When All Else Fails…Just Try to Look Cool

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

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This past week, I was getting prepared to play in one of our Sectional Championships. What that now means is making sure you have the correct amount of clubs in the bag after you make sure you have the correct bag. Well, I had gone through the process of elimination in picking out a set, did the lottery to determine the three putters making the trip (I should change that to two as three does have a connotation of three putting). 

I had the bag ready to place into the vehicle when I slipped slightly and lost my balance. It was truly the classic slow motion fall where everything around me went super slow motion. The left leg buckling unable to support my 15 stone 8, or as we know it 218 pounds. The bag now tipped at an angle towards the ground started to spill its guts. First to come out was that traitorous 60 degree wedge AKA slim shanky. It bounced once just to prove to me it could actually get something into the air. The mid irons followed like a bunch of rats off a ship. They at least had the courtesy not to bounce. I have been using a long putter now and due to the length of the shaft it got caught with the driver and wood shafts and they protruded from the mouth of the bag like broken Christmas tree limbs. 

Being way too cool to ever zip up the pockets of my bag, the balls I had labored to mark now made the jailbreak down our driveway. Did I mention our driveway is on an incline? Of course…it had to be this way as a half dozen new balls all followed each other down the driveway and towards the storm drain. It’s the same feeling we get when a shot starts to drift towards a pond. $35 in balls and another $60 from the city for a no-permit drop. 

By now the bag had entirely taken control of the position on top and I came to rest with the bottom of the bag on the driveway and the clubs trying to come out the mouth of the bag, now also resting on the driveway on the other side of me. My umbrella came to rest on my throat like the best MMA choke hold. 

About this time our neighbor’s daughter came driving by and rolls down her window and asks, “Are you OK mister?”

My bride during this time had been watering the plants in the front yard, and had seen the entire show and was bent over double laughing. At the question by the neighbors’ daughter, she put laughter into a higher gear now dropping to her knees and laughing more. 

All I can tell you is that it’s hard to look cool when your bride is laughing at you while under a golf bag with clubs holding you hostage and the jail break golf balls happily making direct hits into the storm drain. 

Yes I am fine, I answered, just trying to determine how sturdy this bag is during a fall. I saw water shooting in the air as my bride now was rolling on the ground laughing at me. It’s hard to look cool when everyone is laughing at you, but maybe…just maybe… cool is bringing laughter.


Tom Velarde is the Manager at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email tvelarde@blackmesagolfclub.com.