Two Latter-Day Saint missionaries brought the youth from their church to the miniature golf course and driving range, between Janesville and Beloit, which my partner, Cliff O’Beirne, and I had built and now operated.

Male LDS missionaries, at the time, were called by the honorary title Brother. We charged the usual fee at first, but as we got to know and like them, we didn’t charge if they came before other customers arrived. Brother Peterson was tall, serious, and friendly but a rather quiet lad, whereas Brother Tauscher was short, chubby, and gregarious. He had a great sense of humor, the kind of guy my equally gregarious partner enjoyed.

It wasn’t long before Cliff and Brother Tauscher were going at each other with their practical jokes and witticisms. If I remember correctly, they were evenly matched until one day when Brother Tauscher and Brother Peterson brought their youngsters to the course.

They’d finished their play when customer cars started rolling into our parking lot. The miniature golf course soon filled, but the driving range was empty. Neither of the Brothers had driven golf balls up to that time. Brother Tauscher decided to try, so he filled a basket with balls, grabbed a club, and headed toward the range. I could see a broad smile emerge across Cliff’s face as Brother Tauscher set his ball on the tee.

 

After a couple of swings, it was apparent that Brother Tauscher wasn’t a golfer. I think he missed on the first swing and topped the ball on the second. He had just set another ball on the tee when Cliff picked up our course’s microphone and announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to the driving range.”

Apparently, Brother Tauscher, intent on his next swing, didn’t hear the announcement. But the customers did. Most stopped what they were doing and looked toward the range. Still, Brother Tauscher must not have noticed this attention because he started his backswing just as Cliff continued his announcement, “Notice our pro’s form and execution as he takes his practice swings. He’ll be doing an exhibition for customers this evening, so you might want to return.”

Whether Brother Tauscher heard this last announcement or whether he noticed the attention from his audience, I can never know. But his swing ended with the club flying farther than the ball. The crowd cheered and clapped as this mortified “golf pro” slinked off the tee and back toward the clubhouse.

Although I’m sure Cliff never doubted it, he probably took satisfaction in, once again, proving to be the top dog. Ever since, though, I’ve wondered if Brother Tauscher ever swung another golf club.

If you like this you'll love the O'Shaughnessy Chronicles!

When a sibling unexpectedly inherits his grandfather’s dairy farm, Will O’Shaughnessy turns to selling Fords in rural, pre-World War I southwestern Wisconsin.

A richly wistful epic tale of a bygone era....Readers will yearn for more. ~ Midwest Book Review