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Dad and I were standing on the tee box of the 18th hole. Our round at the iconic Old Course in Half Moon Bay, Calif., was drawing to a close, as this was our final hole of the day. The scene was absolutely screen-saver/Successory? worthy: The wind gently blew a mist off the Pacific Ocean and the hundreds of indigenous shrubs made a peaceful shrubbing sound. Half Moon Bay is indeed one of the prettiest golf courses in America, and Dad and I made this father-son trip to Northern California to bond while playing this storied course. But by hole 18, Dad and the two other random guys in our foursome were ready to call it a day.

Not because they were tired, mind you. Nor because they were in a hurry to beat the traffic. No, Dad and the two random guys were ready to head to the bar because of me. I am such a bad golfer that my game can ruin a round for everyone. At Half Moon Bay, it did.

So come hole 18, a Zen-like calm settled over our foursome. Dad and the randoms stood on the tee box and soaked in the sights of Half Moon Bay while the waves crashed on the rocks on the beach below. It was a peaceful moment of reflection to be sure, but I knew what was really going on: They were judging me. When one of the randoms said, “It sure is a spectacular view” to my dad, my ears could actually hear what he was really trying to say: “Hey, Howard, your son couldn’t find the green if it were decorated with road flares and if he had a Magellan eXplorist 710 GPS.”

“How dare he!” I thought, shooting him a dirty look. So what if I wasn’t as good a golfer as these other guys? I was trying my best, and the Old Course in Half Moon Bay ain’t exactly putt-putt at Golf N’ Stuff. What to do? I thought about responding with a zinger of my own: “Look, pal, I might not be able to find the green, but those fescue roughs over there look better than that rough of a toupee you’re rocking.”

Nah, that would cast a pall over the rest of the day, and I was so looking forward to the 19th hole drinkfest at Mullins Bar & Grill. I decided to make lemonade out of these two random lemons — and a sweater out of the one’s toupee — by deferring to the old reliable of golfing mood changers.

“Hey, guys,” I began. They all broke their stare and looked at me. “In one physical model of the universe, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, in the opposite direction.” Belly laughs all around. Then the random I just know was talking about me in his head chimed in.

“The Zen philosopher Basho once wrote, ‘A flute with no holes is not a flute. A donut with no hole is a Danish.’ ”

Needless to say, the mood at Mullins after our round was friendly, and we recited many more Caddyshack quotes. So when the editors decided that this would be our first-ever golf-themed issue of American Way, there was only one absolute must-have to make the issue complete: Chevy Chase in 2011, dressed as none other than Ty Webb, perhaps his seminal Hollywood role. And what’s funnier than Chevy Chase/Ty Webb on the cover of American Way? Perhaps the fact that the most recognizable character in the history of golf movies doesn’t play golf in real life (page 34).

But everything else in this issue serves all your golfing needs, from the best courses to the best products to the best players to the best golf movie. You don’t have to be good — or even be a golfer — to appreciate this issue, just as I didn’t have to be good to appreciate a round with Dad at Half Moon Bay. Because as Ty Webb once said: “There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen, and all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen and be the ball.”

To which I’d add: “Don’t sell yourself short, Random. You’re a tremendous slouch.”

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Adam Pitluk
Editor