Teed Off (Jun 01, 2014)
with Robert Bicknell
I just read a fun article in one of the on-line golf magazines about "golf partners from Hell" or words to that effect. The gist of the article was, of course, people who you hate playing with for various annoying reasons and there are always a few of them out there. Yes, we all know the 25-handicapper who insists on trying to give lessons, but he is only one of many.
So, I figured I'd talk about a few which drive me absolutely nuts here in Viet Nam.
OK, before I start, I know what you're gonna say, "If you don't like them, don't play with them."
Yes, that would be an obvious solution, but the biggest problem is that these people who annoy the hell out of me aren't in my group. Sometimes they're not even playing on the same hole as my group, but rather a hole or two away. Yes, many of you know exactly what I am talking about…
So, the first people on my list are those people who simply don't know when to be silent.
Sound travels quite far on a golf course, so when you're on an adjacent hole and talking loudly, players can hear it on their hole…usually when they are either making a delicate putt or a very tricky shot. Screaming "BIRDIE!!!!" at the top of your lungs is a great way to prove you don't care about other players around you. Rule of thumb: if you make a birdie, tip your hat to your opponents and grin. It will get your point across far better than screaming.
Golf is a game of opposites, so celebrations are usually muted. Tiger Wood's fist pump not-withstanding, the more humble you are, the better people's opinion of you.
The other group are those who really never figured out how a mobile phone microphone works. Hint: they're so sensitive that they can clearly transmit a whisper, so shouting into it is quite unnecessary. Secondly, standing on the green and talking into your phone while others are trying to putt is the very pinnacle of poor etiquette. If your phone rings (which it shouldn't as you are supposed to keep it on "vibrate only" while playing golf, provided you even turned it on in the first place which you, again, are not supposed to do as golf is time for relaxing), excuse yourself from the group and walk a suitable distance from the group - and not near players on another hole either, and tell the person you'll call them back later unless it's an earth-shattering emergency.
If you go to a golf course in the US or Europe, most of the time you can hear a pin drop because it's so quiet out there. While I have no illusions that this will ever change completely here, it sure would be nice if they lowered the volume a little…
Players who don't check to see if it's their ball before playing it, is another irritant.
Look, I am quite long off the tee and golf, being an inexact science, means that sometimes I will be on someone else's fairway - especially if someone on an adjacent hole screams during my downswing. More than a few times, I have arrived at the site of my ball only to find it nowhere in site, but another ball - not even the same brand - sitting under a tree and a player walking happily down the fairway down the fairway admiring his good fortune on finding his ball in a playable position.
I just send the caddie after him - which achieves three purposes: It gets my ball back; it ruins his day because he played a wrong ball and, best of all; it causes him to lose face.
It's little things that make me smile.
We all have caddies misreading putts and, while blaming the caddie makes you feel a little better about it, the truth is you accepted the line, so you are responsible. I quack with the best of them over missed lines and I should know better, but I am human… sort of.
But the caddies who allow their players to scream into phones, or drive buggies past someone making a swing are the ones needing a kick. No excuse for not knowing what is going on around you.
Rant over… now I feel better… — VNS