack”, “Love Shack” and “Psychedelic Shack”.”
Reporter: “If you’re a sugar free environment, why did you label it the “Sugar Shack.”
Hacker: “We wanted to be known as a sweet place, of course.”
Reporter: “Oh, of course…that makes perfect sense. I stopped in the Psychedelic Shack two weeks ago. The menu had some interesting names for the food dishes and beer. How did that come about?”
Hacker: “The course is named Round Trip Fields. Some of my old hippie friends told me that everything should reflect a hallucination trip, like they experienced after taking LSD. We looked up a lot of psychedelic terms for songs and music groups and picked out stuff that matched up with food.”
Reporter: “Yeah…the names for the holes too. Have you ever experimented with LSD, Mr. Hacker?”
Hacker: “Yes, I think that’s the brand of medicine that I take when I have a case of hemorrhoids.”
Reporter: “I know a lot of really good golfers who refuse play Round-Trip Fields ever again. Players travelled here from all over the country to play it too, since all the golf magazines rated it as one of the toughest public golf courses in the U.S. They won’t come to play there anymore.”
Hacker: “But now we’re getting hundreds on new players from Laicos County who’ve never played it before. They like the free golf balls, the bumpers and the curbs…and we’re collecting more fees with the designated golfer and the hypnotist. My best idea yet was for players to grade themselves by setting up their own scoring goals at Sausage Creek Links. People love to self-grade. That’s the procedure the County is using for annual employee performance reviews, since the new County Commissioners were voted in two years ago. That’s how I rose so quickly in the ranks in the Waste Department.”
Reporter: “But many golfers want a set goal, like the course rating to measure their skills against.”
Hacker: “They can always play Hammer Valley Club…they use the original par scoring system there.”
Reporter: “That course is very easy. Low handicappers won’t play there either.”
Hacker: “Mr. Bye…please don’t use the word handicap to describe our patrons. We refer to those folks as people with special needs.”
Reporter: “Yes…I’m sorry. Since you mentioned special needs, how is the comfort animal program going? I heard that a few golfers brought pigs, horses, and snakes…python snakes.”
Hacker: “Yes, I ‘ve had some pressure to restrict the type of animals. The horses and pigs deposited large piles of manure on the course and greens and two pythons crawled away into the brush.”
Reporter: “Well, dogs cause problems too. Have you ever seen anyone who had to play out of a turd lie?
Hacker: No, I haven’t…but it sounds like it would be a crappy hit.”
Reporter: “I played with a lady who had a dog that wanted to pick up my golf ball all the time. The mutt thought the balls were bones and gnawed through four of them, so they weren’t useable.”
Hacker: “We have pet caddies now…they could keep the dogs away from your ball.”
Reporter: “Why should I pay a pet caddie fee for another golfer who brings a comfort animal that’s not giving ME any comfort?”
Hacker: “Well, you don’t want any more of your golf balls damaged or eaten…do you? So, Mr. Bye…I see that it’s three o’clock and I’ve put in my challenging five hours for the day. I must end the interview now and get home to relax. This job is very stressing.”
Reporter: “Certainly, Mr. Hacker. I wouldn’t want Laicos County to have to pay you for overtime. Thanks so much for sharing your valuable time with me this afternoon. Good luck.”
Special Report # 5: Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality.
(October 11, 2018) This reporter investigated Round Trip Fields, the third Laicos County golf course that I’ve played since the implementation of the new golf policies by Lester “Duff” Hacker, the recently appointed Laicos County Golf Manager. For many years, Round Trip Fields has been rated in the toughest 100 courses in the U.S. by at least three golf magazines, so I was keenly interested in how Hacker had transitioned the course to entice new amateur golfers to play there.
I brought three golfing buddies along, avoiding the trauma of being assigned to a foursome who had no golf experience. Right away, I noted that all green fees were waived through the month of October. The club professional, Tim Leery, informed me that Hacker made that decision to encourage new players to play the revamped Fields course, as well as to provide three complimentary golf ball due to the common knowledge of multiple lost golf balls in the hazard areas, ravines, and multiple lakes. I discovered the complimentary balls were a hodgepodge of old range balls, probably not a bad idea, as most amateur golfers probably don’t care what ball they play if they’re free.
Exiting the pro shop, we saw a sign that read, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”. With kaleidoscopic images forming a prismatic pattern on the golden brick pavers, we followed the path to the first tee. The first hole, a par 4, was named “Good Vibrations”, a confidence builder for sure and the teeing area was created using curved multi-colored rainbow markers. A creek ran along the right side of the fairway, although I could see that a two-foot high rubber bumper had been erected along the entire length of the hole, obviously placed there to keep balls out of the stream.
The second hole was called “Strawberry Fields Forever”. A lake flanked the left side, although a thirty-foot high fence had been erected to deflect balls hit toward the water. A huge mural depicting a field of strawberries had been painted on the extensive wooden fence.
The third hole was a narrow par 4, bordered by deep ravines on both sides of the fairway, which required marksmanship-like skills to navigate. I was surprised to see that netting had been erected along the edges of the ravines to trap errant shots. The hole was named “Dear Mr. Fantasy”.
The fourth hole, called “Eight Miles High”, had a majestic setting on a high bluff with an eighty-foot drop to the narrow fairway below. The hole seemed identical to the former design until we reached the green, where I saw that all six deep sand bunkers had been replaced with artificial grass turf.
The fifth hole, named “Sky Pilot” was a par 3 requiring a two-hundred yard carry over deep a rock quarry to reach the green. A professional looking golfer was standing on the tee box and I quickly learned that he could be engaged for five dollars as a designated hitter to play my tee shot. All my pals hired the pro golfer, Cy Kilott, who easily hit their golf balls on the green. Feeling confident, I elected to play my own shot, but subsequently hit my three old range balls into the quarry and recorded a 7X.
The sixth hole was formerly a six-hundred-yard par 5, although it had just been changed to a par 7. They named it “Ball of Confusion”. No wonder…the hole was designed with dozens of mounds, resulting in curious golf ball bounces down the fairway.
The next hole was named “Purple Haze”. I noted that smoke form the nearby half-way house, renamed the “Psychedelic Shack”, was floating across the fairway, obscuring the ball flight. After heading toward the green, I could hear the Temptations song playing and saw that angled concrete curbs had been installed on both sides of the fairway, forming a funnel to the green. Creatively using both sides of the curbs, my ball carried into the cup for a natural eagle 2 on the par 4.
As I neared the eighth hole, called “Hypnotized”, I observed a lady wearing a turban and a long purple gown, sitting on a chair next to a couch. She was a hypnotist, named Clare Voyant, claiming she could mesmerize me to hit a hole-in-one on the par 3 hole. One of my pals engaged her, laying on the couch for several minutes, as she tried to transfix his ugly swing. Surprisingly, he struck his ball on the green, although at least thirty feet from the hole. As he demanded a refund of his five-dollar fee, I saw a small dog pick up his golf ball, carry it to the hole, and drop it in. We congratulated him on his first ace ever.
We finally reached the long par 5, ninth hole, called “Are You Experienced?” We were all experienced golfers but were tired of the silly gimmicks implemented by Mr. Hacker. The tee box had been placed two hundred yards ahead of the former markers, creating a three hundred-fifty-yard hole, that was still identified as a par 5. I easily hit the green in two shots and two-putted for a birdie. I quickly tabulated my score, shooting a 39, despite the 7X…not a bad round!
Deciding to quit, we eager to drain a few beers in the “Psychedelic Shack” to celebrate my partner’s hole-in-one. The Chambers Brothers’ song “Time has Come Today” played over the speakers as we sat down in the “White Room”, which had cream colored carpeting with the odor of incense permeating from the kitchen. Our table that featured a lava lamp and an odd-shaped bowl filled with miniature peppermint sticks.
Lucy, a blonde waitress with a diamond earning in her nose, came right over to take our order. The specials for the day consisted of “White Rabbit” stew, a chicken sandwich called “White Bird”, and a flat-iron butterflied steak called an Iron Butterfly. We elected to have a pitcher of “Magic Carpet Ride”, a craft beer brewed right there in the “Psychedelic Shack”. We ordered a second pitcher, just as another old song, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” started to play. We decided that we were in no condition to order another round, so asked Lucy for our check. My buddy decided that he wouldn’t pay for the entire bill, even though he had the hole-in-one, so he asked her to split the check. Lucy promptly ripped it into four pieces. After patching the bill together, I observed that there was a service fee charge of thirty percent, a huge tip for a waitress with her head in the clouds.
As we were leaving, the song “Legend of a Mind” began to play. Lucy immediately started to shriek and began to tremble, so we rushed to her aid. Between sobbing, she murmured that Tim Leery, the club pro, was dead. We quickly informed her that she had only heard those words in the old Moody Blues tune, reassuring her that the golf pro was still very much alive. Just to be sure, we checked on our way back to the parking lot. Sure enough, Leery was giving a lesson to a golfer on the driving range.
Upon referencing my Special Report on August 29th and after reflecting on the experience at Round-Trip Fields, it was very apparent that Mr. Hacker wanted to keep a hallucination theme for Round-Trip Fields by enhancing the references to psychedelic songs and bands in the era of the late ‘60’s and early ‘70s. I have arranged a meeting with “Duff” Hacker next week and will post the interview in two weeks.
Special Report # 4: Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, USA.
(September 28, 2018) This reporter played Sausage Creek Links yesterday, comparing it with Hammer Valley Club, that I tried to play two weeks ago when I gave up after one hole. To avoid being matched with beginners again, I scanned the online tee sheet, and observed open tee times on the back nine holes before nine o’clock, so I elected to just show up at seven-thirty.
I remitted the ten-dollar green fee to the new golf professional; whose was appropriately named Frank Furter. Directly heading toward the tenth tee, I skirted the driving range and practice green, hearing the old Perry Como song, “Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom).” I followed a path bordered by brown wooden markers designed as slightly curved sausage links, each with a smiley face stenciled at the top. After I turned a corner on the path, I saw the former half-way house, now renamed the “Sugar Shack”. The Fireballs’ old song was just concluding, when the Archie’s “Sugar, Sugar” began to play. I ordered a copy of coffee with sugar, although the attendant couldn’t find a packet or a container, so I reluctantly had to drink it black. As I turned to walk away, I suggested that they play the tune “No Sugar Tonight” by The Guess Who.
Near the tenth tee, I grabbed a scorecard from the box, observing that each of the holes now had been named based on types of sausages…Polish, Italian, Blood, Bratwurst, Knackwurst, Kielbasa, Liver, Summer, and Portuguese. I also noted that there was an additional column for par score for every hole, each of which was blank. I observed an asterisk with a footnote stating that each golfer could establish a personal par score, based upon self-grading.
The tees were marked with what looked like round sausage patties with smiley faces painted on them. The eyebrows were created as two arrows, pointing golfers to the direction of the hole, knowing that with hundreds of new golfers now playing, most wouldn’t know what direction to hit. The benches, which formerly had the names of local business painted on them, were now covered in multi-color floral patterns, drawn by local artists. I also noted that the cups were still regulation size and that all the green and pink checked pin flags had the words “Be Happy” sewn on them, as well as a smiley face.
Fortunately, no golfers joined, and I played in only seventy-five minutes, shooting a 43, or 7 over the established par of 36 for nine holes. I also decided to self-grade and established an adjusted par of 54, so my 43 converted to 11 under par…my best by far!
As I passed the “Sugar Shack” toward the clubhouse, I heard “A Spoonful of Sugar” playing over the speakers. Like the previous visit to the Hammer Valley Club, I noted several construction trucks surrounded the clubhouse. The foreman told me that work was progressing on the comfort rooms and restroom upgrades. I will return to Sausage Creek Links in a few weeks to evaluate all the final improvements in the next few weeks.
Special Report #3: Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, USA.
(September 13, 2018) This reporter decided to play Hammer Creek Club yesterday to evaluate the ongoing changes implemented by Lester “Duff” Hacker over the past month, since beginning his new position as Laicos County Golf Manager. I decided to play as a single golfer and made an online tee time at 9 AM for nine holes of golf. As I drove into the facility, I immediately noticed that the main billboard was gone, as well as several advertising signs bordering the parking lot, which had very few cars. I was able to park near the clubhouse, which was being repainted in pastel colors.
I entered the golf shop and noted that my cousin, Stan Bye, the former golf course starter, was working the counter. He had been replaced by Yogi Budda, who had the title of Golf Enhancement Greeter. She has a degree in Sports Psychology and also works as the course Yoga instructor. I showed my driver’s license, evidence for my $10 greens fee for a Laicos County resident. Stan issued me a frequent golfer card and punched the first tab. He pointed to a box of paper slips on the counter, showing me how to properly fold the piece of paper to form a tee.
I immediately went to the driving range, where the speaker system was playing “Home on the Range.” I was thrilled to see that the range balls were now complimentary and neatly arranged in a smiley face pattern, but I was disappointed to see that I had to hit off green mats instead of the traditional natural grass. A bright yellow arrow was painted on the mat, pointing out to the range. There wasn’t a rubber tee to elevate a ball in order for me to hit my driver from the mat and it took nearly a minute to fold the paper slip to create a tee, which obliterated on my first strike, forming a snowflake pattern in the air. Not wanting to waste more time to create another tee, I pulled a plastic tee from my bag and inserted into the grass in front of the mat. Before I could hit the ball, Yogi Budda rushed over and pulled the tee out of the ground. She lectured me for two minutes on the environmental damage caused by plastic and wooden tees, as well as the natural resources wasted to manufacture them. Fortunately, I was able to talk Miss Budda out of a fine and suspension, pointing out that the club hadn’t posted a warning sign about using traditional golf tees.
As I started my warm up routine, I observed Miss Budda leading a small Yoga class on the grass area near the tee area, where three women, two older gentlemen, and three kids were stretched out on the grass. I had struck only three practice shots when a ball caromed off my golf bag, pivoting to see a 10-year old kid set up 15 yards to my left. He apparently badly shanked his shot. Observing him closely, he whiffed five time before finally striking a ball directly at my head, although I ducked just in time. I decided to move twenty yards further down the range. A new tune, “Feelin’ Groovy”, now played over the speakers.
I sauntered over to the putting green, where a large mural of Jabba the Hut from Star Wars had been painted on the wall. As I got closer, I could see a sign reading “Jabba Your Putt” above the painting. I pulled out three golf balls, preparing to practice my putting, seeing that the cups were 10 inches in diameter. I made every putt that I attempted, even from over 30 feet. I’m convinced that the new experiment using wider cups is a pretty good idea.
I arrived at the first tee ten minutes prior to my tee time and introduced myself to the other golfers, who included Rick O’Shea, the kid with the shank problem; Jerry Atricks, an 80 year old gentleman, and an attractive young blonde woman, whose name was Lulu Doozie. Yogi Budda lectured us the course rules, which restricted smoking, swearing, club-throwing, and engaging in flatulence. She pitched us on renting an iPod unit with equipped with headphones. I read the song list, which included “Happy”, “Happy Trails”, “Happy Together”, “Oh, Happy Day”, “Happy Days are Here Again”, “What a Wonderful World”, “The Green, Green Grass of Home”, “Grazin’ in the Grass”, “Greenfields”, “Green Grass”, “Let’s Groove”, “Fly Like an Eagle”, “Bird Song”, “Albatross”, “Ace in the Hole” “You are my Sunshine”, and Bing Crosby’s “Straight Down the Middle”. I wasn’t interested, although the geezer handed her five dollars to rent the music device.
Miss Budda then handed each of us a yellow balloon and instructed us to blow them up, telling us that it would capture all of our golf anxieties. She then urged us to release our fears by letting the balloons go, launching them in the air creating flatulence-like sounds. I slowly let the air out of my balloon, creating a series of squeaks. She then asked us to hold hands and to close our eyes, leading us in singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Immediately after finish the song, she gave me a big hug.
Deciding to hit first, I formed the paper slip into a tee and delicately placed my golf ball on it, noting the tee markers were white round spheres with a smiley face painted on both of them, as well as an arrow pointing in the direction of the fairway. As I swung hard, the tee shredded into confetti fragments, obstructing my view of the ball flight, although the kid spotted it in the middle of the fairway, over 200 yards out.
Jerry and Rick moved to the forward tees, designated for seniors and youngsters. Rick whiffed six times before shanking his drive off the right tee marker, the ball coming to rest between his feet. His next shot ricocheted off the women’s tee marker and ironically, his ball came to rest between his feet again. He finally topped his ball just beyond the woman’s tee. Jerry could barely bring his club back and nearly fell over on his practice swing. After several attempts, he simply bunted his golf ball near where Rick’s shot had landed.
Lulu now prepared to hit from the lady’s tee box, which was bordered in a flower arrangement. She reached down in her golf bag, and unzipped a large pocket and plucked out a black cat. She announced that it was her comfort animal, called Lovey. Apparently a beginning golfer, she took position as if to hit backwards towards the men’s tee box, although I alerted to the directional arrows painted on the pink tee markers. Lulu turned around and hit the ball about 10 feet after four tries.
It took us about 40 minutes to reach the green, when I observed that the cups were the traditional size. I recorded a triple bogey the hole, primarily because Lovey crossed in front of my ball on two shots. I decided to quit, feeling the black cat had cursed me and besides that, I couldn’t allocate four more hours to finish the remaining eight holes on the front nine. As I approached the golf shop, Yogi Budda scampered over with her arms held open. Knowing that she wanted to embrace me, I quickly pivoted toward the parking lot to avoid her.
As I passed the clubhouse restaurant, I noticed only two patrons were seated at the bar, and as I loaded my clubs into my car, I counted only fifteen autos in the parking lot. I couldn’t understand why so few golfers were playing yesterday as the weather was perfect. I’ll visit the other County clubs within the next two weeks and report on my observations.
Special Report #2: Stephen P. Bye; Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, USA.
(August 29, 2016) This reporter interviewed Lester “Duff” Hacker, who was recently appointed as Laicos County Golf Manager. Two weeks ago, the County commissioners voted to terminate a ten-year old management contract with Golf Really Incredible Management (GRIM) for the three County golf courses and approved a new position of County Golf Manager. Hacker is a twenty year County employee, who most recently, was a senior manager in the County’s waste management division.
Mr. Hacker has developed a new business plan for the three golf courses and has already implemented several changes. Hacker’s ideas, which were wholly embraced by Alice N. Wonderland, County Executive and the majority of the commissioners, are very revolutionary in the golfing business. In essence, Ms. Wonderland wants to provide citizens with a more enjoyable experience and expand the golfer population and believes that the County can increase overall revenues by operating the golf courses directly under Mr. Hackers’ leadership.
The following are the details of Mr. Hacker’s plans:
- No golf fees will be paid by kids under 12 and by seniors over 60. Hacker believes that the lost revenue will be replaced by increased food and beverage sales in the restaurant and concession stands, as well as strategically placing several vending machines throughout the course. In addition, non-resident golfer rates will be increased to $75 for 18 holes and $50 for 9 holes, plus an imbedded $25 excise tax. Fees for other County residents have been reduced to $20 from $30 for 18 holes, and $10 from $15 for 9 holes. In addition, a frequent golfer program will now provide a free round for every ten rounds paid.
- The maintenance staff is currently removing advertising on benches, tee markers, and in the clubhouse. In addition, the large billboards located on the roads leading to the courses will be demolished. Hacker believes that signs and billboards are aesthetic eyesores, destroying the natural beauty of the golf courses. Hacker anticipates that the advertising revenue, approximately $50,000 annually, will be replaced by fines for violating golf policies, as well as the doubling of the non-resident golfer rates.
- The toilet paper in all restroom has been upgraded to four plies of finely pulped paper, enhanced with lotion and wax, having been special ordered through a luxury paper supplier. The toilet paper has multi-color flower designs to match the interior wallpaper, which is being selected by a well-known national interior design firm. Hacker has also interviewed fifty candidates as restroom attendants for the four bathrooms in the clubhouse, the two restroom facilities on each course, as well as for the concession buildings. Hacker unveiled the suit designs for the attendants, which have been ordered from well-known fashion designer in Paris, France.
- Hacker strongly felt that the traditional concession stand name of “half-way house” implied that golfers were visiting a center for addicts or prisoners. Therefore, the names for each half-way house for the 3 courses have been changed to “Love Shack” at the Hammer Valley Club, “Sugar Shack” at Sausage Creek Links and “Psychedelic Shack” at Round Trip Fields. Those respective songs, recorded by the B-52’s, Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, and The Temptations, will be played repeatedly over the speaker systems. I questioned Hacker about the unusual choice of the name “Psychedelic Shack” on the Round Trip Fields course. He responded that most golfers need therapy, often hallucinating after posting atrocious scores the front nine holes. Round Trip Fields is rated in the top 100 most difficult public golf courses in the United States.
- Golfers can no longer use plastic or wooden tees, to comply with the environmental policies implemented by the County Commissioners in June. Free paper tees, which are biodegradable, are available in the golf shops. A fine of $15 will be levied for any golfer using plastic or wood tees and the violators will also be removed immediately from the golf course.
- Plastic straws are no longer supplied at the courses, although paper cups and glasses have been ordered with a special funnel design around the rim to restrict spilling. A 3-D printer has been purchased to manufacture the cups, as well as the paper golf tees.
- Hacker showed me the advertisement that will run in the Mirror Rearview this weekend for animal support caddies, who are also permitted to carry golf bags. Young kids with pet experience are preferred.
- A famous architectural firm has been engaged to design the two safe rooms in the clubhouse as well as the couches to comfort depressed golfers. Hacker has also developed a list of psychologists who will be interviewed as hot line consultants, as well as for permanent therapists for the “Psychedelic Shack”.
- A search has been initiated for a well-known chef, who will create rotating menus at the three courses and will use locally grown organic foods.
- Finally, 10-inch diameter cups have been ordered for the greens. This is one of Hacker’s key ideas, as he wants more golfers to record lower scores and feel happy. However, Hacker confessed that the state and national ruling golf organizations have threatened to remove the three County courses as officially sanctioned golf facilities, likening them to miniature golf operations. Hacker is consulting with the County attorney on appealing this.
I will update readers on Mr. Hacker’s plans in two weeks.
Welcome to my first blog. In this fictional presentation, I take the role of a reporter for the Mirror Rearview, a news service that covers the satirical events in Laicos County, an imaginary municipality in the United States. This blog will be updated at least twice per month.
Special Report #1: Stephen P. Bye, correspondent for the Mirror Rearview.
(August 16, 2018) This reporter has learned that the Laicos County Commissioners have held secret meetings over the past six months regarding the operation of the three municipal golf courses. A subcommittee, headed by County Executive Alice N. Wonderland, confirmed that the ten-year old contract with Golf Really Incredible Management, also known as GRIM, was terminated, due to the violation of a clause in the agreement. Wonderland also confirmed that a new county position of County Golf Manager has been approved by the Commission.
GRIM, has consistently been ranked in the top three golf course operators in the U.S. by Club News Today. In addition, two of the Laicos County Courses, Hammer Valley Club and Sausage Creek Links, have been listed in the best municipal golf operations in the country, based upon quality of service and the high level of maintenance of the golf courses.
Ms. Wonderland would not comment on the reason for the contract termination, although a spokesperson for GRIM stated that the cause was due to problems with the food service and restroom maintenance. “Several people have complained about pungent odors on theafter eating bratwurst, sauerkraut, and beans. The restroom problem was apparently related to the thickness of toilet paper supplied. The termination was grim news, as we were not given a warning or notice to cure the violation in the contract.”
Off the record, Jim Nasticks, a long term commissioner, told me that Ms. Wonderland’s independent research had confirmed that GRIM’s annual management fees and revenue sharing levels with the County were out of line with other public golf operations, even though Laicos County has consistently netted over five hundred thousand dollars annually under GRIM’s contract.
Ms. Wonderland confirmed that Lester “Duff” Hacker has been hired as the new County Golf Manager, under a twenty year contract with an annual salary of two hundred thousand dollars plus an incentive of one percent on all golf course gross revenues. Hacker will immediately leave his County position as a senior manager in the waste disposal department. Ms. Wonderland and the subcommittee members were overwhelmed with Hacker’s unique recommendations for new golf operations.
Mr. Hacker admitted that he has never played a round of golf, but boasted about his fresh ideas for the County golf courses, which include free golf for kids under twelve and senior citizens over sixty years of age with available tee times during prime hours; the elimination of advertising in the clubhouse, benches, and tee markers; converting sand traps to grass bunkers; encouraging golfers to bring comfort animals on the course, and enlarging the cups by three inches in diameter to foster happier golfers. Hacker also wants to build two comfort rooms in the men’s and women’s locker rooms, so golfers have a quiet place to reflect after a poor round. The rooms will have a state of the art sound system with headphones for golfers to listen to soothing music and hot lines will be installed to connect with one of three local psychologists. Hacker plans to replace unhealthy food items such as hot dogs, bratwursts, hamburgers, onion rings, chips and nachos with an organic menu of locally grown products. Finally, restroom attendants will be hired to maintain the highest of sanitary standards and toilet paper quality will be enhanced with lotion and wax with four plies of very finely pulped paper.
I will report frequently on the transition of the Laicos County municipal golf operations.