Lincoln Golf

By: Bob Spiwak

I tend to travel a lot to play golf. For years, my vehicles have been old Volkswagens and a sporty Datsun fastback coupe. These suffice for another golfer and me. A third person can be squeezed into the VWs, sharing the back seat with a bag of clubs. The Datsun is strictly a two-seater.

For many years when it has been my turn to drive, the seating is obviously limited when there are more than two who would appreciate a modicum of comfort, whether venturing as close as the courses at Bear Mountain in Chelan, in Spokane or near Bellingham.

On the verge of celebrating a birthday, I decided to reward myself with a large gift. I had been casually seeking a Lincoln, and by some stroke of serendipity, one became available. I had to sell some Halliburton stock, which meant no more hunting with Dick Cheney, but came up with the money. And from far-off Tacoma, golf buddy Don Klein delivered a pristine 1992 Lincoln Continental. It got 27 miles per gallon, he told me, from Tacoma to Mazama. That's better than my old Datsun gets.

I discovered, to my surprise and horror, that the trunk, which I envisioned holding four golf bags and two caddies, could barely hold three bags. This is not the fault of the car. Over the years, golf bags have gotten larger, especially those designed for riding on a golf cart. There are things every dedicated golfer must have to play the game and these have to be kept handy. Thus, the oversized bags have oversized pockets as well.

Every golfer needs the following; 14 clubs, at least two towels (that hang from the bag along with a stiff, bristled brush for the clubs). Obviously, golf balls are necessary, and while a dozen might be adequate, as long as the bag has the huge pocket another dozen is added - "Just in case I lose one." A rain suit, jacket and pants are packed in a large side compartment of the bag, along with a windbreaker, a sweater and a vest that reside in an opposite large containment. Many golfers carry a spare pair of golf shoes in their bags, I suppose this is in case they get a blowout in the sole of the ones they are wearing.

A pocket of the bag is filled with tees. In the worst of times, all one needs is 20 of them for a round, but hell, we buy them by the hundred and in the bag they go. A golf umbrella, a hybrid offspring of that used by Mary Poppins and a beach umbrella, is attached to its designated place on the outside of the bag. Sun block, Ibuprofen, extra glasses, sunglasses, pencils, wallet, watch and car keys are ensconced in one or several pockets. Another of the myriad pockets will hold a sandwich or fruit of some sort.

This inventory is meant to illustrate that however oversize the bag was in its pristine showroom condition, the addition of all the above necessities add to the volume of available space it occupies. Granted, had I gotten a Lincoln Town Car the trunk might have accommodated more, but this is what I have.

All my adult life I've had sports or sporty cars. What they all had in common was that they were small and very maneuverable. This car (which some friends refer to as my "Pimpmobile") is quite large. It rides, literally, on a cushion of air. It has climate control and dozens of little buttons whose legends are written too small for me to read; to figure them out I have to refer to the owner's manual, which came, leather-bound, in a zippered container. Wow. Six can ride in comfort, four in luxurious opulence, even in a 16-year-old car.

At many golf courses there are cart boys or girls (Forgive me, women) who take the bags out of the trunk and put them on a cart. One of my golf buds, to whom I shall refer to as Chucky Cheese, has a bag so large that his and mine barely fit together on the back of a golf cart designed to hold two bags. However, the cart boys' struggle to get the bags out of the trunk (for which they get a tip) is nothing compared to their trying to shoehorn them back in after a perfunctory cleaning of the clubs. Usually, these guys are on a different shift and don't get as many tips for working three times harder than the morning crew. This is because in golf there are always losers. Spiwak's Law: A golfer's generosity is in inverse proportion to his score.

It has been a joy to have this car. Of course, living where we do in the country, mice and packrats are anxious to examine the new vehicle. I had it about a week when a mouse chewed through the wire that controls the idle of the engine.

I have since switched to a smaller bag. I now need to convince my golfing buddies to do the same. If everyone does it, we might just be able to fit a caddie in with them.

Bob Spiwak took up golf in 1953 as a respite from the rigors of selling bibles door-to-door in North Dakota. Though suffering a four-year lapse, he's back to being a fanatical golfer. Now a contributing editor for Cybergolf, Spiwak has written articles for almost every golf magazine in the Western world. Bob's most treasured golf antiquity is a nod he got from Gerald Ford at the 1990 Golf Summit. Spiwak lives in Mazama, Wash., with his wife and several pets next to his fabled ultraprivate Whispering Rattlesnakes Golf & Flubbers Club.

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