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How Many Players Do You Have In Your Group Today?

By Joe Perdue

PGA Professional/Owner, Hidden Meadows Golf Course

Linda Costello and I were having a nice chat through Facebook Messenger this afternoon, and the subject of our ‘Top 5 Hidden Meadows Moments’ came up. We decided this may rank as #1.

Several years ago, Linda was working the closing shift in the pro shop. We were having a fairly busy day, and with about four hours to go before dark I told her, “If we hit 120 players today, I’ll give you a $100 cash bonus,” waving a $100 bill in front of her. At that time, we had exactly 100 players on the sheet for the day.

Linda, back in the days before we expanded the clubhouse at Hidden Meadows Golf Course.

If you know Linda at all, she is just slightly competitive. And she was very motivated by money (what college student isn’t?) I was counting on this when I put that challenge out there for her (do the math…. 20 players at $12 each plus carts, food, etc. It’s win-win.).

She started calling her friends. “Hey, it’s a fantastic afternoon here at the course. No bugs, it’s not busy, best day of the year! And bring your friends. We’ve got lots of carts and great rates this time of the day!” 

The up-sell she was putting out there was a thing of beauty. She not only wanted to get to 120 players, she wanted to get to 140 players. She wanted to be able to gloat. Over the next couple of hours our player count climbed, getting to 117. She had taken this challenge seriously and was doing well. I was ready to surrender my $100 bill.

But things started to settle down, and ever so slowly the agony of the ensuing twilight approached. It’s getting to a point where there wasn’t going to be time for a ‘quick 9’ anymore, and Linda’s chances of winning this challenge were dwindling. You could just see the hope draining from her face. 

I was in the pro shop chatting with her, and all the while she’s looking at the clock, she’s looking at the sun dropping lower and lower in the sky, she’s getting antsy and isn’t focused on the conversation. Of course, this just gave me more reason to keep on chatting, telling her about how we used to have 375 players on a Saturday at Gold Mountain GC, back in my younger years as an assistant pro in Bremerton.

She wasn’t interested and didn’t appreciate the comparison.

Then we both hear people walking down towards the clubhouse. Her eyes lit up when she saw it was a family that always played together, consisting of mom, dad, and their son. All three of them ALWAYS came out together. You could count on it like the sun coming up in the morning. 

Looking at Linda, you would have thought she just found out that Star Trek was real. She was singing the ‘Na na na song,’ she was dancing, waving her arms around, hooting and hollering. I’m not sure if she was more excited about the hundred bucks, or the fact that she was going to beat me in a contest.

You do know what’s coming next, right?

“Where’s Kathy,” asked Linda with a concerned face, as she was checking in the dad and son, standing on her tippy-toes, stretching her neck and looking around the corner for their ever-reliable third player. “Oh, she didn’t feel like playing tonight,” answered the dad non-chalantly as he and his son turned and headed towards the first tee, having no idea what was going on.

The look on Linda’s face was priceless. What came out of her mouth was even better. At that time, I had no idea she could give any sailor a run for their money when it came to using colorful metaphors. I also found out that she had a louder voice than I do after I’ve missed a three-foot putt to lose a bet. People were calling the pro shop from the 5th green, wondering if things were okay.

And that’s where we ended for the day. 119 players. I was laughing so hard I literally had tears coming down my cheeks and my stomach hurt worse than if I’d done a quick 100 sit-ups (or 10 sit-ups. The older I get, the more sit-ups I used to be able to do). 

Linda’s face was as red as her sweatshirt. I’m not sure if she was more upset about missing the challenge by one player, or by how hard I was laughing. Oh my gosh. She. Was. Pissed! I doubt she said two words the rest of her shift. And with me never passing on an opportunity to needle someone, I kept on talking about how great it would be if we were that busy all the time. 

The funniest part of this? I’m just absolutely cracking up right now while I’m writing this, thinking back to that gorgeous summer evening in Maine. Linda? She still gets real quiet, and you can tell she’s still as furious about it now as the day it happened. 

Thank you for the great memory Linda. You made my day. Looking forward to seeing you next week!