As I navigating the rain-slicked roads of northeast San Diego, 91X morning show host Chris Cantore gave the play-by-play from my destination. While Turkish villagers shudder at the thought of U.S. ammo hurling overhead, Clint "The Morning Show Tool" August was enduring a safer sort of assault. Radio listeners were taking turns trying to peg The Tool-who was dressed in a full-body gofer costume-with range balls.
He managed to dodge every club-driven missile, but then Cantore issued the orders for a more effective frontal. "OK, just throw them at him!" he cajoled, and 50 post-teenagers rushed August, one ball eventually landing its bruising mark.
The prize for nailing a Clear Channel gofer with a golf ball? A Nintendo game system.
Hall of Fame baseball player George Brett once said after a round of golf: "I was three over. One over a house, one over a patio, and one over a swimming pool."
I thought of this later that afternoon as my partner's drive took a sharp, meaningful right turn on the third hole of San Pasqual's Eagle Crest Golf Course. The explosion that followed could only have been a golf ball having its 80mph-flight interrupted by the hollow plastic of a child's playhouse (I know, I've hit one before). Two holes later it would be the resonant yet muffled thud of stucco. A tile roof produced a weak, unsteady ruckus.
Four holes ahead, Green Day's drummer Tre Cool manned the controls of a mechanical bull-which was set up on a tee box-, manipulating the plastic stud just right so that the breasts of 91X morning show co-host Jennifer Sheek sprang free from what Cool saw as their wrongful imprisonment. The radio station's fresh-faced interns grinned with admiration.
Elsewhere, former Long Beach Dub Allstars member Opie Ortiz was bleeding-as was Sprung Monkey's vocalist Steve Summers. It's estimated that 10,000 people die from golf cart accidents every year, but Summers and Ortiz escaped with relatively minor boo-boos when their carts did el rollos.
"If you came here to play golf, you came for the wrong reason," explained Brian Shock, 91X program director and notorious karaoke junkie. This was, after all, the station's second annual Punk Rock Pro Am, an ambitious golf tournament/bourgeois hijacking that pairs the members of bands like Green Day, Social Distortion, Lit, Kottonmouth Kings, Stretcher and Slightly Stoopid with radio jockeys, friends of the
station and a large handful of lucky listeners.
If punk actually existed in its undiluted form in the year 2003, the two activities couldn't have been more bipolar. Punk was the anarchy of the art brute underclass. Golf is the liturgy of the rich-hand-shaking, deal-making leisure activity for men with Mercedes whose trophy wives run their freshly manicured nails down the hairy chest of pool boys as their husbands putt for bogeys.
But of course, punk is little more than a marketing slogan nowadays. I'd like to say that Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt (who, no shit, can hit a Happy Gilmore-esque running tee shot straight and far) mutilated greens as a form of class protest. But he carefully fixed his divot and prepared for a birdie putt.
"I had my own golf cart before I was 10," boasted a member of the Kottonmouth Kings entourage. Apparently, he'd nearly turned pro.
One of the rock stars billed for an appearance was No Doubt bassist Adrian Young, although both he and Tommy Lee were no-shows (a burger cook did, however, don an enormous rubber phallus in honor of the latter).
Two years ago, Young was a principal investor in Schwing!, a punk rock golf magazine he ran with The Vandals' Joe Escalante. Schwing! banked on the fact that, according to the National Golf Foundation, there are approximately 27 million golfers in the United States, 2.4 million of which are between the ages of 12 and 17. Schwing! catered to that cadre of youth, interviewing golf-playing stars like Primus, The Offspring and Playboy bunnies. It was novel, at best, but the mag was a sign that not only does Alternative Nation have spikes through their septa-they've got them on the bottom of their shoes as well.
There's even a Danvers, Mass. band named The Divots, who bill themselves as "the world's only alternative-folk-rock-country-pop-blues-punk-golf band!" Their songs include "Worm Burner," "The Golf Punk" and "Driver," although Stretcher's vocalist Mario Israel-another cart-wreck casualty-would've best related to their smash single, "Crashing Golf Carts."
Every hole at the Pro Am was sponsored. Sector Nine Skateboards awarded free skate decks on a par-three to whomever could land their tee shot within twelve feet of the hole. But mostly, their noxious, kilt-and beret-wearing mascot launched balls in the opposite direction towards the clubhouse, as shell-shocked employees nervously scampered.
Green Divas, a coterie of fun-loving housewives who create custom golf equipment with flair (ball markers were labia-pink "G-spots," etc.), hosted a ring-the-bell-with-the-big-hammer contest. Since I had enlisted a Fox camera crew for the day, the housewives mistook me for Tre Cool (so close to "Troy, cool.") and invited me to flirtatiously autograph every one of their "Big Woody" t-shirts squarely across the breasts. After I marred their attire with the signature of a local TV show host (which has an anemic market value), one wife whispered conspiratorially to another, and they quickly lost interest in my penmanship.
In the end, 91X's concept is ingenious: combine rock star debauchery with the stuffiest "sport" (term debatable) on earth. At one hole, a dancer of the lap variety showed us her flame-embroidered panties, cooing in sexual doggerel, "I've got a world-class ass." A massage therapist who could've passed for a rolling rave chick not only worked out our knots, but served us beer, Jaegermiester-like shooters and lit our cigarettes while her Chihahua huddled in its own feather boa nearby.
Years of decorum came crumbling down in a single afternoon. Not only was the Great Golf Course raped by wanton pranksterism, but the whole sacred idea of the reserved, polite and well-mannered golfer-one of the last non-religious role models for young, developing bourgeois teens-took a member of Green Day, a flipped golf cart and a quart of beer in the cornhole. It was like a keg party in the opera house, and though off duty cops were present, Pavarotti wasn't even invited.
A slight rain was the only thing tempering the bacchanalia (and probably the only reason Eagle Crest is still standing). For instance, the most talked-about hole among the largely male participants was a secluded tee box on the north end of the course where-reportedly-strippers poised above dunk tanks. When we arrived late in the day, however, there was nothing but a deserted tank and a table littered with empty energy drink cans and candy wrappers. Apparently, nudity sucks in the rain.
One lone participant later ballyhooed the Pro Am due to such weather-induced shortfalls. But as the sun set, a few soused golfers sat around as Mike Dirnt eased into the bassline of "Longview," which led into a mild jam session with a local band hired to play the event.
And no matter one's opinion of bullriding peep shows, G-spot hawking housewives and free beer, the cause of it all would've brought a tear to the eye of City Council member Donna Frye: money raised went to the Surfrider Foundation. So Tre Cool saw boobs, radio listeners saw Tre Cool, and, hopefully, one less local will give up surf for golf because our shitters are flushing into his shore break.