A Gentleman’s Game…
I’ve always found it interesting that golf is referred to as a “Gentleman’s Game.”
In the 15 years or so that I have been playing….I’ve rarely met a Gentleman.
I’ve met a ton of assholes though….a ton.
Case in point….every Friday, a friend and I sneak away from our jobs and our kids for 18. Whenever possible, we try to play at a course we’ve never played before. This past week, we played at a semi-private and beautiful course called Butter Brook.
We had the first tee time of the day….8:00am for fall hours….and we teed off about 10 minutes early. We were cruising through the challenging course and making great time with a two hole distance between us and the twosome behind. This particular course had a marshall who made continuous loops in his cart to ensure players were moving along at the recommended pace and each time he passed us he would say, “Great job ladies!” high-fiving or simulating a high five as he passed.
When I first began to learn the game, I steered clear of courses like this one. Back then, a good hole for me was an honest ten. Meaning, I shot an actual ten on the hole and didn’t just round down to a ten because a 12 or a 15 looked really ugly on a scorecard. My overall score for 18 holes was usually well over 150, which is more than a hundred strokes over par.
So, I relegated myself to inexpensive, municipal type courses. Courses that were known to be laid back and casual. Where the majority of the golfers on the course were novices or maybe seasoned players looking to play a relaxed round in order to fine tune their skills without having to worry that a course marshall would drive up to scold them for taking a second or third shot off the tee….in fact, there were no marshall’s. There were also no dress codes and you could totally BYOB.
Even now, I actually prefer the ambiance and general lack of ass-hole’ier-than-thou of a more laid back course, but it’s nice to play the really good places now and then. Well kept fairways and greens can have a big impact on your game….and after all these years….I have the skill to play on them.
So, as we were preparing to take our second shots from the fairway of the 16th hole on Friday, I was surprised to see a twosome preparing to tee off on the very same hole. Personally, I’ve always played by the rule that you never tee off until you’ve seen the golfers in front complete their second shots. Hitting into another group is both rude and unnecessary. If I’m in a hurry or feel as though the team in front is playing too slowly, I might politely ask to play through. Or, if I’m sure there is room ahead, I will simply skip over the hole. Mostly though, I just wait….because I’m not a pretentious jerk.
“Head’s up” I said to my friend as she was preparing to take her shot. “I think they are actually going to tee off now.”
She turned to look. “No way” she said. “They wouldn’t do that. They’re playing from the forward tees, so we must be within their range. Where did they come from anyway?”
They weren’t the same two who had been playing behind us all day. I could see that group on the fairway of the 14th hole and no one had been behind us when we left the putting green on the 15th and headed to the 16th, so I assumed that the two on the tee box had, for some reason, skipped over both the 14th and 15th holes.
I watched as Judge Elihu Smails drove his ball just as my friend completed her second shot. We watched as the ball sailed just overhead of us, shanking to the right of the fairway and into the rough.
“That was a pretty shitty shot for someone so self-righteous” I said as we headed toward our cart while Shooter McGavin took his shot, which flew just barely above the ground before hitting the fairway and rolling no more than 20 feet from where were walking.
We hopped into our cart and headed toward our own balls which had landed approximately 20ft from the putting green. I chipped my ball onto the green and then turned to watch as my friend took her shot. Before she’d even had a chance to line-up, Judge Smails’ ball landed no more than a foot from where she was standing, followed closely by Shooter McGavin’s.
My friend refused to acknowledge the insult, chipping her ball onto the green and walking up to putt without a glance back.
As we lined up to putt, the men drove up and stomped onto the fairway to stand guard at their balls. They were close enough to make eye-contact, but they offered not so much as a hello, an apology, or even a snooty remark. They simply stood there, staring us down with snide grins.
We finished up and proceeded to the 17th hole. “Should we just let them play through?” I suggested.
“Fuck no!” My friend exclaimed. “Had they apologized or just said anything at all, I would have offered, but not now. They chose to skip two holes without any reason that I can tell. We aren’t playing slow. By the time we’re done, we’ll have finished this course in three hours, well below the four-and-a-half the course considers acceptable for 18. Those two can kiss my pink golf ball and my pink ass!”
The final two holes played out much the same as the one prior. They continued to hit into us, seemingly trying to goad us into some kind of reaction, but we refused….until we got to the parking lot that is.
We finished on the 18th hole and headed for our cars where we unloaded our clubs and were changing our shoes when the two men drove into the parking lot. We refused to acknowledge them and instead focused on our post round pack-up, until one of them approached.
“I’m a member here girls” Judge Smails informed us as he parked his cart beside a standard, late model BMW. “Learn the hierarchy or play somewhere else.”
And it was then….in that moment….that I’d had enough.
I have previously written about the fact that I can be painfully awkward and insecure in certain environments and when preparing to engage with certain types of people. Specifically….all things/people I perceive to be potentially snooty.
But a wimp? A pantywaist? A weakling? A pushover? No.
When pushed, whatever degree of inferiority I may have been battling will dissipate in a flash and I will cut a bitch….with words that is. To be clear, I’ve never actually cut anyone.
So, it came to be that the following occurred:
Me: Wow….membership at a semi-private golf course. That’s about as impressive and exclusive as a Jelly-of-the-Month Club. What do you get for your pre-paid seasonal greens fees? 10% off in the pro-shop? Two for one hotdogs at the turn? Free well-drinks on Thursday nights? Whatever the perks, it certainly doesn’t give you the right to be so pompous.
Judge Smails: I can make sure you never play here again.
Me: OH NO! (Grasping my face in mock horror) You mean to tell me I’ll have to settle for playing at one of the other dozens of semi-private golf courses accessible to me in a multi-state area? Whatever will I do if I can’t play here again!?
Shooter McGavin: (Strolling over from his Prius) What’s going on over here?
Me: Your friend is schooling me on the powers of his clout….here at this prestigious golf course with a double wide serving as its pro-shop. Are you a member too?
Shooter McGavin: None of your business, sweetheart.
Me: Nice…I didn’t realize we had traveled back in time to the 50’s. Well, given the Prius and that horribly cheap looking set of veneers you’re flashing, I’m guessing no. Did you specifically ask to have your teeth replaced with Chiclets or is that what you get when your dentist works in a mall kiosk?
Shooter McGavin: Fuck you!
Me: Is that all?
Judge Smails: You’re fucking funny. Why don’t you get the hell out of here?
Me: Thank you. Personally, I think I’m fucking hysterical and I’ll leave when I’m ready….hey, is this the part where the rest of the Jets burst onto the scene and we have a turf war?
Shooter McGavin: You clearly lack the class and etiquette to play here.
Me: (Laughing) Is that so? You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t lend too much weight to the opinions of two Country Club wannabe’s.
Judge Smails: If you were my wife, I wouldn’t let you out of the house.
My Friend: (Who had been standing quietly by) I bet that’s why your kids look like your gardener.
Me to myself: Nice!
Moral of the Story: Don’t mess with two working mom’s and our approximate three hours of free time a week that isn’t devoted to washing something, cooking something, cleaning something, wiping something, solving something, presenting something and/or meeting about something, etc., etc., etc.