The problem with being a hopelessly obsessed golfer — over and above the fact that there’s no known cure for that dreadful condition, Golfus Preoccupadus Onsteroidus — is that, ultimately, you’ll see every single aspect of your life through what can only be explained as a “golf prism.” 

You will interpret every experience as golf-related, and every waking thought will be autonomously reimagined as if golf were the driving force behind it. The typical 9-to-5 workday will be divided into a front nine and a back nine, with a short bathroom/snack break before making the turn. Cocktail hour with your significant other will morph into a desperate search for the beverage cart. Visits from the in-laws will become hitting into a Devil’s Asshole-type bunker, or shanking your 18th-hole drive out of bounds during a round that would have seen you breaking par for the very first time. 

Finally, all your non-golf leisure activities will receive golf makeovers. This includes attending concerts, going to the movies or simply kicking back on the couch with a good book. It’s that final item that got me thinking … What if you took the greatest novels of all time and gave them a golf rehab? In most cases, you don’t have to go overboard with the renovation — simply infuse them with “duffer DNA,” let the new cells replicate until they ultimately take over the host and, before you know it, your story will be par for the course.

Take Irwin Shaw’s 1969 masterpiece, “Rich Man, Poor Man,” the classic tale of two brothers who lived vastly different, yet ultimately divergent lives. The golfing redux of that tale breathes new life into that tome and, IMHO makes for an even better story.

Unlike the original, we’ll set our story present day.

The Grayson family is an American dynasty, with money so old it should be spelled with an “e.” Railroads, shipping concerns, steel mills, manufacturing, oil, and natural gas — the Graysons have their hooks in everything and have played a monumental role in creating the America we have come to love. Their fortune is the stuff of legend; were you to give the balance sheet a full tally (including all the hidden shell corporations and tax haven island accounts), it’d likely top the Forbes list of the world’s richest.

16-year-old Colin Grayson is the heir apparent. The world is his oyster, and a priceless pearl is guaranteed. Exposed to the finer things in life from his diaper days, there isn’t a “blue blood sport” he doesn’t excel at. Sailing, polo, tennis, squash, golf — he’s a natural at all of them, even though he doesn’t fully appreciate the opportunities he’s been gifted. He sees the lavish Chantilly Country Club where he spends much of his time — his family aren’t just members, they’re the founders — is looked upon as an inconvenience rather than a pleasure. Still, he toes the family line, making appearances as expected, and takes out his frustrations on the golf course by routinely beating the other members, becoming club champion two years running.

16-year-old Jack Banner is a kid from the wrong side of the tracks and the illegitimate half-brother of Colin Grayson. The result of an affair between Colin’s father, Graham Grayson, and one of the country club’s maids, when her pregnancy was discovered, her employment was instantly terminated. An entire firm of cutthroat lawyers whose only job is to make problems disappear made damn sure Jack Banner’s connection to the Grayson family was wiped from existence.

During both boys’ formative years, while young Colin was excelling in the finest private school, young Jack was repeatedly running afoul of the law, spending more time in juvenile detention than in classrooms. A third-strike arrest for an armed home invasion robbery would have sent him to an adult prison for 25 years, were it not for a youth offender redemption program sponsored by the Grayson family. That resulted in a job working for the head greenskeeper at the Chantilly Country Club.

Provided with some semblance of structure for the first time in his life, Jack thrived, and the backbreaking manual labor he endured from sunup to sundown was viewed as a reward, not a chore. The golf course became Jack’s refuge, his true “happy place,” and in the years to come, he would learn every single inch of it, including those off-the-beaten-path places the majority of the members never get to see.

Seven years after first setting foot on the Chantilly Country Club grounds, he was now the assistant head greenskeeper, with a respectable salary and a young son of his own. His wife, a beverage cart girl, and a former collegiate golfer for the University of Kentucky gave Jack lessons after all the members had finished their rounds. Instructing him on proper swing techniques, Jack proved to be a natural, and, coupled with his vast knowledge of the course, he was routinely breaking par.

When it came time for the annual club championship, Jack, having received the lofty title of Employee of the Year, was given an honorary entry into the event. To no one’s surprise, after three days of play, Jack found himself tied with the new CEO of Grayson Industries, Colin Grayson, who took over one year prior after his father died of a heart attack, ironically while having “relations” with a mistress in a Las Vegas hot tub.

The fourth and final day of play was all Jack. Having one of the best rounds of his life, he carded a course record 12 under par, just missing shooting a fabled 59 when his birdie putt on 18 lipped out. But before he could claim the club championship title, Colin Grayson insisted performance-enhancing drugs were responsible for Jack’s landslide victory and demanded his opponent take a blood test or forfeit the win. With absolutely nothing to hide, Jack welcomed the blood test with open arms, provided Colin submit to the same test.

Well, not only did the test reveal that Jack was totally clean of any drugs, let alone steroids or any other performance-enhancers, it also gave way to a startling revelation — Jack and Colin were blood relatives.

The press got wind of this stunning announcement and, following a three-month inquiry by a team of investigative journalists who loved raking muck on prominent families like the Graysons, Graham’s affair was uncovered, and the truth of Jack’s bloodline was revealed.

Unable to handle this startling news, Colin Grayson overdosed on paté de foie gras, slipped into a coma and died four days later.

Jack Banner — now Jack Banner-Grayson — pressed his claim and received his rightful share of the Grayson family fortune. In love with the work, he refused to retire, despite being a billionaire before turning 30.

Today, he is the head greenskeeper at the Chantilly Country Club and the official course record holder with a score of 57.