I was right. You are fantastic story tellers.
If you’re just joining us, about a month ago, I hit into a group. Or, more specifically, I rolled into a group; my ball came to rest 10 or more yards short. And it was accidental; I’m as mild as they come. OK, I’m making excuses. It was bad. One of the fellas in the group ahead thought so too — when he walked back to my ball, pivoted 90 degrees and hit my tee shot into the woods. He and I then got creative with our English and sign language on the next tee box before huffing off back toward our games. I know I shouldn’t have done it. I wish I could take it back. But I did it. And I shared my incident with you. Then I asked for your help:
You, dear golf reader, have stories of heated incidents, of dust-ups, of colorful language and colorful characters.
Much, much better ones even. I’m sure of it. And I want to hear them.
And the stories came. For weeks. From all over the globe. They were all great. Much, much better than mine.
And now I’m going to share.
This all is in no way meant to say you should do these things on the golf course. Nor should you expect them to be done to you. But we’re human. Stuff happens (the language gets more flowery below, trust me). We learn. And we sometimes do so by sharing. One of you actually summed it all up pretty well.
“Anyway, hope you read through this, because it is almost therapeutic to share such a ridiculous round of golf with someone who will chuckle and get it.”
With that, here are a few of your stories, with another batch coming over the following days. And I’ll end the series with some advice on how to handle an incident, should it happen to you, or you happen to be the source. I received a good deal of counsel, too. The stories have been edited for brevity and clarity, and the names have been taken off, as the stories are what you should know.
Hope you enjoy.
She made a bet — with the men yelling at her
My story is a little different, as the confrontation was elicited by me and my playing partner waiting until the group in front of us was out of range.
We are both women and single-digit handicappers. No. 3 is a par-5, and after hitting our drives, we were waiting for the group in front of us to exit the green, as we were both capable of hitting it in two, when the two guys behind us roared up in their cart, and one of the fellows began yelling at us, claiming that it was just like women to be talking and not paying attention instead of hitting. I calmly explained that we were waiting because we could reach the green and did not want to endanger anyone. He continued to scream that we should hit or let them through.
Well, that ticked me off, so I said to him, “Here is what we will do: You get out your wood and I’ll get out mine and whoever hits it the farthest gets to go, and I’m hitting first.” I pulled out my 4-wood, hit it solid and landed the ball in the middle of the green. Before I could turn around to clear for him to hit, he was back in his cart, pulling away, and as he did so, his playing partner was telling him, “Don’t ever embarrass me like that again!” Needless to say, we did not see them behind us for the rest of the round.
This is just one of many circumstances I have found myself in over the years, as some men just make unfounded assumptions about women golfers.
He hit into us, made an albatross — then we had some fun
I have a story about a group hitting into us. We had a group behind us that hit into us two times on the front nine. The first ball just rolled up, and the second landed near us. We gave them a look and possibly a gesture. We got to the 9th, which is a dogleg-right par-5. We were putting when I saw a ball land about 50 yards short of the green. It was very dry, and this ball kept moving toward the green. I put the pin back in, and it rolled into the cup for an albatross.
We putt out and head to the next tee, which is hidden from the 9th green. The guy came up to us on the tee and apologized for hitting into us. He asked where the ball ended up. We told him in the cup, which was where we left it. He said, “I know, but really, where did it end up?” We assured him that it went in! He turned to his buddies and yelled, “It was in the cup for a two!” We heard them yell back, “Ya, right,” and they began to argue. He looked back at us to confirm, and we bolted off in the cart and never saw them again.
Just knowing his buddies never believed him seemed like justice.
‘Sir, we’re serious — he can fly it over their carts!’
Was on a guys golf trip a few years back in Myrtle Beach. I don’t remember the course, but it was super-packed that day — we were waiting on every shot! The marshall drove up to our group on a somewhat-long, straight-away par-4 and told us the group ahead was out of range and that we needed to hurry up and tee off. We proceeded to tell him that three of us have already teed off, but our fourth, Pat, couldn’t hit yet. (He’s ‘tour’ long and a really good player.)
The marshall replied, “Bulls***, the group ahead of you is close to 300 yards out, and he needs to hit.”
I told the marshall, “Sir, we’re serious — he can fly it over their carts!”
To which the marshall again started muttering. So Pat said, “F*** it, I’ll go ahead and go to keep things moving”.
As his ball was flying over the group’s heads in the fairway, all four of us were screaming, “Fore” — and the marshall just jumped in his cart and said, “You guys enjoy your round and I will go up and apologize and tell them it was my fault.”
Was this guy making his golf bag chirp at me?
My story takes place in Albuquerque, N.M., where at the time, I was a practicing orthopedic surgeon and had a girlfriend named Sandy, who I was teaching to play golf. My handicap index was 5.6, while hers was somewhere roughly between 50 and 100, assuming we were keeping score, which we NEVER did.
Surgeons don’t learn surgery in the operating room; they learn in a laboratory. And it was my philosophy that golfers shouldn’t learn golf on a golf course; they should learn on a driving range. So, when I played with Sandy, my rules were: We teed off, she placed her ball where mine landed, and then, using a forbidden tee on the fairway, she hit her second shot. Then she got one pitch, maybe a chip, and then two or three putts. I thought that five or six strokes per hole was fair. I initiated that rule out of frustration while watching beginner golfers flailing endlessly out of the woods and slowing play behind them, sometimes even on busy weekends.
So, here’s my story.
It was a beautiful after-work Friday, and we went to the University of New Mexico North Course, a 3,300-yard, nine-hole muni. Sandy brought a friend who was worse than she was, and just before we teed off, a man named Bob approached and asked, as we were a threesome, if he could join us. Like you, we consider ourselves to be generally nice people and readily accepted him.
This was before the Pro V1, so my favorite ball was the Titlist Professional. But Nike had designed a new ball called an Aero that had been marketed as having a new “dimple pattern” that would keep the ball straighter. So, I teed up my Aero on the par-5, hit my drive, and we moved Sandy and her friend’s ball to mine. I hit a 4-iron, just narrowly missed the green, chipped on, marked my ball, waited for everyone and then replaced my ball with my Professional that I wanted to use to putt.
I made par, Bob made a few strokes over, and since I wasn’t keeping score, we went merrily to the par-3 second, where I Aero’d onto the green and two-putted my Professional.
On hole three, a par-4, we were waiting on the tee when a twosome came up behind us and our outsider offered to let them play through, which, because it was a pleasant afternoon, seemed OK to me, but I did mention that I had read in GOLF Magazine that foursomes have preference, otherwise a foursome could be waiting infinitely on the tee while a train of twosomes or threesomes play through.
“Yes,” Bob conceded. “But it’s courteous. And it’s courteous not to cheat.”
Cheating is bad! No argument from me. We let the twosome play through, I think Sandy and her friend teed off first, then Bob and I hit. So, here’s where it gets good.
As I addressed my lob wedge for about an 80-yard pitch, I heard this chirping sound that originated from somewhere behind me. I stepped back, looked around, and the chirping stopped. I addressed my ball again, the chirping started, I struck my pitch, changed balls and made my birdie.
On the par-4 fourth, I hit a nice drive, addressed my 7-iron, again heard that chirping. Then I found the source. As I was on the left side of the fairway, I noted that Bob’s bag chirped when he walked, and stopped when he stopped. I kept my head down and pured my ball over the green. While seething, I lobbed on.
And then, when I went to change my ball to the Professional — and I swear I’m not making this up, — Bob said, “Are you cheating again?”
“Is that what’s bothering you?” I asked, probably not nicely.
I missed my 6-footer and didn’t bother to putt the less-than-two-footer for bogey. I was now back to even-par, except we weren’t keeping score.
Bob walked to the next tee and teed up his ball. I walked over and kicked it. “If you want to play by the rules,” I said, “it’s my honor. And I don’t want to hear that chirping again.”
“Then don’t cheat,” he said.
“How am I cheating?” I asked.
“You’re supposed to finish the hole with the ball you started with,” he said.
“Is the sky blue on whatever planet you’re playing?” I asked.
I majored in sarcasm in college.
“Is there a penalty for changing a ball?” I inquired.
“Two strokes,” he answered.
“We’ve played four holes?” I asked.
“So, if I tell you I’m eight-over par, am I still a cheater?”
He didn’t have an answer.
“But you’re still an a**hole.” I called him an a**hole.
After a few more unpleasantries, Bob looked unhappy. And since I did not wish him to have to play a game as difficult as golf with added anxiety, I suggested that maybe he should catch up to the twosome that passed us a few holes ago. He scurried off.
‘I turned and ran away while screaming: ‘I DON’T KNOW THEM!’’
A new course had opened in my area that was the talk of the town, and even though I was not a very good golfer, I decided to try the course out one sunny weekend afternoon. I was told to join a threesome, and when I arrived at the first tee, I met my new ‘friends,’ who were young, brash and already several drinks in.
I was still a beginner at that time so it was always a bit intimidating to play with random people, but thankfully two of the guys in the group were about as bad as I was, though the other guy was really good. He could bomb the ball, which was impressive to watch — at first.
Our round got going, and we were having a good time. They were pounding the drinks, and I kept politely declining, saying I wanted to wait to have a beer until after the round. Eventually we reached a back-up where the group ahead was still in the fairway waiting for the green to clear.
We were standing on our tee when the bomber guy suddenly announced that he was going to go ahead and hit. At first, I thought he might have been joking, but then next thing I know, his ball was flying through the air and he actually hit over the group that was in the fairway. The group ahead looked back and started yelling while my new ‘friends were cracking up over it.
The next hole was a par-3, and when we got to the tee area, the group ahead was still waiting to hit. They made a comment about the incident on the last hole, and my new “friends” were anything but considerate about what had happened. Words were exchanged, and tension was obviously high.
We continued along. More drinks were consumed. Somewhere after the turn, my new ‘friends’ decided that the funniest thing they had ever heard was to take any chance they could to heckle the group ahead to speed things up. More words were flying back and forth between the groups. It was around this time that I was seriously contemplating ditching the whole thing and just going home, but seeing that I paid a pretty considerable amount of money to play this course, I decided to see it through. The marshals had even come around to tell our group to knock it off.
We eventually reached the 14th hole, and once again, the group ahead was in the fairway waiting for the green to clear. The bomber guy decided he he was going to show the “a**holes” ahead of us. He teed up his ball, I objected, but my objection was met with the sound of the ball cracking off the face of his driver. He again hit over them, and when the group ahead looked back, he was standing there flipping them off.
At this point, I feel it is best to explain a few things about myself. I am what you can call a vertically challenged man. I have never really been in any sort of fight, and I really did not want to be a part of all of this. But what happened next still embarrasses me to this day.
The group ahead were in their carts racing back to our tee box. My new ‘friends’ were getting ready to throw down. One of the carts reached the tee box and doesn’t even come to a complete stop before the occupants jumped out and headed toward the bomber guy with fists flying. The other cart slammed its brakes right in front of me, and a rather sizable individual got out and was heading toward me with clenched fists.
I dropped my driver and turned and ran away while screaming: “I DON’T KNOW THEM!”
It was at this point that I dropped my driver and turned and ran away while screaming: “I DON’T KNOW THEM!” Not my proudest moment — made worse by the fact that this all happened right as the cute beer cart girl drove up to be a witness to my act of bravery.
Eventually the marshals showed up to break up the fight, and the police were called. I pleaded my innocence to the whole thing.
A cruel and unusual punishment
My incident started out ugly but wound up giving us all a few laughs and a good time. We were on the green of a short par-4 at Golden Pheasant Golf Course in Lumberton, N.J. As we were getting ready to putt, a ball landed on the green and scared the crap out of our threesome. The guy who hit it was in a twosome who had been following us the entire round. The pace of play was quick so we never held them up.
After the ball landed, one of our guys screamed back at the twosome, “What the f***?” The two guys jumped in their cart and drove up to us. The gent who hit the ball jumped out and apologized profusely. He said it was the first time they played the course, and they didn’t think they could reach the green.
I immediately took pity on the guy, congratulated him on a great shot — and then I said that for his punishment, we were going to stand there and watch him putt for eagle. We all cracked up laughing, and we did stand there while he putted.
He rimmed the cup for a tap-in birdie.
‘You wanna get nuts, then let’s get nuts’
This happened probably 10 years ago or so. I live in Wisconsin, and we had an unseasonably warm January, and there is a course near me that is open anytime it’s over 40 degrees and the fairways and greens are clear enough of snow to play. So having an afternoon off work, I decided to play nine holes, I plunked down my money and off I went.
A couple holes in, I caught up to a threesome, all of whom were, let’s say, struggling with their games. So I waited patiently in the fairway while they chopped their chips across the green, got on, then chit-chatted, plumb-bobbed and checked their lines from both sides of the hole, only to miss the putts by 4 feet — then start the whole process over. At this point, I’m beginning to get annoyed but trying not to be bothered since they watched me walk up the fairway and will obviously let me play through.
I finished up the hole and walked to the next tee box, where they looked at me and peeled out in their carts down the path. No matter how fast I finished a hole and got to the next box, they would just get off the box faster to stay ahead of me. Then slowed down after the tee shots. This continued for the rest of the round. And by the 9th hole, I was fuming.
Enter the altercation.
The 9th is an easy little par-4, and in spite of the guys in front of me, I was playing great golf. I was one-under through eight.
So on 9, I piped a drive. And had wedge in hand, with visions of my first-ever subpar round. I pulled my wedge left of the green. Completely confused by how bad that swing was, I dropped another ball down — for the first time all day — and hit it to the middle of the green. Still shaking my head, I walked to my first ball and chipped on to 3 feet. On the green, I picked up my second ball and went to tap in when the dude who was working the clubhouse ran out the door and started screaming at me.
What the bleep do you think you’re doing? Who the bleep do you think you are? You paid to play one ball; this isn’t a driving range. And the phrase that I still remember and set me off: When you get off that green, you better get your bleeping stupid a** in here and pay for a second round since you’re playing two balls.
With that, I remember my reply:
“You wanna get nuts, then let’s get nuts.”
With that, I remember my reply: “You wanna get nuts, then let’s get nuts.”
And I yelled back: “You can kiss my a** if you think I’m paying you any more. You know what? I’m putting for a 35. Those guys in front of me each shot at least 50, so f*** you. Based on what they did, you owe me at least 15 shots.”
I then hit my putt off the back of the green, stomped over, grabbed a 9-iron and pumped my ball back over the green and into the fairway, then started hitting it back and forth over the green. When I got back up to the green, the dude yelled, what the bleep are you doing — to which I said, “I got all day and nowhere better to be so I’m getting every one of my 15 bleeping shots.”
Eventually he went back inside. (Apparently I out-crazied him.)
In the end, I tapped in for a crowd-pleasing 19.
The kicker is, a few years later, I ended up joining that club — and the guy I got into it with is the owner/PGA pro. He remembered the incident but didn’t specifically remember me. I was standing next to him in the bar one day when he told the story of some crazy a**hole who kept hitting his ball back and forth on 9.