BY BRAM BESSOFF // AJT /
From the tee of the first hole you can’t see the flag due to a mesa that holds one of those gigantic electrical towers. You can’t step to your left to look around the bend because of the sheer cliff upwards and the score card doesn’t include a map, so you just have to swing away.
It gets better; our Chaverim guys’ night out is landfill golf.
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The second hole is right in the middle of a Canadian geese breeding ground and it seems to be molting season. The down that litters the fairway makes it impossible to find your ball, and the green is covered with so much goose poop it actually cost me strokes.
We start talking about temple life and get into a conversation about saving up for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and this new current trend of using Havdalah services to help cut the costs of extravagant full day into evening events that usually require second mortgages on your home.
A Havdalah service comes complete with Torah and Haftorah and then straight to party time in the social hall. It all sounds appealing for the budget conscious. But there is not a lot of time to talk on an executive course; the holes are super short, but super challenging.
Hole four has a huge ravine on the right hand side and one of our Chaverim members has a wicked hook; he’s already down a half dozen balls.
Who would’ve guessed half price golf meant half-charged carts, but when we started to ascend the wall of the landfill we were quickly playing the little golf cart that could, that became the little golf cart that couldn’t. So we abandoned them half and walked the next hole until they brought us new carts.
We were clearly on the plateau of the landfill now and things were starting to look more like golf if you ignored the matrix of electrical and cell towers that covered the skyline.
The holes just kept getting better. Remind you, the course is super tight, signage is poor and it’s really easy to start aiming for the wrong hole. On the backside of the landfill there is a tight chasm between its wall and the edge of the forest that is the fairway for the next hole. None of us hit the green and none of us found our ball.
On the back nine the electrical towers start to play a factor in the game and the guide wires holding up the cell towers might get in the way of a backswing. Has it been proven that landfills harden dirt? Can’t tell you how many tees we lost before even taking a swing.
The only way to describe the whole affair was Janky, and I mean that in a great way. The fences alongside the cart path were made of three different kinds of wood, painted in three different colors – a classic sign of impaired or extreme golf cart driving.
In some places the course’s management got too lazy and stopped replacing the railing all together. There was no worry for golf etiquette here: wear what you want, talk as loud as you want, drink and smoke as much as you can, and when done, leave your cart a mess.
Rest assured, there are no course marshals here to hassle you or keep the pace, and it all comes at a very affordable price of less than thirty bucks. I even changed my pants in the parking lot.
There is no better way to end a round of Janky golf than hitting the local dive bar for beers, wings and burgers while sharing a few life moments with a little Jewish perspective. One of our members just had a baby girl. He’s in no rush to go anywhere, so we strategically space out our orders just long enough to hopefully extend the evening festivities past the kids’ bedtime and make the most of this not-too-often moment of being out with the guys.
We started discussing this year’s High Holiday services and how most of us with kids too old for the youth service were not letting them get out of their rite of passage of enduring the full adult service. It can be a very rough few hours for most kids when they finally get to experience temple through their parent’s eyes.
To see the look on their faces when they get to leave the sanctuary before the Rabbi’s sermon will be priceless. Seems wrong to be discussing this over bacon cheese burgers, but Reform Judaism requires a special balance of observing certain customs and rituals.
For me, it’s mostly about the cultural outlook on life, family traditions and the personal choice in how much you want Judaism to be a part of your life that makes it great to be a Jew. Besides, it was now post Shabbat.
My kids are back to school.
We had an eventful end to our last summer weekend with a quick stop off at Walmart for last minute school supplies and lunches when we walked out to a full on car-b-que in the parking lot. I have it all documented, including highlights from landfill golf, on twitter. Simply search for #initforthemoment to check out photos while I’m off to find another adventure worthy of writing about.
About the writer
Bram is a drummer and musician; you can see him sitting in with friends and artists all over the Atlanta area or catch him during one of his elusive Soup reunion shows. When not on stage, Bram sits on the board of directors as VP for The Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, and helps indie and DIY artists chart on Billboard through his company Indiehitmaker. A husband and father of two young daughters, the family enjoys traveling, live music, movies and anything that can be categorized as a life changing moment. Follow Bram’s experiences on, off and backstage @bram_rocks. Interact with him at #InItForTheMoment and share thoughts, comments and ideas about this column.