After scanning potential jobs on Craig's List and contacting yet another bankruptcy attorney (this one should work out, it seems), I played The Lakes, since I have only a few more days before my all-the-golf-you-can-play-for-50-bucks deal ends, and I was matched with a father and his eight-year-old son.
Everything was fine until the fourth hole, when the son had to be ushered off the red tees by the group in front of us who were still playing the whites. The bizarre part about that was that the father was standing at the reds, too.
When it was our turn, after the boy hit, he proceeded to walk down the fairway towards his ball. His father had yet to hit, but proceeded to do so, as his son walked down the fairway, his back to his dad. This was really creepy, but not as off-putting as what came next: Since there was no chance that I was placing a ball on a tee so that I could hit it with a three wood while an eight-year-old was standing 110 yards in front of me, I motioned to the father and son to move to the right, out of the way, behind the high reeds, which still wouldn't have been safe enough for me to feel comfortable as I addressed my ball. They moved about eight feet to the right, then the boy sat down in the middle of the fairway, next to where his father stood. I was dumbfounded, wondering how the hell this father could instruct his son not to step in other people's lines on the green and get angry at him for mis-reading putts but fail to inform the kid that it isn't fucking safe to stand in any fairway, especially not on a course on which nearly everyone is notably unskilled at the sport.
I thought, "Okay, it's not likely that I'm going to hit a stinger that hits and kills the kid, but it damned sure is possible, and with the way things have been going in my life of late, even the impossible has become manifest, so should I just pick up my ball and walk towards them, or can I muster the concentration and summon the requisite ability to hit a solid three wood over their heads?" The answer to the latter was "barely." I hit so far behind the ball (while trying to "stay left" at all costs) that my thudded three wood stayed left of where they were eerily creating a human hazard but only went about 180 yards. But I didn't kill anyone ... and I've found that that result generally enhances any round.
The irony is that when I went around again, I hit a horrible shot from that same tee box, a shot that scooted right, on a stinger trajectory, a worm-burner that likely would have brained the kid had he still been sitting there. It was by far the worst shot I've hit on that hole, and likely on that course, and I wonder if psychologically I was simply proving that my concerns about the kid sitting there had been justified.
It's worth mulling over. Of course, to have been perfectly safe, all I really had to do was try to hit the kid.