A few miles shy of the Arctic Circle, we notice a spot at the side of the road where we park the RV and look out at the tundra. The landscape is beautifully bleak, mouse brown and dusty as kitty litter. Even a man with exceptional peripheral vision can’t take in the vista without turning his head several times. If the air wasn’t air you could breathe, you would think this land was land on a different planet.
Jim notices a patch of snow and begins making snowballs. Dan looks around for rocks to set up two tee markers at a ledge that looks out on the endless earth. I search for the clubs in the belly of the RV as a scraggly red fox, perhaps looking for scraps, stares me down from about 30 yards away – a distance I’d putt even if I was still on the fairway. Martin risks getting close to the beast and feeding him Garrett’s Popcorn.
The sun is high, like you see in Texas. The ribbon of road we’d unraveled parts the landscape like a snake on cement. You can see a convoy of trucks – maybe two, maybe three – in the distance. They look like toys and the dust that they raise looks like cotton.
Dan is the first to hit. His slice moves to the right and his ball flies about 250 yards. Yet, it looks like it’s been launched into space. Jim takes his place on the tee and swings clumsily, whiffing entirely. Sparks fly from the ground in which he’s pounded his tee but the ball doesn’t even quiver. “If I wasn’t afraid of going over the cliff, maybe I’d be able to hit it,” he says.
Martin slides down the steep precipice and takes a position directly in front of us. He wants us to hit while he films from below and we tell him a low shot could kill him. Unafraid for the first time this trip that something bad may occur, Dan elects to cooperate. He skulls one that sails past our director’s head like a bullet shot from a gun. I ask if the camera’s okay.
That shot done, I produce the idea to tee my ball up on the Dempster. We find a rubber-tipped mallet and pound a tee in the road. It won’t go into the ground firmly, but I settle on using it anyway – we, with our thoughts that the trip’s almost ended, and the ball, teetering on the crown of a small wooden peg, now the cast in a beautiful balancing act. It is do or die for the Titleist.
My club travels in a confident arc. The Cobra’s head meets the face of the Pro-V1 square in the center. I pure it. Upward and onward, the ball seeks a path like a rocket on sonar – straight as can be, covering the brittle, cool air hovering over the hard gravel highway with the heat of a missile. It bounces once, bounces twice and bounces and bounces until you can no longer see it. For all I know, it’s still bouncing.
Till Next Time,
Tags: Our Longest Drive
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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