Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Case of the misplaced head cover

I hate to lose stuff. Just as passionately, I hate to misplace stuff. I seem to be doing that more and more often since I turned 40.

Because they impose an added burden, I also tend to set things down rather than carry them around.

Later, I can’t remember where the things are that I set down.

I also hate to have things misappropriated from me. You will note I did not use the malodorous word "stolen," because I would never accuse anyone of stealing something from me if that person had merely borrowed the item for temporary use, or intended to use it but didn’t return it in a timely manner.

Here’s the point. Last year in the Crossroads golf outing, I was hitting the ball off the tee with the usual unsatisfactory results. It’s not that my expectations are all that high. It’s just that I would like to hit the ball a little bit farther, thank you very much.

"Here," said Tim Wright, one of my playing partners. "Try my new driver."

It was a TaylorMade "Blazer," one of those oversized deals that virtually hits the ball by itself. All you have to do is swing it in the general direction of the ball, stand back and admire the results.

It worked so well that day that I told the lady of the house about it and she was so kind as to buy me one of my very own for my birthday.

At a subsequent outing, I let Ken Iwashita use the Blazer and he liked it so much that he went out and got one of his own. But I digress.

As you might expect, the TaylorMade clubs have distinctive head covers. That is critical to the rest of the story.

On Monday I drove out to Quail Hollow for the 2011 edition of the Crossroads outing, dropped off my clubs, parked my car and went inside for lunch. On the way in to the clubhouse I stopped and checked my clubs on the cart. They were intact.

Tim and I were playing partners again that day, in the same foursome with Ken Gamiere and his cousin, Ron. I have been playing with Kenny for many years, and met Ron for the first time. He is a native of Wickliffe, is a retired Border Patrol agent, and can really hit the ball.

We came out after lunch about an hour later, I went over to the cart, and something seemed strangely out of place.

I didn’t see the distinctive head cover of my TaylorMade driver. It was inexplicably missing. But there was another club in its place. It had the equally distinctive head over of an oversized Calloway driver.

"What’s going on here?" or words of similar import, I muttered.

I removed the club from the bag, stripped off the cover, and reposing inside was my own TaylorMade driver.

That was really weird! My own club was in place, but someone had taken the head cover from it and replaced it with a Calloway head cover.

Think about it. Screwy things like that don’t just happen. Some living entity had made that switch. I mean, golf clubs, well-intentioned though they may be, don’t just change their own head covers.

There was no way I could figure out what had happened, or even make a reasonable guess at what might have happened.

One theory, put forth by others, was that some golfer wanted to try out my TaylorMade driver, took it over to the driving range, and when he conscientiously returned it, put the wrong head cover on it.

But where would he have gotten the Calloway head cover?

The entire scenario was perplexing and made no sense.

As we drove back after playing the final hole, we stopped at the stand where clubs are dropped off and I inquired if anyone had left a TaylorMade head cover.

As you might guess, no one had.

Following the dinner and the awarding of the vast array of prizes, I made a public service announcement over the microphone explaining my predicament — to no avail.

On Tuesday I called the pro shop to inquire whether my head cover had been returned. You guessed it! It had not.

I called Jennifer Karlstrom, the lady at Crossroads who runs the golf outing (and whose husband, Olle, is the golf pro at Quail Hollow.) She was aware of the problem, and promised to keep a lookout for the cover.

And that is where the matter stands at the moment.

I mean, I could have kept the Calloway cover through the legal device known as adverse possession. But anyone who would play golf with a TaylorMade club zipped out of a Calloway cover might wear socks that don’t match.

I’ll have to check my socks.

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