Right now, seek there is literally nothing in the world that can contain my joy and happiness. I just had, to say the least, a great moment at the Pfister.
Today I itched my thirteen-year-old boy scratch at the Pfister. And no, I didn’t finally get up the nerve to ask Jenny to the school dance. Instead, I took some time out of my day to play a video game.
Smiles all around, shall we? It’s a good day when a grown man in suit and tie plays a video game. Somehow the world wins.
For the past day I have been peering into Rouge at the Pfister to stare in awe at a glorious arrangement of tables and chairs and general flim flam finery that has been magically pulled together to serve as Fiserv’s Championship Experience Hospitality Suite. This suite experience is being offered for Fiserv’s friends who are here in Milwaukee to attend the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
The room is lush. There are sofas. There are snacks. There are television screens showing moving images of men and women in pastel colored golf attire. But that all pales in comparison to the real hammer drop of entertainment and joy that is available for Fiserv’s guests.
There is Golden Tee.
There in the middle of one of the most elegant rooms ever was sweet, ambulance sweet, Golden Tee, the top arcade choice of bad golfers and mildly competent video gamers worldwide. I got all weepy when I saw it glowing at me like a beacon of amusement.
Golden Tee combines two things that I have been doing since my teenage years–playing golf and trying to master video games. In that time, I have achieved absolutely the same level of dexterity and accomplishment on these competitive diversions. I’m unbelievably terrible at both of them.
I sauntered into Rouge before guests were arriving to ask one of the friendly Fiserv event attendants about the Golden Tee game. I had to know, “Have there been some fierce Golden Tee matches going on?”
The answer I got surprised me.
“Well, actually, I don’t think I’ve seen more than a handful of folks play yet. But we’re here until Monday.”
It was one of those lightning strike moments for me. The game had been lightly played. There was no line of waiting gamers. Because of Fiserv’s generosity, you didn’t even need a quarter to play. It was a magic moment.
“Can I play?” I asked the warm hearted Fiserv attendant.
She looked at me with a sweet smile. “Sure, it’s okay with me.”
Little did she know but she had just cleared the path for me to make one of my all time dreams come true.
I was going to get on the leaderboard of a video game once and for all.
I squared up my stance in front of the Golden Tee console. Feet shoulder width apart, a little bend in the knees…you know, just like the pros do it. I hit the START button and the machine came to life with a greeting from the friendliest of sportscasters ever, the incomparable Pat Summerall. I said a little silent prayer to the late great Summerrall who died in 2013, but also squealed a little realizing that this was a classic Golden Tee, no hackneyed imitator.
Golden Tee takes a certain level of hand eye coordination and mechanical agility. I have so little of any of those skills that I actually had to look up those words to understand what they mean when I wrote that last sentence. I lined up my first shot, spun the track ball controlling Player One’s swing and let ‘er rip.
A thirty-yard drive dribbled forward onto the screen. I had to face the facts. In pixels and in life, I’ll never be a long ball kind of guy.
Undeterred by a middling start, I continued to push that little white ball down the virtual fairway. I impressed myself that I was able to make actual divots on the game screen and prompt Pat Summerrall to shout out voiced over warnings like, “Look out! Watch your head!”
After making my way through two holes, a flashing screen suddenly appeared pushing out the image of a greenery and a golf man in comfortable slacks and short sleeves.
There it was. And it had only taken me 23 strokes to get there.
My 11 strokes on the first hole and my 12 strokes on the second hole were good enough to offer me an onscreen prompt to type in my initials so the whole world could know that one JTW was a winner. There are big moments in a man’s life…marriage, birth of his child, the day you just give up and shave the few remaining hairs off of the top of your mostly bald head—but adding your name to the leaderboard of one of the greatest low-tech video games of all time is, without a doubt, a moment of true of true victory.
Fiserv’s guests started to arrive just as I finished adding my initials to the history of video gaming, and I quietly stepped away from the machine. I’m not one to show off, and I really didn’t want to intimidate anyone else who had an eye on the Golden Tee. I walked away from Golden Tee with a new notch in my belt and a belly full of pride. I can only imagine that the folks watching me swagger out of Rouge were thinking to themselves, “That guy’s arms must be really sore from taking all those shots, but boy does he look like a winner.”