As the Audi cruised up the tree lined drive to the clubhouse at The East Greenbush Golf and Polo Club I stole a glance to my right at the pin placements on holes 1, 3 and 4. It was routine for members to take a look on the way in as all three holes had blind approach shots and knowing where the holes had been placed gave you a little edge. Of course for a big money match I’d ask Ralphie, the head greens keeper, to give me his pin placement book. That along with a $100 bill usually guaranteed I’d know the hole locations and my opponent wouldn’t, but today wasn’t about the golf or the money today was about getting face time with the hose. A round of golf at The Bush usually took 3 hours including lunch. If we saw 8 other people on the course during the round I’d be amazed. Not only would the course be empty but the hose was renowned for playing fast, no looking for lost balls, improving his lie whenever he felt like it and not adverse to using a foot wedge to help himself. The hose was competitive and he would cheat, you could tell a lot about a man by how he played golf.
Now Rocky on the other hand was the exact opposite of the hose, he played leisurely, strolling the course instead of riding in a cart, he couldn’t care less what he shot and he was scrupulously honest. Rocky and the hose in the same foursome could become stressful.
As I parked I saw the hose, Rocky and Dan were already on the first tee. I jumped into a cart and arrived at the tee at 10:59, just in time for us to tee off in front of the clubs resident milfs, Missy Cartright, whose husband was a doctor, Paula Unger the ex-wife of local builder Paul Unger, Trini Sandoval, whose husband, Tom Sandoval had just died leaving her over $3 million and his yellow Jaguar XKE and Lisa Zesnet the clubs women’s champion.
The first hole at The Bush is practically a symbol of politics in Albany. Safe if you’re smart fatal if you’re not. From an elevated tee in front of the clubhouse the fairway is wide for the first 200 yards then narrows down to a small rise at 260 yards with woods closing in on both sides, over the rise the hole drops the final 120 yards to a green that is elevated above a small creek and is sloped front to back such that the rear of the green where it is flat cannot be seen from the creek. The smart play is the safe play, a long iron or 3 wood to the top of the rise then a short iron to the back of the green. But every swinging dick doctor, lawyer or legislator I’ve ever seen play the Bush always tried to show off and drive the rise with the best case result being a downhill wedge to an elevated green sloping away. The worst case was a drive into the woods.
With the milfs milling about the small area next to the tee box the hose was anxious to start but first things first, tradition required a wager.
“Dan, I’ll partner with the hose and you take Rocky we are in the same carts that way”
“No problem Leathers, I’m an 8 handicap I know you play to a 4 what’s your handicap Rocky?”
“I’m a 13 back home”
Back home was a private course that Rocky actually owned, I’ve played it before and it was without a doubt 5 strokes easier than the Bush so Rocky’s 13 was more like 18 at the Bush but he would never try to get any extra strokes.
“And you Senator?”
The hose playing to a 17 was complete horseshit, he was at worst a 14 but when Rocky said 13 the hose with lightning speed did the calculation and realized playing to a 17 made the teams even and gave him at least a 3 stroke advantage. And he knew that none of us would call him on it.
“Okay how about we play as teams and if my team wins we get Dan’s Omega Montreal watch if Dan’s team wins they get my Graham?”
The hose immediately pointed out that there was only one watch how would we split it?
“No worries Senator if we win I’ll give you half the value of the Omega in cash if we lose I’ll cover the bet with my Graham”
“How much is that watch worth Sam?”
“I’d say about $4000 Senator”
Sam was full of shit the Omega was worth half that but what could I say in front of the hose.
“OK so we win Leathers gets the watch and gives me $2000, let’s play”
The hose strode to the tee driver in hand a ball in his hand and another in his pocket. As I looked closer the ball was an off brand that I had a sneaking suspicion was juiced and illegal but again who was going to say anything.
With the milfs looking on the hose took a mighty swing and sent the ball deep into the woods on the right side of the rise.
“What type of ball were you playing Senator? I’m sure we can find it” Rocky politely asked.
Rocky was taking his life in his hands implying the Senator was going to be looking for a lost ball and an illegal one at that
“What fucking difference does it make Rocky, I’m allowed a mulligan on the first hole, even you small time upstate real estate guys should know that, get your partner under control Sam he’s playing head games with me already”
“Absolutely Senator swing away”
The hose’s second shot rolled into the woods at the top of the rise.
“I see it Senator” Sam meekly announced.
I play at The Bush at least 3 times a week and knew no one was finding that ball.
I hit a 3 iron about 20 yards short of the rise and in the middle a nice safe shot.
Rocky went next and ended up about 20 yards behind me but on the fairway, for a guy well over 6 foot 5 inches he hit the ball like a guy hung like a gerbil.
Sam stepped up and glanced at the hose before sending his driver deep into the woods on the left of the fairway. You don’t want the hose being the only one in trouble on the first hole, Sam was no rookie when it came to lobby golf.
As we drove away from the first tee, Rocky said he wanted to walk and strolled up the fairway.
The hose dropped me at my ball and raced the cart to the top of the rise. I had no doubt that he would find a ball and most likely just over the rise in great shape.
No sooner had he disappeared over the rise than he yelled “I’ve got it it must have hit a tree and bounced back into the fairway”
“Member’s bounce senator now let’s go win this hole”
At the end of the hole which we easily won as a result of the hose’s good fortune I retrieved his ball from the cup and returned it to him, it no longer was an off brand it was now a shiny new Titleist.
As the round progressed we fell into a rhythm, the hose kept cheating, Sam kept tanking on purpose, we kept winning and Rocky kept walking slowing down the round and allowing the milfs to catch up, which infuriated the hose.
As we finished the 7th hole, a long par 5, and approached the 8th a short par 3, the hose growled at Rocky.
“Don’t you fucking dare tell those big titted bitches to play thru, they can all suck my dick, at the same time”
“But Senator it’s the polite thing to do”
“Rocky I’m fucking warning you, and start riding you’re slowing us down”
As the milfs approached the hose started to flirt with Trini.
“I see you have the Jag out today Trini, it’s almost as beautiful as you are”
“Thank you Senator I’ve always enjoyed riding a powerful machine with a long hood”
The milfs giggled.
“Ladies why don’t you play thru” Rocky politely offered.
“You sure you don’t mind?”
“Not at all” Rocky responded.
As the milfs teed off and rode away the hose walked to the back of Rocky’s cart and proceeded to throw his clubs into the woods one by one.
It would be another 4 holes and a lite lunch before the hose calmed down enough for me to talk to him about his son’s future.
“Senator I understand Oscar is contemplating becoming a lobbyist”
“He’s a smart kid Leathers you would be lucky to have him at Leathers and Lace and I’d make sure it was profitable for you”
The kid was actually a complete idiot and the hose had been promising every firm in town the same thing.
“Well Senator you know I’ll be bidding and bidding high for his services but I hear Richard has told people he will spare no expense and plans to make Oscar a partner”
“Now that would be good for Richard but bad for you Leathers, but you didn’t invite me to play today to tell me that what’s really on your mind?”
“Well Senator I think it might be bad for Oscar too. I’m hearing the feds are investigating Richard and his connection to legislators and how he gets results for his clients”
“So what you do the same thing Leathers”
“Well with everyone watching I may know a better way for Oscar to advance his career”
“I’m all ears Leathers”
“Oscar should open his own consulting practice, keep his overhead low and collect large monthly fees from the clients you send his way”
“I’m not sure Oscar can service all the clients I could send him that’s why I want him to be part of a firm”
“Well here’s the beauty of it Senator, the clients don’t pay him to lobby they pay him NOT to lobby”
“Huh? Not to lobby”
“Absolutely, Senator, he enters into consulting agreements whose sole purpose is to prevent him from lobbying for any other client in a particular industry, it becomes an insurance policy for those clients that hire him”
“Kind of like the old merger and acquisition law firms or divorce lawyers you hire him so the other guy can’t”
“Exactly Senator, and the clients realize they are paying so that Oscar will not help their competition, Oscar doesn’t have to do anything other than play golf or ride his dirt bike or whatever he is into nowadays and the feds can’t claim it’s a quid pro quo and you and Oscar avoid indictment like every other legislator that has tried to help his children work in Albany”
“I like it Leathers, Oscar gets paid for not working its perfect. Thank you now what can I do for you?”
We were getting back into the cart and were now within range of the micro cassette recorder in my ditty bag.
“Well Senator I’d like to talk to you about what Richard is up to with Ravi and the real estate deals around his micro dot factory”
By the time we arrived at the next tee box I was sure Karp would have enough information to start to put together the next Albany political scandal and if things went right put Richard, Ravi and at least 3 senators and 6 assemblyman in jail.
The only thing that was bothering me was the hose’s concern that there were a bunch of Israeli’s involved that scared him.