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Noel Freeman

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The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez New
« on: July 27, 2011, 03:14:49 PM »
This will be my last ever thread on Deal.  A thread and day I do not take lightly but I had too much back and forth on being a Deal homer recently and besides I do not want to be a hack in my writings or my views and that is the real reason I do this final thread.  I defer to Steven Pressfield here:

The hack condescends to his audience. He thinks he's superior to them. The truth is, he's scared to death of them... scared of being authentic in front of them... He's afraid it won't sell.

Therefore, I have to leave it to my alter ego Tuco Ramirez to be the last word I have on Deal.  As an avatar, Tuco is perfect except for the fact that he is a bit garish and all- I mean who wears a sombrero in the 21st century.  He’s not very sophisticated but the man can dissect a golf course down and he is a bit upset that people don’t see the subtleties and beauty of Deal.  Oh sure, let the uninitiated see the great views a Turnberry has or giant dunescape of a Ballybunion, but only the true lover of links gets Deal and besides Tuco is anything but a hack.  He’s as authentic as steel spurs especially in his views and I think he’s out to dispel that Deal ain’t (in his words) Olivia Wilde hot but damn near Natalie Wood classically beautiful.  Given the tragedies of losing Opens to war and high tides, the parallel seems apt.

As usual, Tuco left his diary for me; it is always a treat to let the lunatic out of the cage and read of his adventures.  Thankfully, for an illiterate he writes well phonetically but it is frustrating to read his rotations between first and third person.  Ah Tuco!

From the rantings of Tuco Ramirez.

Ticket sir? Huh? Ticket sir?  Huh? Where are we Tucumcari?  It comes off as a mutter as my drool drops off the window of a train, which has been propping up my head. My mind flashes to that desert oasis in New Mexico where I pillaged 3 banks and then what is that weird accent!?  No sir! -- says the conductor, this is Folkestone station.  Turning my head as my saliva has been condensing on the window; I find a ticket to Deal in my hand.  The conductor satisfied with my ducat leaves like the epitaph of Butler Yeats--this horseman passing by.  But how did I get here?  Hours are missing.  Last, I remember I was stalking the green dragon.  What is that you ask?  Absinthe, that evil green goblin!  After perusing the London bars I became acquainted with this little devil and I’m hooked.

When I got to the bottom of that bottle, I remembered going to play poker at a local casino.  After threatening the dealer with cheating me, I took 500-pound sterling off that table.  Tuco knows Omaha Hold-em after a recent roundup thru Nebraska.  They say it takes “nuts” to win Omaha hold em and Tuco’s cajones were the inspiration behind AC/DC’s Big Balls.  Yet, now I’m on one of these dirty South East UK trains.  And the indignity of being asked for a ticket?  In the old days I used to travel on these trains without paying, sure they were sloppy as a Santa Fe brothel but at least the UK’s inefficiencies allowed Tuco to get off scott-free.   In my fog, a sense of wonder reappears.  9 hours of my life are still missing like a mystery. I’ve got to import some of that absinthe home, makes ayahuasca look like sugarwater.

Then it happens, the sun comes out as the train comes out of a tunnel and I see the huge white cliffs of Dover standing sentinel over the Channel.  The water is an azure blue I’ve not seen since South Padre Island swilling on gin and coeds and the French coast beams in the distance.  I wonder if Matthew Arnold was on a bad peyote trip when he wrote Dover Beach.

Martin Mill, Walmer stations go by and suddenly Tuco is home.  Home at Deal.  Many good nights have been spent here, drinking, karaoke-ing, golfing by day, carousing at night.  Nevertheless, as I dismount off the train, without pistols there is no steed waiting for me.  Blondie ain’t showed up again.  Too busy for Tuco, the days of traveling throughout the UK are over for him.  Paul Turner’s in Japan doing some samurai gig and my old nemesis Angel Eyes is living in Costa Rica.  Tuco is alone again.

So Tuco walks and takes the coastal route to the only club stupid enough to offer him membership—Royal Cinque Ports.  I am very happy to be here Tuco mutters as Deal pier rotates into view.  The sun is shining on my tan skin, I look up and it is an apple pie coloured star just trying to burn the remnants of the absinthe infused buzz out of me.  Looking down, Tuco is now walking on the sea wall that extends from the town of Deal past the course.   The wall needs sweeping, vials litter the concrete, some used beer bottles, it is quaint but then Tuco remembers the words of Daniel Defoe and reminds himself of why he loves this town.

If I had any satire left to write,
Could I with suited spleen indite,
My verse should blast that fatal town,
And drown’d sailors’ widows pull it down;
No footsteps of it should appear,
And ships no more cast anchor there.
The barbarous hated name of Deal shou’d die,
Or be a term of infamy;
And till that’s done, the town will stand
A just reproach to all the land

Now that’s a town I want to party in!  A villainous relic like myself can find a home here. A long time ago, Tuco’s abuelita in Monterrey came clean and told him of the family’s lineage from Anglo Saxons and Jutes.  So Kent was home until a gavelkind dispute resulted in intermingling and a flight to Mexico.  

Finally, the sea wall runs out right where Sandown Castle used to be (destroyed by the sea) and Tuco turns the corner to a view, which affirms that God although he may be an atheist, still exists in the minds of outlaws.

Deal aint pretty eh?  Look at that linksland! Look at that water matey (Tuco’s taking on the lingo)!

But then an infernal sound?  What is it, the horror, the horror?  Oh, it is a flying machine!

Why is it on my sacred land? Tuco finds out the club is allowing this “chopper” to fetch people and take them onto the Godwin sands—a sandbar ships used to run aground 3 miles off shore and then the survivors would wait to be pillaged!  So Tuco tips his sombrero.  And then he walks, remembering that time Blondie left him alone in the desert.  What was it Blondie said, if you save your breath, you may just live long enough to make it out.  Well, critics of Deal, if you play here again, you just might see why this is one of the best links in the world.

My spurs get caught in the tall grass as I head for the clubhouse.  By the 18th I wonder at the low profile green.

Finally, I reach the clubhouse.  And there he stands, regal, the gentleman and historian DD.  Yes, let Tuco sound it out for you—double dee as in a brazier.  Except DD is the man at Deal. Been there 50 years as a member, he knows this course like a rattlesnake suitcase knows kitsch.

DD offers a libation or lunch first but Tuco wants to duel.  So that means he has to get his pistols packing (Taylor Made rentals as UK immigration banned his Colts) and give strokes.  Did I mention DD is a septuagenarian, but one with a full had of hair and great health.  Damn tea toadlers the Brits!  So how many strokes- Well I use the Ran Rule.  The most shameless yella bellied man in North Carolina always asks for three more than he needs, but Tuco is wise to that game and now offers DD 9 shots.  DD accepts and the game is afoot.  Yet absinthe has the last word because Tuco is hooking more than the gals at that shack outside LaGrange—Ya know what I’m talking about, have mercy!

However, DD has no mercy even as Tuco bludgeons the third hole with driver/8 iron to…

Tap in birdie lights fire in Tuco’s belly.  Is Deal not beautiful? How about this view?  Oh, that blue little body of water, the North Sea. Deal has no sea views? Surely, you jest Tuco.. However, Tuco has more to spout as DD asks him to play the new sea wall tees in the match, which is like stalking that green goblin bottle of absinthe all over again.

A majestic, pomp and circumstance drive at the 6th which Tuco believes has driven the green sadly has shown the perils of Viagraesque thinking.  Approaching the green after taking the walking route over the giant dune protecting this short par 4 and a bevy of Belgian members with low-grade ball spotting skills tell Tuco his ball is in the rough.  But that ball is a Nike, and Tuco is a Titleist man who then sees his orb right at the base of the pulpit green, there is no eagle putt today.  Sadly, Tuco is short or facing major drive shrinkage due to old age and pistol whippings from one of the misuses he keeps.  A chili dipped half wedge allows the door open for DD as he goes three up and Tuco ascends purgatory (or simply the sea wall) to the new tee on Deal #7.

Hmm, that hole is a long way back now gents, tisn’t it?  And what is that walkers? Good for aiming!  But that water again, another sea view.  That thin white strip, the white cliffs above Pegwell Bay, how hideous!  My god, golf travelers stay away, don’t look its not good!

But DD is too strong; he has better ammunition than I have and is beating my brains in as we approach the 9th.  Then I go up to the new tee, which makes this hole near 450 yards and snap these pictures.  Again, what a view down the coastline and more proof that Deal has plenty of lovely views.

“Smooth move Ex-Lax” I say to myself (consult the urban dictionary if you don’t know that one) as I hook my shot on #8 and find it lying on the member tee of the 9th. Double D says to me, “Quick from the top again Tuco!”  Normally that would engender a bit of a move toward the holster but DD is the last of the old breed.  The kind that wants a gentleman display of sport and a kind word while stabbing you through the heart as if you are a Bram Stoker character.  Besides, DD is in one of the myriad of bunkers surrounding this green.  Tuco feeling confident hits a nifty pitch from the 9th tee to 4 feet but again luck is not on his side.  DD implicitly says, “See you on the next tee idiot” as he holes out for a deuce but his mouth utters, “Well that was a bit of a surprising result!”  Tuco’s four down and makes his way to the new 9th tee on the seawall.

And here is the view with DD resplendent in blue looking at me.  It is a long way now and makes Deal’s weakest hole, it’s hardest.

Oh and here is your view.  Don’t look at it, I can’t stand ocean views!

Tuco has been known to put the ball left on occasion and I’m sad to say he lost the 9th hole as well to go five down at the turn.  Why did I agree to so many shots?  Is it my new Taylor Made Driver?  Damn our American consumer culture and the golf industry! Who needs new equipment, we are constantly buying new crap in the game of golf when all I should be doing is robbing the pro shop?  Wow, absinthe still in my fuzzy consciousness.  Cool rantings.

Ah the 10th.  What a hole!  Tuco is never tongue tied in his depictions but who says it better than Guy Campbell?

“What in particular puts [this hole as of the greats in golf] it in this class I have never been able to define, but the first time I played it its quality hit me like the blow of an angel’s wing and each time I have played it or see it since, the blow has been just as keen and refreshing”

Guy Campbell

So from the sea wall tee on #11—yes another one with great visuals, a view to a kill of the puzzle that is #10.

The back 9 continues to be the demise of Tuco’s sharpshooting and DD is going to have a chance at shooting his age—74!  At the 16th, the greatest links hole in golf according to Peter Allen, I see what for me brings the greatest sadness to a round at Deal.  The contrast to its best hole is striking.  Entering the pillbox, which if you come anywhere near on your tee shot you enter John Daly push territory, I take this picture.  Imagine being an 18-year-old conscript in 1940, with the beautiful turf in front of you covered in barbed wire and a scrum of tanks, troops and booby traps.  You are waiting for zee Germans.   Are they going to come for me one lonely night, will the Luftwaffe bomb this target and blow me to smithereens?   Tuco has already ceded the match to DD but is a student of history.  Ennio Morricone’s haunting “The Strong” plays in his memory.  Sadly, he thinks, I’ve never seen so many of my golf shots on this course, so wasted.

Passing thru Darwin’s Valley of Inglorious Security which precedes the 16th green, Tuco’s ready for a drink or at least some sort of restorative.  God I wish I were in Switzerland, some nice Bermese Mountain Dog would bring me a tin of Kummel, take the edge off, and maybe right my drives.  RT are you there RT?  It is me, Mr. 212,   Tuco is alone again…

But not before the 17th, which is a damn fine par 4 which moves over a rambunctious terrain that reminds one of sailing on soft ocean waves before finding land.   To my eye, it’s lovely especially with the view of the classic clubhouse in the distance.  The initiated know to drive to the far right of the picture into Harry Vardon’s parlour.  You might grok a view of the flagstick here and fire a short iron into the punchbowl green.

So why Deal?  Why is it so good?  How does Tuco reconcile all of this?  In all of the bandit raids I’ve done, one thing is evident.  There is an awe-ful truth to how we interact with a golf course.  In fact, there is a direct inverse correlation between the landform and the experience itself.  The greater the land, the beauty and naturalness of it, the greater our experience or perceived experience.  Big dunes like Ballybunion and right by the sea, well you have a great golf course.  Or so it seems.  We humans are nothing but relatively hairless apes and our brains trick us by making any lunar landform consoling and thus we give it greatness.  Awe is how we describe it.

Deal does not awe anyone so I'm told, that is not my experience obviously.  Nevertheless, I ask this question.  Can one play Deal and condense a sense of awe from the vapor of its nuance?  My pictures are just a display of how beautiful it really is, it must be played to understand why Tuco had an awe experience and joined.  It is odd because after my recent trip to Cinque Ports GC, I went to Royal Liverpool.  Similar course in that, Hoylake does not give one a sense of awe at first glance.  Views of the Dee estuary salve the spirit in certain places but as a collection of holes, I experienced no awe, no illumination.  Moreover, why play golf if one is not illuminated?  I understood Hoylake, the angles, the challenge, the cunning nature but awe?  No shot.

As Forrest Gump eloquently said, “This is all I have to say about that (Deal)”
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 12:25:45 PM by NFreeman »


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Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2011, 03:51:09 PM »
 Never apologize for passion.
AKA Mayday


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Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2011, 03:59:35 PM »
Senor Tuco, you had better be just messin' with us about this being your last essay on Deal and life as Tuco, or we will hunt you down like the dog you are and fill you full of lead.

Count on it, hombre.

Mike Benham

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Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2011, 04:15:57 PM »

This will be my last ever thread on Deal.  

A promise or threat?
"... and I liked the guy ..."


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Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2011, 10:51:46 PM »
Tuco, Absinthe is special stuff. It may produce the best high I have ever seen from a bottle. I discovered it in new Orleans a number of years ago. It was banned from the US for many years. It was a big part of every Tiger lunch at Commanders Palace over the last decade. The colors were just a little brighter after a few hours with the beautiful green drink. It also works well in bars, walking on the street and in Louisiana driving ones car.

paul cowley

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Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2011, 04:53:54 PM » it not still banned? The only place I could find what I felt was real 'Hemingway Class' was in Portugal years ago and Morocco.

They sell it here with wormwood?...not just some name knockoff liquer...the good stuff is close to a liquid opiate IMO...but its been a generation or two!
paul course architect/asgca

Peter Pallotta

Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2011, 05:11:01 PM »
Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez - you have been found guilty by the Third District Circuit Court of the following crime....great taste!  May a golden-haired angel watch over you always! Con Dios, Tuco Ramirez....


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Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2011, 08:42:49 PM »

You may find this of interest.


Drink me. . .at your own risk

Van Gogh: a case of seeing double Dutch

The prospect of absinthe being sold again in the UK after 70 years has got a lot of people excited. But not everyone, writes the BBC's Ryan Dilley.
The offer of "a sip of the Green Goddess" brings to mind some disturbing visual images, the least scary of which involves a fitness instructor and a brace of squaddies with stirrup pumps. Of course, to the initiated such an invitation holds the promise of acquainting oneself with the Queen of the periodic table of illicit tipples - absinthe.

In the popular imagination absinthe is the green liquid which made fin de siècle Paris gay and prompted Vincent Van Gogh to lop off his shell- like. The fact that this favourite of the Bohemian set was banned in France in 1915 - when production stood at some 10m gallons per year - has ensured the blisteringly powerful drink an enduring place in alcoholic folklore.

Demented addicts

Exploiting this mystique (and the fact that it has never officially been banned in the UK) four Londoners have set up a firm to import a Czech version of the drink to slake the thirsts of Britain's fin de millennaire revellers. Boasting a painting-stripping 70% alcohol content, Hill's Absinth has all the kick of its Gallic cousin, but more importantly it is made with the same wormwood extracts which governments around the world blamed for creating legions of demented absinthe addicts back in the early 1900s.

A strange sight, but not a hallucination
Absinthe is made by steeping wormwood, along with other herbs, in pure alcohol. The resultant liquid, turned a rich green by the herbs' chlorophyll, contains an intoxicating compound called thujone - a substance often and perhaps misleadingly likened to the drug cannabis.

The Green Goddess is marketing dream - a product whose reputation has only been strengthened by an 80-year prohibition in its spiritual home. Another selling point for the fashionable bars who are lining up to take delivery of the £40 bottles is its sheer theatricality. Thanks to its formidable alcohol content and bitter taste, both water and sugar must be added to absinthe to render it even halfway palatable. Tradition demands that a spoonful of absinthe-soaked sugar be set alight and dripped into a full glass - igniting the contents. The mixture is then diluted with water, producing the cloudy draught familiar to drinkers of the thujone-free pastis Pernod.

Avant garde

Green Bohemia - the company behind absinthe's return to fashion - are keen to point out the drink's importance to the Parisian avant garde. Tom Hogkinson, from the hip magazine The Idler and a co-founder of Green Bohemia, points to its hedonistic pedigree. Zola, Picasso, Lautrec and Baudelaire were all admirers of the emerald elixir, earning it a reputation as a creative lubricant. Interestingly, it was a musician John Moore, of the Jesus and Mary Chain, who first introduced his fellow Green Bohemians to absinthe after trying it at a gig in Prague.

Claims have been made that absinthe improves both the intellectual and sexual prowess of the imbiber. Robert Tisserand, an expert on the properties of herb, suspects that over time the reverse is true. Few scientific tests have been carried out on the effects of absinthe - its banning in France, Switzerland, Belgium and the US was based largely on anecdotal evidence amid a public outcry that decent society was about to be overrun by thujone-addled degenerates.

Will the clubbing generation go for it?
"Wormwood oil is a neurotoxin, a poison," says Tisserand. "In sufficient quantities the substance causes laboratory animals to confront imaginary enemies, experience auditory and visual hallucinations and suffer convulsions." Hardly the makings of a good night down the pub. However, these symptoms would only be experienced in humans after they had ingested the equivalent of 25 glasses of absinthe - a Herculean effort even by Gazza's standards.

Chronic absinthism

Both Tisserand and Dr Debbie Shaw, from the National Poisons Information Service, point to the problems of "chronic" exposure to thujone. Although unproven, a link has been suggested between thujone and addiction to absinthe - indeed "absinthism" was recognised by French physicians as a distinct form of alcoholism characterised by the sort of mental instability which plagued Van Gogh.

The fact that the Green Goddess has always remained legal in the UK was in part due to its relatively rare consumption. The unlikely prospect of an Ecstasy-weary generation turning to absinthe might prompt moves to outlaw its entry into the country. The pressure group Alcohol Concern are horrified by the new development. "Alcohol is used as a social lubrication, to help reduce people's inhibitions," said spokeswoman Caroline Bradley, "but this product is clearly not about socialising or partying." Alcohol Concern decry a drink, now synonymous with excess, whose sole purpose seems to be to bring about in the drinker "a change in their state of mind".

Mind numbing

Those who have already quaffed the controversial spirit invariably remark on its belly-warming strength, which in part numbs the mouth against its unusual taste. Of its supposed hallucinatory effects few offer any startling revelations. "I'd already drunk quite a few other things that night, but the absinthe was. . .well, the icing on the cake," said 24-year-old student Raoul. "I didn't have any visions, but I did giggle a lot and even offered to pay for the taxi home. . .which was a first for me."

Green Bohemia have timed the introduction of their absinthe to coincide nicely with the office party season - a time when even advocat is transformed into an acceptable tipple. But budding Baudelaires and lounge lizard Lautrecs had better look sharpish - Robert Tisserand suspects that the government may be worried by the spirit's resurgence and end its already limited availability.



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Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez New
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2011, 11:35:35 AM »
Bumping this one back where it belongs.

Tuco, an old gunslinger never retires, he dies with his boots on.

When I took my Bride to be to Paris, many years ago, I desperately wanted to try Absinthe. What potion could be so magical yet it could also produce that destroyed woman in Degas picture. My French has always been very poor but it's never stopped me trying; I just assumed I was pronouncing a word I’d seen but not heard,  incorrectly . So I kept asking with increasingly ridiculous attempts.  Each tieme being met with incomprehensive stares from various waiters and barmen who clearly had no idea what I was talking about. It was a decade later I discovered the ban.

 Now when I make a mess of some foreign phrase my wife will impersonate Peter Sellars and between corpesing say something along the lines of,

“Excuse moi, mai aves vous une  Absynthe?.....Abbsonthe? ...Absont?...’bsonte?...”

(PS NAF’s taste in Golf is much better than his taste in liquor. I’ve now tried it. Merde.)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 12:28:00 PM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!

Mike Cirba

Re: The Last and Final Deal by Tuco Ramirez
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2011, 11:41:39 AM »
My only comment is that Tuco and his progenitor has been absinthe from this discussion group for too long.


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