Thump. Zach hit the ground. An errant golf ball had zoomed in from the driving range, ricocheted off a cart, and smacked into Zach's bowed head as he drew back his putter.
The guys gasped as one. Shocked by the sudden drop of their friend, they stood motionless. Zach lay in a crumpled heap on the pristine green with the putter still gripped in his right hand. A feminine shriek startled them out of their stupor, and they rushed to their friend's side.
"Zach, buddy, you alright?" Ben asked as he knelt beside his best friend and business partner. "He's breathing, but he's knocked out."
"Let me through." John, a paramedic, pushed the others aside. "Call 911." After a quick check of the man lying unconscious on the eighteenth green, he raced to his golf bag lashed to the back of the now dented golf cart and dug deep in one of the pockets. With a fat, nasty-smelling cigar in hand, he raced back and held the dark cigar against Zach's nose.
Coughing and sputtering preceded Zach's eyes blinking open.
"Get that damn thing away from me."
"Hey, this ratty cigar worked like smelling salts, so you're welcome."
"Whatever. What happened?"
"A ball from the driving range bounced off my cart and whacked you in the head," John explained.
"Help me up."
"No way. A head injury is not to be taken lightly, Zach."
"So is a birdie putt for the course record."
Struggling against restraining hands, Zach's focus locked on his golf ball now resting off the green. The struggling stopped, and all eyes followed his intense stare.
"Uh, sorry, Zach. We must have kicked the ball in our rush to your side," Bill, the best golfer in their group, admitted.
"No problem. By the golf rules, I can place my ball in the approximate position it sat in before all of this." Waving a hand at the scene on the green, he fought off assistance and stood.
"Now, Zach—" John began his scolding, which ended when Zach wobbled and dropped to his knees.
"Oh my gosh! Is he okay?" The feminine voice caused all the heads to turn. A blur of pink ran across the green, shoving through the guys. The blur changed into an anxious brunette sporting a stylish pink golf skirt, matching shirt, and cap. A full ponytail bounced behind her head, and dark-brown eyes locked on Zach's kneeling figure. When he raised his head, their eyes connected for an instant.
"Today's my first lesson. Maybe golf isn't my game. What can I do to help?" Tears glistened in her eyes when she knelt alongside Zach and John.
Glaring at the intruding female, Zach bared his teeth. "I think you did enough."
"Now, Zach, be fair. Accidents happen. Give her a break," John said.
"It wasn't your head attacked or your birdie putt ruined." The grumbling continued until he spotted tears flowing down her cheeks. Feeling like a heel, Zach offered a mild, "I'm fine, don't worry about me. Go back to your lesson; your game needs some work."
A siren sounded in the parking lot.
"Ben and Bill, head up to the clubhouse and keep the gawkers away. Zach, you sit here. I'll be back." John stood and considered the dangers of leaving Zach alone, so he turned to the woman. "Can you stay with him until I bring the ambulance crew down here?"
A snort of disgust came from Zach, but he thought better of spewing more sarcasm.
"Of course, I can stay. Thanks for asking." Relief at being asked to lend a hand eased the tension in her shoulders. Rethinking her desire to learn golf, she sat beside the man suffering from her—what did the pro call it? Oh, yeah, a shank. An ugly term for an ugly shot.