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Drinking has long been a cornerstone of any gentlemanly game of golf, and on this Friday afternoon we had decided to take our buzz from hand grenade to nuclear bomb. It was time for a birdie binge. Now, for those of you who have not experienced nor even heard of the binge, it is singlehandedly the most diabolical weapon of mass drunkenness ever invented on the links.
In summary, the binge is a manner of rewarding the Shooter McGavins of the world with the power and respect that their life of swing coaches and country club memberships have afforded them (us) while punishing the ineptitude and misfortune of others. In other words, it’s a TFM. The BB works like this: all players agree prior to the beginning of each respective hole to participate, meaning the binge can occur as often, or infrequently, as the group desires.
After all members have agreed, the hole essentially becomes a skins game, but with far more on the line than just cash. If a player makes a birdie on the hole in question, that player then has the power to command one rival player to consume as many shots as the par of the hole AND the amount of strokes that individual player took to complete it. I’ve witnessed a 12 pull penalty; shit got ugly (more on that later).
The only way out of this drunken predicament is through cash, to the tune of 20 dollars per shot. Don’t want 12 shots? That will be $240 to the winner of the binge. Your call, hero. As you can imagine, things can get a little out of hand.
So this past weekend we make our traditional “start the weekend right” pilgrimage to the country club and begin the festivities. We’re about to make the turn when Jake pulls out a fresh fifth of Crown and declares the par 5 8th our first BB of the round. With varying levels of reluctance, we all agree to participate, and the Birdie Binge is born.
While I don’t know what it’s like to pull a Spieth at Augusta, I do know the pressure of alcohol-based hospitalization and/or financial peril is enough to give a man a case of the yips, so I took another shot at my own volition in the interest of sanity, and piped one down the middle (not sexual).
By the time we made it to the green, both Matt and I had a legitimate shot at birdie. I was in the greenside bunker in two and him about 85 yards back. Jake had made a sloppy drunken bukkake-level mess of the hole, lying six on the back fringe with a ridge wider than Whitney Cummings’ forehead to contend with.
Matt sticks a low-spinning wedge, dragging it back to about six feet. The entire group starts shaking like Michael J. Fox on cocaine. I hit out to about fifteen feet, which, with my putting might, is about as money as Shaq is from behind the three-point line. Matt is six feet from the possible death of Jake as he skulls a sixty degree across the green and into the short rough. This is more painful than watching an SMU football game after an 110 degree “Boulevard.”
Jake ends up making a nice little snowman, leaving him more exposed than Jennifer Lawrence during “The Fappening.” I make par, horribly missing my birdie as expected. Mark makes bogey, leaving just Matt and his chance at consensual alcohol-based murder alive. Matt stands over his putt, and at this point even I’m hoping he misses for the sake of Jake. I then remember Jake is a condescending taint we invite solely for his gambling addiction and total athletic ineptitude and suddenly stop caring.
Matt drains it through the side door and begins to ride his putter like a pony before tossing the bottle at our beleaguered fellow golfer.
“Let’s see it, fucker. I counted eight strokes on a par five. You owe me thirteen shots, big boy.”
Jake proceeds to buy his way out of three, a Venmo transaction he labels “cum eating.” Fuck, I hate him. Anyway, he proceeds to claim “ten shots isn’t shit. I did like thirty at Ultra this year.” Like I said, he’s the worst.
He slams the shots, let’s out a Johnny Drama “VICTORY!” and we move on. To our amazement he is essentially fine as we make the turn, making par at the par four tenth and claiming he has “a higher tolerance than all of (us) combined.”
On the tee box of eleven, like a bad batch of shrooms, it all hit him at once, prompting his best Linda Blair Exorcist impression and a bevy of moans in between dry heaves and possible tears. The Binge had came, saw, and now conquered.
“Jake, take it easy man.” He stands abruptly, staying true to his tryhard ways even in the face of near alcohol poisoning. “I’m fucking fine, man. Just had to get it out. I’m not a pussy.” Ok guy, whatever you say. He walks to his cart.
“I’m going to go in though I’ve got shit to do.” He’s clearly ill. Jake jumps in his cart and begins a zig-zagged pursuit of the clubhouse; seemingly lost on the course we’ve belonged to for decades.
With him gone, the rest of us could go back to enjoying our round and responsibly escalating buzz. Until, of course, we got to number fourteen. On the elevated tee box, we saw what looked like a wayward cart off at the base of the right rough, just above the tree line. Immediately, I knew it was our navigationally-challenged friend.
We approached to find his cart half submerged in about a five-foot wide creek running along the tree line. Jake was passed out with his head on the steering wheel.
“Jake, man you good?” He springs to life.
“Yeah, yeah I’m fine. I just found the pool I guess.”
While none of us had any interest in going near the creek itself, we naturally called Remedial Ron, one of the groundskeepers most “special” to us and understanding of our regular mishaps. Ron, having dealt with my father’s antics long ago, understood the travesty that is both of our genetic conditions, met us with a tow attachment on his Gator.
“Jake, you’re going to be good. Just hang on.” Ron accelerates away from the creek spraying an awesome wave of mud and goose shit all over the cart, and the now very much awake Jake. Whether due to his condition or not we cannot be sure, but Ron laughed uncontrollably while towing the shit-covered, inebriated, now former club member all the way back to the clubhouse.
“Ok, so I guess we need a new fourth” Matt said. “And I’m calling Birdie Binge on fifteen.”.