Danny Reegan and Pete Nanos looked on as John Butler helped himself to an early Christmas present, smacking a sand wedge 93 yards and into the bottom of the cup at the ninth hole at Moody Gardens golf course a couple of weeks ago. It was the second hole in one for the Galveston County resident in his fifty years of golf. Merry Christmas, indeed! Hope he served up some Christmas cheer for the group.

Merry Christmas to those who braved vicious winds last Thursday and walked away with some Christmas cash in the Moody Gardens weekly game. Mark Ripley (net) and Kyle Holmes (gross) each posted scores of 80 to pocket some serious candy cane cash; Ripley was joined by Michael Ripley, Rick Temple and Carl Huckaby to split the team sack of goodies. Long-hitting Assistant Pro Chris Caldwell’s assessment of playing in the howling holiday wind was: “We were stupid!” So was I, albeit at an inland course where there was mostly “only” a three-club wind.

If you have not watched the television series “The Goldbergs”, this season of reruns would be a good time to give it a try; in a couple of episodes, you should be hooked. If you already watch, then you will understand as I recall my favorite golfer Christmas gift, that it was in December, nineteen-eighty-something.

Anyway, the age of transition to graphite from steel-shafted clubs was well underway but far from complete (still is), and Callaway had introduced the Big Bertha irons and “metal woods”, followed by the even more intriguing and attractive Warbird line. More on that in a wink of Santa’s eye.

Back in the 1960s, I came to own a #2 wood-vintage, steel-shafted club also once popularly known as a “Brassie”. It became my favorite club, and I could hit it a respectable distance from the fairway and even further from a tee, and with greater control than I had with the driver. My buddies back then observed that I should use it instead of the driver; but, hey, who’s gonna do that! When the shaft snapped and I could not afford to replace it, the club just faded away.

In December, nineteen-eighty-something, when the Warbird set of driver, brassie, 3-wood and 4-wood (they once were referred to as Spoons) hit the market, I was certain they would make my game better than it had ever been. Somehow, my bride picked up on my enthusiasm for the set of four and as you have already surmised, bought the clubs for me for Christmas. She found a golf shop somewhere in New York and was able to save money because they charged no tax or shipping.

I immediately fell in love with those clubs; they did indeed boost my confidence and help my overall enjoyment and scoring. The 2-wood, or Brassie, had by Callaway been given the name “Deuce”. I could hit that new driver longer than I had ever before driven the ball; and if I could find the ball, I’d hit it again. Some days, when the driver was ill-behaved, I would use the “Deuce” for tee shots on the par 4s and par 5s. I seemed to hit it as far as my driver, and with much greater consistency. My golfing buddies in the eighties observed that I should use it all the time instead of the driver; but, hey, who’s gonna do that!

Eventually, those clubs were replaced as technological advances convinced me to buy newer, better and of course, more expensive clubs. The Deuce? It’s in the garage. One never knows. But the purpose of the story is to share a really special memory of when a very special person got me the very thing I wanted for Christmas. It just happened to be golf clubs.

Be safe, on and off the course.

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