Should I have realised something was afoot on the 1st? Should the vaguely strangled, “oh, oh. Ooopsie. Oh, shoot,” followed by a gentle ‘crash’ have raised an internal alarm? Probably.
“First day with an electric buggy,” beamed the bloke in the BMW hat. He was waving a little remote. His brand new electric buggy had popped a wheelie and looked as if it was trying to copulate with my golf bag.
“Exciting,” I said.
“You don’t know the half of it,” he grinned, pressing a couple of buttons on the remote which kind of made his buggy start humping my bag. “Hey,” he giggled. “Maybe that’s where baby bags come from. I’m Adam.”
“Mmmmmmmm,” I went. It was funny, I got it. He probably didn’t need to make that gyrating motion with his own hips to get the point across. He instantly reminded me of Kelvin that giggling goon from Fast Forward. (Google it.)
Open days at other courses, eh? They’re good in that you get to play comp days at places you may not otherwise experience. Part of the rich tapestry of our game is to try new things, to get in the car and travel and experience life outside your golfing comfort zone.
“Besides, there was every chance his buggy dry humping my bag and the dance around the hole on the 1st were two random coincidences – and I was being oversensitive.”
As it turned out, this was a long way outside the comfort zone – and after a few holes with Adam, thoughts turned to etiquette. I know we weren’t all lucky enough to grow up playing with our grandfathers who were good enough to alternately yell or backhand the finer points of the game into us.
And some folks have come to golf late, so it’s not as if we snobs can expect them to understand that it’s not necessarily okay to Riverdance on the green, especially around the hole. And whilst Adam with the new cart didn’t actually do that, he got pretty close.
So, what do you do about players with literally no sense of the playing of the game?
You let it go, of course. Almost no adult likes to be told what to do, even nicely. Besides, there was every chance his buggy dry humping my bag and the dance around the hole on the 1st were two random coincidences – and I was being oversensitive.
At the second hole I hit a little draw. It started further left than intended and headed for the trees. My new mate audibly gasped and said, “Pulled it. Is that your bad shot?” I pretended to pick some dirt out of my nails. “You seem to be coming over the top,” he nodded. “You know?”
I did know – and I know other stuff as well.
I knew, with a fragile mind like mine, that swing tips from 28 markers aren’t always well received. I knew that despite playing one of the best courses on the central coast of NSW, the day may not live up to expectations. And I knew that there was an opportunity to muscle up the mental game against distractions. For that’s what good golf requires, right?
"What Adam was offering, without even knowing it, was an opportunity to rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of a potential disaster."
What Adam was offering, without even knowing it, was an opportunity to rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of a potential disaster.
Who doesn’t want to putt as a remote control buggy careens into a bunker? What are the odds of getting to chip with a man standing in your blind spot trying to screw the top onto his steel drink bottle, but not quite managing it? There’s this metal on metal screwing-tapping-screwing sound going on, like some kind of golfing water torture.
Isn’t this what Earl did to Tiger to make him great?
What an opportunity! What a chance! How Good Is Golf!
Alas, it wasn’t that good. Not really, and the other two in the group were fantastic, but in a cart together.
Hope deserted me entirely on the 15th hole. Adam spent a long time searching for his ball. Ages. He was kicking at tufts of grass on the left side of the fairway muttering how it should be there somewhere. I hadn’t seen him hit. I was too busy sucking my thumb in the fetal position at the back of the tee. “Didn’t see it,” I said, half-heartedly helping.
The others had driven straight up the fairway on their own search. After finding their balls they came back in the right rough, before stopping across from us. “Srixon, Adam? 3 with a big blue line on it?” hollered Marty across the fairway.
Even I knew that was what Adam was playing. He looked up from the left side rough and nodded. “Yep!”
“Over here,” said Marty, pointing to the ground. “You’re in the wrong rough, mate.”
And there it was. Rule 1 in the upcoming etiquette book for new players. Watch your ball – just enough to get the general direction of its whereabouts.