When I was 16, I was still catching the school bus. I had my clubs with me and I looked forward to the end of the day when I could play BS with my buddies on the way to the golf course.

“I’m callin BS on you!” Jeff said.

“What!” Brad complained. “Why do you keep calling BS on me, Jeff? Don’t you know how to play the game?”

“I just know you’re a liar, that’s all,” Jeff said.

Brad swung at him.

“Grab him Jason,” I said.

“Keep your hands off me!” Brad yelled.

We met our golf coach on the practice green and warmed up on the driving range.

Jeff topped his golf ball 12 yards.

“You suck!” Brad said. Jeff squeezed his club and looked at Brad. I knew what he was thinking and they were mostly homicidal thoughts.

I got paired with them during our practice round. For some reason, my golf game got better on every hole and their game got worse. On hole number 2, they all cranked their balls into the water. It was my turn. The pin was in the front, near the pond. I hit my ball so high they lost it in the clouds.

“You’re in the water mate,” Jeff said. But my ball dropped out of the sky and plugged two feet from the hole.

“Shut up!” Jason cried.

On hole number 3, Jeff sliced it into the woods. Jason hooked it into the street. Brad drove his ball into a flock of geese. “We should give you a birdie!” Jeff laughed.

“Be quiet, Jeff!” Brad said.

Everyone tried to drive the next hole, but nobody succeeded. Brad lost his ball in the woods, and found it, miraculously. We all made it onto the green in regulation and putted for birdie. Jeff picked up our balls and threw them to us, but lingered on Brad’s. “You weren’t playing a Nike; a Callaway, wasn’t it?”

“What are you talkin about Jeff?”

“You didn’t find your golf ball out there. You know what’s worse than a liar Brad? A cheat.” Brad swung his putter at Jeff and Jeff jumped out of the way, taunting him. The group behind us protested. “Move your dumb asses off the green!”

Brad did better than I did that season and made it to the State tournament, but during our awards ceremony I was voted MVP. I didn’t realize it then, but it’s important to be well-liked.

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