"Could I have two sets of golf balls please?" I asked.
"Why?" the man wanted to know. This was a legitimate question, given that I look like the kind of person who does (or should) pad her bra with stolen golf balls.
I pointed to the three golf pros standing next to me, holding their golf clubs upside down.
The man gave me a blank stare, indicating that none of his shifts at Golf and Games had ever coincided with an elementary school field trip.
I smiled and helped myself to six balls.
"Bring the extra ones back when you're done!" he shouted after me.
I just laughed.
The first set of balls made it through an unprecedented four holes before being swept away by the raging current generated by the water wheel next to Buffalo Bill's Old Tyme Saloon.
"This is all we have," I said solemnly as I handed over balls 4, 5, and 6. "When they're gone, we're done playing golf."
The next three holes were accompanied by an equal number of dangerous rescue missions, as balls were pulled to safety from a mossy lagoon, retrieved from a thorny bush, and dug out of a scary clown's mouth.
By hole #8, my kids determined that it was much easier to keep track of the balls if they abandoned their clubs. I spent the remaining 10 holes watching my children roll, throw, or kick the balls into the designated holes. Much to my dismay, we weren't able to convert any other golfers to our style of play. We were the only people on the course.
We returned to the golf shop thirty minutes later with three clubs, but no balls. One was rolled up a two-story tall dog's outstretched tongue and never returned; another fell victim to a trap door on Cinderella's castle. The third was tossed over a chain link fence and into the parking lot...on purpose.
I was looking forward to telling the man in the golf shop where he could find his missing balls (no pun intended) but sadly, he wasn't there. In his place was the teenage boy. When the boy saw me, he opened a sliding window just wide enough for me to pass the golf clubs through...and long enough for me to sneak a peek at the cute brunette hiding behind the rack of batting cage helmets.