Thats on a rock, said Jon Wrzesinski, moving his golf ball an inch or so in the rough at Jawbone Creek Golf Club. Going to have fluff that a little bit.
This is the Fourth of July in Harlowton, and rodeo and parade aside, this might be the holiday highlight golfing with Wrzesinski. Not because hes particularly good hell be the first to tell you hes not but because hes spectacularly erratic.
The Stanford native and head football coach at Harlowton High School has a golf game that is 90 percent Warner Bros. That is, its like a cartoon. He grunts, swings, and the ball rockets to the right, climbs up and to the left, then if he gets the height completes a corkscrew before crashing to the earth.
This is become a July 4 tradition: Hit the Jawbone, which was featured in Ripleys Believe it or Not because its the only course that has a cemetery (Chinese railroad workers and their families, in turn-of-the-century segregated interment); marvel at Wrzesinskis driver/pitching wedge game; and lose some pocket money playing the Wolf.
The best summer of my life might have been the one after my junior year, when I got a job at that golf course. We dug up and fixed broken PVC, learned how to mow the elevated greens with a triplex that had no brakes, which led to some impressive crashes, and briefly somebody eventually had to complain shot gophers. Over 500 varmints met their demise at Jawbone before a cease-fire was called that summer.
Now, here I was again, trying to win chump change from Wrzesinski; his father John, who forbids son from using fathers clubs, after young Jon separated head from shaft on back-to-back swings; and Sky Halsey.
We ended up missing the parade; it started about the time the young Wrzesinski failed to clear his hands, or hips, or something, and sent a missile at a 60-degree angle off the fourth tee toward Beer Acres.
This being Harlo on the Fourth, and not New Years Day in Pasadena, we figured the parade was almost over by the time Wrzesinski got on the tee at No. 7, and toed his drive straight sideways and down into the pond flanking No. 6.
The side game we had involves taking turns teeing off, with the first guy being the Wolf. He hits his tee shot, then picks one of the following players as his partner. Its best ball from there; a dollar a hole for the winners. It had been a blood bath in years past, but I made up my mind I wasnt going to lose this time around. More than $10, anyway.
Eventually, we excepting young Jon made it to the local NRA rodeo. I settled in next to my brother-in-law Bob Jones, who perked up when they had a calcutta for the Wild Cow Milking Contest. His son Adam, a recent HHS graduate, was on one of the five, 4-person teams. Bobs winning bid for that team: $190.
Then, partly because Adam got his 230-pound body going faster than anyone around Harlo had seen before, they won.
Adam grabbed the tether and held on while other lesser-built competitors were getting dragged around the fairgrounds. (One competitor, Festus Miller, forgot he was a milker and grabbed a rope, and looked like he was about to get strangled before he got out; during Friday nights go-round, another competitor suffered a leg fracture, and another got a gash on his forehead to match Festus.)
At any rate, Fred Dale managed to frantically milk the mandated amount, then sprinted for the finish. Each team member won a little over $100; Bob Jones take was $404.
I dug in my pocket and looked at my Wolf winnings.
The day was still a success.