It’s easy to forget that other golfers are often people as well. Frequently all they appear to be are slow moving, exasperating, megalithic obstructions, arrogant youngsters or grumpy old committee members. They are frequently real people, just like you, I guess, with their own fears and concerns, handicaps and hang-ups. However, it is easy to forget this when they’re on the green a hundred yards away from you clustered around the flag marking their scores. Or when one of them is ambling back to the tee after they’ve duck hooked one so far left that the only question is whether it’s in the same post code as the fairway, not whether it’s in or out of bounds. Why didn’t they just play another one off the tee? Were they hoping for some divine intervention? Did they think that a dove would swoop down and gather the ball in its little beak and drop it back on the fairway? Why can’t they get a move on? Why don’t they just take up bowls?
Preposterously the people behind you have the shameless temerity to complain about you for slow play. Granted it was getting dark when you finished and the group in front of you had finished, showered, had a three course meal and waved sarcastically as they passed you on their way home. Yet, you need to align yourself correctly, don’t you? You’ve seen all professionals stop when something disturbs you and you go through their whole pre-shot routine again. When you have to look for a ball it’s inevitable, you can’t play golf without a few mistakes otherwise you’d be off scratch and anyway even Tiger Woods has to look for his ball now and again.
And another thing, how come, when you play with your ‘friends’ they say the most stupid, more ludicrous, most hurtful things. It starts on the first drive on the first tee. Before you’ve finished your follow through they’re whispering “bunker”. There is no way they can know that from your swing, unless they’re putting some kind of group hex on you – again. From a greenside bunker you thin it and the ball whistles across the green head high like a tracer bullet. It stops 50 yards away. You’re greeted with a less than sympathetic, “Well out”. A few shots later and your on the edge of the green. Your hard putt hit a sprinkler climbs vertically for a few kilometres and plops back to earth further away from the hole than you were 3 shots ago, “looked good in the air” comes the less-than-helpful quip.
There are times when your friends can be cruel for instance the time you’re in the middle of the fairway on the 150 yard marker and ask politely, “Can I get there with an 8 iron?”
“Depends, “ comes the reply
“On how many times you’re planning to hit it.”
I did get my own back, just the once. I had eagled the long par 5 3rd for the first time in my life and couldn’t resist it. I’m not proud of it but it had to be done. When would I ever get the chance again? As we stood on the next tee I took a driver out and asked politely, “Did anyone get a two?”