Golf Becomes Bad 'Land of the Lost' Episode

By: Jay Flemma

Tom Wolfe was right, "You can't go home again." Here's what happens when you try.

Did you ever watch Sid and Marty Krofft shows on Saturday morning as a kid? The programs they show on "Boomerang" now? Remember "Land of the Lost?" . . . cue music and singing Marshall Will and Holly . . . on a routine expedition . . . met the greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeatest earthquake ever knoooooooooooown . . .

It's a live action show where the dad, son and daughter (Marshall, Will and Holly) end up in a prehistoric world where they live in a cave, get chased around by Grumpy the T-Rex, Alice the Allosaur and the "Sleestaks" - those primitive lizard-man troglodytes (see picture). The whole story is about "When and how will they find a way to get back home?"

Anyway, that's what it was like on my recent journey to the hinterlands of upstate New York; time travel to the golf age of dinosaurs - loud, primitive, and full of wild animals and longing for home. The name of the . . . GOLF COURSE . . . is withheld to protect the innocent.

First, meet Alice the angry Allosaur. She's the woman behind the snack bar counter. It's 8 a.m. and she's frying a pan of meatballs. Meatballs . . . at 8:00 a.m. But I digress . . .

The line behind me is three or four ornery people long, and she's just watching the sizzle like an aged version of Jay and Silent Bob . . . or is that Beavis and Butthead? After several "Ahems," "Hi theres," and "I can't believe she hasn't even looked at us" comments made audibly" - and a good five minutes, she turns around and says . . . AND I QUOTE . . . "You'll just have to wait a sec . . . nobody interrupts me for my balls!"

And we were expecting this woman to serve us food.

Anyway, she finally takes my order for toast, juice, Pepsi and a side order of bacon. Then the slow dance begins . . . go in the back, get the bacon, open the package, get the plate, get a utensil, turn on the grill, find another pan ("YOU'RE TAKING ME AWAY FROM MY BALLS YOU KNOW!"), slide the bacon in the pan . . . one . . . slice . . . at . . . a . . . time . . . cook . . . bacon.

"Say, while the bacon's cooking can I please get that soda? Or the juice whichever's easier?" I ask. "And burn your bacon?! I'd never hear the end of it!"

After the bacon's cooked, that's when she went to work on the toast . . . open the bread, get out one . . . two . . . slices . . . put . . . in . . . the . . . toaster. Then a new dance started - while my bacon was getting cold - she's poking and prodding the toaster as if it's not working. Well six or seven MORE minutes go by as she's trying to figure the toaster out and we're no closer to toast or bacon or my drinks, let alone the three people behind me who haven't even placed their orders yet and are growing more and more red in the face by the minute.

I watch her extract from the toaster two uncooked slices of bread . . . finally when she turned up the dial, they began to cook. "Oh come on!" mutters one exasperated patron behind me in line.

As she hands me my soda, I asked for a lid (behind the counter, unreachable to patrons). "Boy you just want everything today!" I took perverse delight in pointing out that I also needed a straw now that my drink was to go . . . fast . . . AS IN TO THE TEE BOX, NOW BECAUSE YOU TOOK HALF AN HOUR FOR TOAST AND BACON!

She roared like a wounded Allosaur. And I take NONE of that guff. Neither do the people behind me, who could have knitted an afghan by the time she got us through the line.

Then there was Grumpy the Tyrannosaur, a foul, uncouth, ill-mannered, ill-bred little cave troll who bellowed loudly in the restaurant the following pearls of wisdom: "BOBBY JONES IS A BIG PHONY! HE SUCKED! I MEAN WALTER HAGEN BEAT HIM 10 AND 8 IN SOME EXHIBITION. 10 AND 8. TIGER WOODS WOULD NEVER LOSE LIKE THAT. WHERE THEY GOIN' [grammatical mistake in original speech] MAKING US WORSHIP BOBBY JONES?"

I couldn't keep my mouth shut and just said. "He did give us Augusta National, you know . . . " He replied: "JONES DIDN'T BUILD AUGUSTA, MONEY BUILT AUGUSTA!"

By now, I'm furious and horrified by this guy, which brings me to his henchmen, cronies, whatevers, the Sleestaks. Sniveling, fawning, barely human, these sub-chumps (or is that uber-chumps?) are eating this up with a mix of guffaws, snorts, sniggers and adoration. Between the five of them I think I heard one word of actual English.

Then I get stuck behind a FIVESOME of these donkeys, including Grumpy, for 13 holes. They yelled, took five years to putt out every 2-footer for 14 cents, spilled beer on the fourth green, left smelly burning cigars everywhere, railed against whatever and scurried like rodents when I hit into them . . . oops . . . Damn those blind approaches.

Oh well. Yes the wrath of the Golf Gods is terrible to behold, but those of us mortals can stand up for the game's integrity too.

Calgon, take me away!

Since launching his first golf writing website in 2004,, Jay Flemma's comparative analysis of golf designs and knowledge of golf course architecture and golf travel have garnered wide industry respect. In researching his book on America's great public golf courses (and whether they're worth the money), Jay, an associate editor of Cybergolf, has played over 220 nationally ranked public golf courses in 37 different states. Jay has played about 1,649,000 yards of golf - or roughly 938 miles. His pieces on travel and architecture appear in Golf Observer (, Cybergolf and other print magazines. When not researching golf courses for design, value and excitement, Jay is an entertainment, copyright, Internet and trademark lawyer and an Entertainment and Internet Law professor in Manhattan. His clients have been nominated for Grammy and Emmy awards, won a Sundance Film Festival Best Director award, performed on stage and screen, and designed pop art for museums and collectors. Jay lives in Forest Hills, N.Y., and is fiercely loyal to his alma maters, Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and Trinity College in Connecticut.