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David Owen
who says rainy days are bad for golf?

EVERYONE AGREES YOU can't change the weather by worrying about it. Shouldn't it follow, then, that you can change the weather by not worrying about it? I tested this concept a couple Saturdays ago. The sky was growing dark, so, in the hope of diverting the approaching storm, I purposely didn't check The Weather Channel or become agitated before heading to the course. Well, it didn't work. As Hacker (real name), Ray, Tony and I were getting ready to tee off, Fran, our pro, came out of the golf shop and said, "When I blow the horn, come straight in. There's a huge cell heading for us." The thunder began as we were putting out on 5, and moderately heavy rain was falling by the time we got back to the clubhouse. Ray went inside to estimate how quickly the angry green-and-orange amoeba was moving across the radar screen.

"About an hour," he told us. Hacker keeps a deck of cards in his glove compartment, so we sat at a table on the clubhouse porch and played setback while water over-flowed the gutters. In setback, which is also known as auction pitch, each player is dealt six cards, three cards at a time, and there's a round of highly psychological bidding, during which you estimate how many points you think you're going to win, based on things such as whether or not you hold a certain jack. There's a trump suit and several hard-to-remember rules, and you try to screw up your opponents in ways that, for some reason, seem highly golf-like. I used to belong to a club where the old guys played setback all winter. The pro would knock on the card-room door in early April, to let them know it was spring.

David Owen

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