In the latter part of the last century, there was a popular television program called “Welcome Back, Kotter,” which starred Gabe Kaplan and John Travolta. Their characters, Mr. Kotter and Vinny Barbarino, to my knowledge and memory never mentioned golf.

For that matter, I am not aware that either Kaplan or Travolta have ever expressed a keen interest in the sport. In the case of Travolta, that is most unfortunate given that he owns and flies his own (five) airplanes including a Boeing 707, which he parks at his home. Imagine being onboard for THAT golf trip!

Anyway, it was the ‘70s and the theme song for the sitcom, appropriately titled “Welcome Back,” was written and sung by John Sebastian, who also was a member of the highly popular Lovin’ Spoonful. If you do not know the tune, I am absolutely certain that you won’t have to ask more than the next three people you see to have one of them start singing the lyrics or at least humming the melody. It’s catchy.

As far as I know, Sebastian was not (back in the day) and is not a golfer; if he were, then I am satisfied he would have mentioned it during his autobiographical one-man show at the Dosey Doe.

No matter; he wrote another song called “Nashville Cats,” and with just a little effort, I think it could be made into a golf tune. Some of you will recall that the late Payne Stewart, along with Peter Jacobsen, Larry Rinker and Mark Lye, routinely set up their musical equipment for post-round performances at many PGA tour stops.

They called themselves Jake Trout and the Flounders. In 1998 Jake Trout and the Flounders released an album called “I Love to Play,” which included song titles “Hittin’ on the Back of the Range” and “Love the One You Whiff.”

Their second album was supported by the likes of Glenn Frey (Eagles), Alice Cooper, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills and Nash), and Huey Lewis. Stewart, who played harmonica, died tragically in a plane incident in 1999; with him died the band.

“Nashville Cats” can be used to describe some notable golfers. For example, the line “Nashville Cats, play clean as country water” might bring to mind the raw and pure power of Dustin Johnson. “Nashville cats, play wild as mountain dew” could be a reference to Phil Mickelson. “Nashville cats, been playin’ since they’s babies” surely applies to Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and a host of others. Finally, “Nashville cats, get work before they’re two” can only be a tribute to Tiger Woods.

The line “And anyone that unpacks ‘is guitar could play twice as better than I will” almost took on a new meaning at the Sony tournament in Hawaii last Sunday. Unknown Tom Hoge (as in bogey) held the lead until the enormity of the situation (winning a PGA Tour event and $1.1 million) seemed to catch up with him. He finished third and pocketed just under a half-million bucks. It remains to be seen how long he gets to unpack his sticks on the big stage, but for the immediate future he’s a “Nashville cat.”

CLEAR CREEK CAT

Longtime Clear Creek golf coach Minda Gaddis unpacked her clubs down at Moody Gardens Golf Course the other day (Jan. 8) along with Karen Chambelin and Andrea Brown. At the ninth hole, a par 3 playing 70 yards, Gaddis smoothed a wedge shot into the hole for the first, and thus far, only ace at Moody Gardens this year.

PROWLING CATS

Fairway, not feral, cats Rick Wegman, Charlie Campbell, Penny Perez and Cliff Robinson showed their stripes in the Jan. 10 version of senior scramble at Bayou Golf Course. Their 62 edged by a shot the team of Badge Buddy Joe Howell, Randy Woods, Tig Davidson and Dick Orweiler.

TOR CATS?

The Ball High Lady Tors ripped up the Galveston Country Club course on Jan. 10 to earn second place medals in the Clear Falls Girls Winter Classic.

Brook Hopkins led the Lady Tors with an individual fourth place finish out of 45 players. Backing her up and improving their record to 17-6 were Taylor Brooks, Elizabeth Donlon and Makenzy Kleinecke.

Be safe, on and off the course.

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