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July 23, 2010

Replacing Your Divot


Replacing Your Divot

A friend is fond of saying ... you can tell a lot about a person by playing golf with them.

No need for lie detector test.  Credit or loan worthiness check. Number of points on a driver’s license. Asking what people think  in the community.   Just watch what they do on the golf course.

I was reminded of this several weeks ago when I played in a charitable golf outing.  Full field of more than 122-plus golfers, all with their clubs in their carts…two to a cart….two carts to each hole. Ready to roll promptly at 9 a.m.

Except one person in our foursome:  A very “visible” business person who usually wears fancy suits, $50 ties, and acts like he knows everyone and has all the answers to community problems.

And -- although I barely knew him --I forked over his $45 tournament fee, just in case he showed up at the last moment.

Which he did right before the gun went off, and our two “shotgun” foursomes were sent to the 12th hole to start our round.

He showed up with his 5’8, 14 year old son. 

“Oh, none of you mind if Eric (name changed) just rides along,” he says, as his son squeezes  in as the third person in a golf cart made for two.

golf.jpgNone of us said a word. 

But it was obvious the kid had no business on the golf course, when there was a “full capacity” adult tournament underway.  Without clubs.  

“Hey,” I thought to myself, “if the kid wants to ride along.  And it’s a bit crowded.   No big deal.”

But, of course, it was and is if you’re a golfer; if you believe in basic golf etiquette, and what it teaches about life, about respecting others, being considerate, taking your turn on the tee according to who won the last hole, not driving the cart close to the greens, etc.

Unless you don’t care what people think.

And this self described civic and business leader evidently didn’t care.  And he probably knew better. He had nice clubs.  Hit the ball a long way.  Obviously played a lot of golf. 

Worse:  The kid started playing out of his dad’s bag, once we were out of sight of the course marshall and the club house.

Sometimes, there would be 8 players stacked up behind us on the fairway.  Sometimes “dad “ let his son hit two balls.

Sometimes, dad would yell and criticize his kid:


“Get over here!!!!”

“Pick up that club!”

As we approached the 9th green, in site of the clubhouse, the adults got out of our carts with putters.  And dad had the kid drive the cart rest of the way to the green.

Getting ready to putt, I turned and the kid had run the cart into a nearby tree, and was vainly trying to extricate himself from the overhanging branches.

I kept wondering why everyone in the tournament, in our two foursomes, let this guy (“dad”) slide in his example of terrible golf ethics.

I think I know why.  But that’s another blog.

It took two weeks to get my $45 tournament fee back from the guy. 

I’d pretty much decided the money wasn’t important.  That none of it mattered to me, or in the great scheme of things.

But then I recalled  this guy had run for public office last fall, and almost won.

And I’d  almost voted for him.

You can learn a lot about someone on a golf course.

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