Chip Shots

“Wish You Were With Me When . . .”

It’s hard to believe the U.S. Open has come and gone and now we have to wait for 2026 to roll around when, once again, Shinnecock will be the center of the golf universe and certainly the center of my golf universe.

Thanks to the Independent, this week I can share with you some wonderful things that took place on my journey through life which I have titled “Wish You Were With Me When . . .”

This week, I’m sharing two of the many unusual happenings that always seem to come my way . . .

I was in Las Vegas many years ago on a honeymoon, and a mutual friend asked me to stop by the Desert Inn Golf Club and say hello to the pro. During that conversation, I was asked if I wanted to play 18 holes later that day. Of course, I said yes, jumped at the chance, and, boy, was I glad I did.

I showed up at the designated time and was greeted by the club pro, who guided me to the putting green to meet the rest of our group. You can imagine my surprise when I was introduced to the one and only Dean Martin and his assistant. Dean asked me what I was doing in town and I replied, “I’m here on my honeymoon.” Dean came back with a quick-witted reply, “Do you take a bucket of sand with you when you go to the beach, too?”

I then introduced my wife to Dean at which point he said, “Come on . . . you can ride with me in my golf cart!” The excitement of the honeymoon was rapidly replaced by the thrill of spending the afternoon riding in the golf cart with Dean Martin. The marriage didn’t last, but I can’t blame Vegas for that. In fact, two more times I went to Vegas on honeymoons and sadly, with the same results.

Another tale under the headline of “Wish You Were Here With Me When . . .” involves a dream trip that unfortunately can no longer be duplicated.

I was in Venice, Italy, preparing to take the Orient Express to London. The train was set to leave the Venice station at 5 PM local time. Somehow, some way, I miscalculated the time and arrived at the station five minutes after the train departed. The next stop for the train was Milan about 260 kilometers away. I had to catch up with the train, so I frantically began trying to figure out how to get there.

With directions in hand, I began sprinting towards the taxi stand when things took a turn for the worse. I kept saying, “Milano” while the driver responded by saying, “No Milano.” Finally, someone stopped by to let me now that I was at a water taxi stand used to travel the canals of Venice! Finally, I found a land taxi that agreed to take me to Milan for $200, which was a lot of money to me at the time, but I made it.

Once on the train again, I was required to get dressed in my tuxedo for dinner, which was another experience in itself. I can only say Orient Express produced quite a memorable trip and I did make it to London.

After a short overnight stay in London, I was booked on the Concord for my trip back to the U.S. After reaching cruising the altitude of 76,000 feet, I was lucky enough to be asked if I wanted to go into the cockpit. Obviously, this was well before the horrible things that happened on September 11, 2001.

As I entered the cockpit, the view was unbelievable and certainly unimaginable. I could see the curvature of the Earth! Just incredible! And the really crazy part was that, technically, I landed before I took off. Since the Concord flew at the speed of sound, that combined with the time difference meant that I got back to New York before I took off. An unreal experience. Unfortunately, those days are gone as the Concord no longer flies.

So now you know why times and experiences like that truly make me feel that I “Wish You Were Here With Me When . . .”