Tom Mullins, an Irish friend, visited yesterday. We spent the day reminiscing about my family's trip to Ireland several years back.
Tom and I laughed heartily remembering our trip to Ballybunion, a golf course that is always ranked among the top five in the world. It is truly one of golf's cathedrals, built in and around sand dunes on the west coast of Ireland. When you ask a member who the architect is, he says "God."
The first tee at Ballybunion has an ancient cemetery that's well off to the right of the tee box. On my first drive, one that I will never forget, nor will Tom ever let me, my ball flew sideways off the tee, rattled off several headstones, and joined the dead in that graveyard. Mortification doesn't even begin to describe how I felt.
Fortunately, we were playing in Ireland. If it were Scotland, where golf's rules were created and are strictly enforced, I'd have been penalized two strokes, maybe even more for violating the sanctity of the site. However, the Irish tend to be more liberal. They invented the mulligan after all. I was mercifully awarded one and allowed to start afresh. I then proceeded to par the first hole.
May my first ball rest in peace.