By Jack Madigan
If the reader is a devoted fan of L•O PROFILE, then you will have noticed that each issue has a loosely held theme running through it. My editor advises me of that theme well in advance of my article’s due date, and woe to the writer who is not on theme and on time. This issue is Big Business, Real Estate and Marine. Herein lies the conundrum. I have written numerous articles on the business of golf and the real estate details of building a golf course. To top it off, my last article was titled “Splish Splash,” thus all of the theme bases have been touched on in the past.
At this juncture I start to get annoyed at my inability to think of a new angle to present on old material. And when I realized how annoyed I was, I immediately transferred this to the game of golf, and presto! A whole new article appeared in my head. It’s that man or woman we all hate to be paired up with: “The annoying golfer.” But to stay on theme I’ll keep the theme words right on tap, so read closely and let me introduce the first character.
THE COUNTER This is the person who has hit the ball everywhere but on the fairway. First the woods right and then the woods left; a couple of duffs here and there; and if there was water you can be assured he went splash. Then, after finally reaching the green and negotiating a three or four putt, when you ask him what his score is he will look at you and turn around and say, “let’s see,” and then start pointing with his finger to various parts of the fairway all the while counting what supposedly are his strokes and then he will simply say to you, “put me down for a six.”
THE CHICK HATER Every single male golfer has met this guy. He usually is a very high handicapper who smokes cigars on the course and tries—but fails—to project a testosterone-filled macho image. He doesn’t believe women should be allowed on the golf course, because psychologically unbeknownst to him, he fears they are better than he is. When he spots one he is apt to ask you if you know what the word GOLF stands for, then smugly tell you it means “Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden.” He refers to women as chicks, and if playing with a woman in a foursome, will always inadvertently fail to stop at her tee box.
THE INSTRUCTOR Oh Lord! Save me from this guy who is also known as the Teacher or Coach. He knows exactly what is wrong with your swing and will give you all the unsolicited advice you never asked for. The amusing thing about this person is that he is usually a very bad golfer. He will cover that base after hitting a bad shot by telling you he knows exactly what to do but some outlandish event (such as a noise in the distance) has caused a momentary failure to execute on his part. The positively nuclear explosive conditions are achieved when this guy is paired up with his wife in a couple’s league. Divorce city, here we come.
THE RULES NAZI This person more often than not pops up in totally unexpected situations on the course. For some reason known only to themselves, they have memorized the rules of golf and are out to make triple sure each and every obscure rule is enforced. When questioned or even slightly challenged about their inflexibility they more likely than not will tell you they are simply “protecting the field.” They always have their cell phone ready and do not hesitate to call the clubhouse for a ruling. What, ain’t this supposed to be fun?
THE IMPORTANT GUY This person comes in a variety of packages. First and foremost is the never-got-out-of-college guy. He will have on a ND hat and a ND sweater and just silently begs you to ask him if he went to Notre Dame. But you can always tell the guy who actually did, because if you wait long enough he will tell you. But it doesn’t have to be college, it can be anything at all that they think separates them from the herd. The Golf Gal and I once got paired up with a couple at the Naples Golf and Country Club who kept saying they thought they knew us but couldn’t figure out from where. Finally, after about six holes, he blurted out that he thought he had met us at the King Hussein Open in Jordan. I couldn’t resist telling him no, we generally played most of our Middle Eastern golf in Dubai!
THE TALKER This person simply never shuts up. You can be putting, driving or hitting a wedge and his voice will be shattering whatever concentration you were able to muster. He invariably will always be talking about his past prowess on the hole you are playing and any other course that lights up in his brain at the time. Every single thought that flows through his mind is verbalized at the moment of your swing impact.
THE EXCUSE GUY You meet this person all the time. He is a simply horrific golfer, but blames it on a laundry list of worn-out alibis such as it must be these new irons, or just not hitting the driver well today, or pain in various parts of his body, and the old reliable: the course is in bad shape, greens are too fast or slow. He also is quick to point out after getting a snowman that he parred this hole the last four times he played it and he just doesn’t understand what went wrong this time.
THE NEVER-LOST-A-BALL GUY No matter how far he hits his ball into the woods, this person eventually (after everyone else quits looking) finds his ball, luckily in a spot that gives him a clear shot at the green. This person has never had a penalty. At times, when he misses a putt or easy wedge shot, he may morph into
THE CLUB TOSSER because, quite simply, he can’t tolerate himself. I have always pictured The Club Tosser being fitted into a giant slingshot and being shot completely off the course into some orbital atmosphere, never to appear again.
These are some of the characters you don’t want in your foursome, but in the business of golf you most definitely will run into them as you meander the real estate of the golf course trying to keep your smile bright and your head above water. •