18 holes with Lin Brehmer

WXRT morning man loves golf almost as much as he loves rock 'n' roll

Lin Brehmer interview at Harborside International.

The morning of our golf date, Lin Brehmer sounded the alarm. He called the weather forecast "iffy" during his show on WXRT-FM 93.1.

And upon arriving at Harborside International under gloomy skies, Brehmer warned: "I'm not a mudder."

But then he made a bold prediction, especially considering he has called Chicago home since 1984: "It never rains when I play — even on days when the forecast says there's a 100 percent chance."

During our first hole, you'll never guess what began falling from the sky.

"I'm a DJ; never trust a word I say," he joked. "The stuff I say is compensated hyperbole."

Maybe, but the sense you get from playing golf with Brehmer is that he is genuine. The man nicknamed "The Reverend of Rock 'n' Roll" is true to his musical tastes, relishing the fact XRT lets DJs choose their songs from a vast menu.

"In major market radio, that's unheard of," he said. "At other places you'll hear Eric Clapton's 'Let it Rain' on a beautiful, sunny day."

Brehmer is also genuinely bad at golf — and makes no effort to hide it. He loves firing zingers at his own expense:

• "If I hit my drive 220 yards, I'm ecstatic."

"My index is 19.3. It's pretty pathetic. On some courses in Ireland, they won't let you play if you're higher than a 15."

"I once played for quarters and lost $35."

Yet Brehmer said he's "obsessed" with the game, adding: "I'm never happier than when I'm on the first tee — and never more depressed than when I'm on 18."

Growing up in Queens, N.Y., Brehmer was a self-described "baseball freak." As a southpaw who could "pump it in the upper 70s," he started four years on his high school team. (He also witnessed Mickey Mantle's 500th home run at Yankee Stadium in 1967.)

"I never played golf," Brehmer said, "until I got too old for sports."

At 58, he loves to tee it up at Chicago-area public tracks Cantigny, ThunderHawk, Wilmette, the Glen Club and Harborside, which has 36 links-style holes — and outstanding greens — about 20 minutes south of downtown Chicago.

Brehmer joked about the "80 to 90 mile-an-hour wind gusts" that made our round an adventure, sending short irons back as if Dikembe Mutombo were guarding some greens.

Brehmer over clubbed on the 17th hole on the Starboard Course, a par-3 over water: "Just my luck that I'll make a hole-in-one on a 130-yard hole and have to say I hit a 7-wood."

In September 1984, Brehmer had a choice of jobs — XRT or hometown WLIR in Long Island. XRT program director Norm Winer lured him to Chicago with a promise of Cubs World Series tickets.

The tickets, shall we say, never materialized. Brehmer has had to settle for a Cubs driver-head cover and seven-hour broadcasts near Wrigley Field on Opening Day that have featured live jams from Buddy Guy, Wilco and Widespread Panic.

Brehmer estimates he has been to nearly 1,500 rock concerts, and his favorite was a semi-secret "club show" for 400 hard-core fans and VIPs at the Double Door in 1997. The band: The Rolling Stones. XRT received only three tickets, and they were gobbled up by exec's.