Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Golfing Partners

I played golf at Legacy Golf Course this week and was paired with a very nice gentleman, about my age, who has also retired. As we played golf and chatted, he told me that during his working years, he had owned three restaurants spread out around the country. He later sold them and started a new business with a physician selling medical supplies. Eventually, they were bought out — at which time he chose to retire. He then did what most of us dream of doing (if we ever had sufficient time and money) — he traveled around the world for two years.

Half way through our round of golf, I noticed his golf bag tag which indicated that he belonged to an association of amputees. Amputees? I had not even noticed but when I then looked, I discovered he was using a prosthetic lower leg. You would not have noticed (obviously, I did not) because he walked with a very normal stride — and his golf swing was perfectly normal. I confess that I was quite impressed with his ability to deal with his "disability?".

This encounter caused me to reflect on the many interesting people I have met on the golf course. In previous issues, I have mentioned a couple of them — a mortgage broker who plays 300 times a year — and a hedge fund manager who lives on Maui and plays nearly every day — but there are others. One partner was a sports writer for USA Today with whom I played a couple years ago. He lives on the Ocotillo Golf Course which was where we were playing. (BTW, Ocotillo is an interesting and challenging golf course because it has lots of water — yes, here in the middle of a desert — specifically 23 of 27 holes have water in play — but that's another story.)

This sports writer had just returned from Europe where he covered the British Open and the Senior British Open followed by a couple weeks of touring Europe. I asked him if he had the opportunity to interview the golfers and he said he did. Naturally, I asked him about some of the big name golfers such as Tiger and Phil and Freddy and Ernie and so on. He had interviewed them all and said that personally, they were all very nice. I asked him about VJ Singh, who had a reputation of not being friendly to sports writers and he said that VJ's reputation is justified.

Last year during my post-retirement sabbatical on Maui, I met a strawberry farmer from Michigan. He comes to Maui every winter — since there is not much a strawberry farmer can do to his crops during the winter months. He was visiting Maui (and playing golf) with his brother — both were there with their families — although the brother had to return to the mainland the next day.

We had a great time together and we agreed to meet again. They were changing hotels and moving down to Wailea, so that's where we played. And we had such a great time, we played together a third time at Makena. Interestingly, we were taking advantage of the twilight rates (half price), so our mornings were free — and it turns out this strawberry farmer and his family went scuba diving in the morning. People are so interesting.

However, one of the weirdest coincidences occurred the year that I was on Maui after Kona passed away. I was paired with a couple from Seattle who lived on Maui half the year and in Seattle half the year — the husband was a commercial real estate broker and could work remotely if he chose to do so. Also with them was his elderly mother and father. The mother was still playing golf although she was stooped with age and her vision was so poor that we had to watch the flight of her ball for her. She may not have had classic form but she could hit the ball straight every time. The father was too ill to play but came along for the ride. We had a great time playing and talking together on the Kapalua Bay Course.

Now here is the weird part. One year later, I played the Bay Course again. The weather was misty and they did not have anyone to pair me with so I played by myself (no, not weird yet). By the time I got to hole #5 (pictured at left), the mist had turned into a tropical downpour with the wind blowing so hard the rain was horizontal (no, still not weird). I was soaked, my gloves were soaked, my grips were soaked and I was afraid I might accidentally toss a club into the ocean (you can easily do that on this hole). So I went back to clubhouse to see if I could arrange a return visit when the weather was better. Unfortunately, they have a policy of no rainchecks — once you hit your first tee shot, ka-ching — your money in their bank! But I looked so pitiful and begged to play at anytime they weren't busy — finally they informally promised that if I came back the next day, they would let me finish my round — but don't tell the club pro since it is against their standing policy (no, not even this is that weird).

So I showed up the next day (bright and beautiful) and they let me play starting at hole #1 (still not weird) — I guess it was the pro's day off. So I was paired with a guy and we teed off. As we played and chatted, I started to realize that he was telling me a familiar story. He lives part-time on Maui and part-time in Washington state. At that moment (yes, this is the weird part), I realized that this was the guy I had played with the year before. I described his family and our outing together then he remembered it too. Neither of us recognized the other initially. We had another great round together and, in fact, he invited me to join him and his wife a few days later for another round — and at his resident's rate. Weird but exceptionally cool.

You may have noticed that this issue arrived earlier than normal. That is due to my early departure tomorrow (Sunday) for Santa Fe for my class, "Crafting the Fine Digital Print". Since I didn't know how much free time I would have and what our Internet access would look like, I decided to send this one early. I hope you all have a great Independence Day holiday.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com