You Remember Birdies and Eagles

On the road…again!

Afghanistan to Zambia

Chronicles of a Footloose Forester

By Dick Pellek


You Remember Birdies and Eagles


One of the differences between daydreams and night time dreams is the simple proposition that daydreams are induced recollections and night time dreams are involuntary.  We may awaken to recall something about the bizarre dream we had, but our conscious selves had nothing to do with why or how the dream came about.  We often enjoy our daydreams precisely because they give us pleasure, and we can choose the topic.  In between the involuntary dreams that are not always pleasant and the daydreams we hope to turn into pleasurable episodes, are those transition periods of semi-sleep when our minds search for a fond topic of our choice of a free-flowing dream.


Instead of counting sheep when he is seeking to fall fast asleep, the Footloose Forester often recalls the places and the circumstances of playing and watching golf around the world.  He was fortunate enough to have ventured afar during his years, On the road...again!!!  and thus had a long list of memories of golf courses in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States.  He tried to remember the states and the countries where he had a golf club in his hand and to count them up before deciding which ones he wanted to dream about.  In the process, he also discovered that he often conjured up thoughts of famous golfers he watched in the half-dozen tournaments he witnessed over the years.   All in all, the list was long enough to make getting to sleep a very pleasant exercise.


Memories are always selective, thus the Footloose Forester must acknowledge that he sometimes does not immediately remember the name of the golf courses, or the country, or much about the individual holes.  What he does remember are the birdies and the eagles.  Selective memory, indeed!   He had so few birdies over the years that his selective memory tended to focus on those rarities and ignore the double bogies that could be found on his scorecards.  Eagles were even more rare, so much so that he recalled every one of them he ever had in his whole life.  Hint: you can count them on one hand.


Another aspect of the dreamy recollections about golf has to do with famous golfers.  It is not intended to be boastful about seeing Arnold Palmer, in person; but the Footloose Forester always wanted to mention seeing him score an eagle on two successive holes during the Hawaiian Open in the 1970s.  The par-5 first hole under normal playing conditions had been designated as the 10th hole for the tournament, so when Arnold Palmer eagled the par-5 9th hole (normally the 18th hole), he proceeded to eagle the very next hole.  Surely it was some kind of record.  The Footloose Forester was privileged to see Arnold Palmer play at the Waialae Country Club in Hawaii, at Quicksilver in Pennsylvania and at the US Open in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.  Seeing him hit his approach shot from the fairway and then stride toward the green in the presence of Seve Ballesteros was a special scene.  And witnessing the camaraderie of Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, and Larry Nelson as they played together as a foursome during a practice round at Oakmont was a delicious soup that they cooked up themselves. One of them remarked, "how often do you see four millionaires playing golf together?" No, the Footloose Forester didn't make that up. It was Ben Crenshaw. Special moments to lull you to sleep.




The Clubhouse at Oakmont Country Club

As a golfer himself, the Footloose Forester was never very good but was always happy to be on the golf course.  Little wonder then, that he remembers many of the birdies he attained over the years; and all of the very few eagles. Sometime in the near future when he is again striving to drop off into dreamland, he will likely think about the birdies and the eagles at Hainault in England, at Oswestry in Wales, in Malta, in Kenya, in Botswana, in Bophuthatswana; at those hallowed holes at the Mindenhall Golf Course in Pennsylvania, and at the Golf Club de Saigon.    


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