Marcie of Utica, New York, was a great orthodontist and was good at plenty of other things in life as well. But he never could figure out golf.
“He was famously bad, a dismal golfer,” says his nephew and accomplished golf writer Jay Flemma, who authors the blog “A Walk in the Park.”
But being bad didn’t stop Marcie from playing twice a week for many years at his local muni, Valley View Golf Course .
Round after round, Marcie would show up at Valley View with that fresh hope that golf seems to breed in all of us. And like it does to so many of us, the game would efficiently quash those hopes, turning visions of pars into the painful reality of double and triple bogies.
Periodically, all those dashed expectations got the best of Marcie.
“He was the comic relief of the eight or 10 guys he played with,” Flemma says.
On one occasion, Marcie became so confounded by a series of 1 ½ footers on the green of the par 4 15th that the remainder of his foursome simply walked on to the next hole while he swatted the ball back and forth.
As they stood on 16 tee laughing, Marcie missed his third short putt, then his fourth, then his fifth. Finally, he let out an anguished cry, “There’s gotta be a hole there!”
One fateful day in the mid 1970s, Marcie had finally had enough. What precise sequence of badly misplayed shots set him off is lost to history. More than anything, it was probably just the buildup of too many years of chunks and skulls, yips and shanks. But it had all happened before Marcie finished playing the short par 5 second hole at Valley View.
In fact, he never did finish that hole.
Instead, after one last horrific shot, Marcie climbed the fence that lines the left side of #2, walked across the adjacent Valley View Road and climbed another fence that guards a municipal reservoir. There, he threw his clubs, bag, shoes and even his hat into the water – never to play golf again.
As Flemma describes it, “He quit the game with a vengeance you never saw before in your life.”