Golf Humor: Dear PAR
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Recently I was playing my favorite course when one
of our group hit a particularly ugly shot that could
have put a lot of hurt on another player playing
a different hole. It missed by a fraction but caused
this guy to hit the deck. If someone hadn't yelled
out FORE! In time it could have been bad. Normally
this would cause unrestrained snickering among us
but the person who was almost hit had such a hissy-fit
that we had to hold back. My question is this: If
the ball does not actually hit someone is it ok
to bray like a donkey?
—Laughing In Longview
My advice to you is to wait until you see the victim's
reaction before you let loose with your hilarity.
Sounds like this guy didn't think it was very funny.
While you may be laughing with relief that no one
got hurt, it could be mis-construed as a joke that
came at their expense. Anyone who has ever been
clobbered by an errant shot knows that it hurts
like heck and you wouldn't wish it on your worst
enemy. Some dimples are considered cute but not
the red, painful ones.
The other day my playing partner and I had a match
with a twosome that we were paired with by the starter.
We got beat real bad and ended up paying two complete
strangers the money we had budgeted for lunch. They
weren't THAT good. Why is it that every time we
get paired with someone we don't know we try to
play a game with which we are not familiar, i.e.
swinging out of our shoes and missing short putts
we would almost always make?
—Hungry in Houston
Now let me get this straight – you put up
your lunch money against two guys who turned out
to be better players – or did you just fold
like a cheap suit at the first sign of trouble?
If , as you suggested, this is a regular occurrence
you may want to slip the starter a few bucks to
find you some hackers. Next time keep your eye on
the guys tuning up on the range before you start
so you have some idea of who you are dealing with
in case they end up paired with you. If you can't
do this and they come on you cold just make sure
you have enough funds to lose without going hungry.
Only guys like Trevino can get away with playing
a $5. buck Nassau with $1. in their pocket.
My course at home has a par 5 with a lake on the
left that I always seem to hit into off the tee.
I hit a fade 99% of the time and on this hole I
seem to always hit a duck hook. It makes me furious!
I refuse to lay up short of the lake because I know
I can get there in two with a good drive. Why is
it that on this particular hole my ball is drawn
to the hazard like steel to a magnet?
—Wet in Wisconsin
Well, it sounds like you are setting yourself up
for failure right from the get go. You didn't specify
that there might be trouble on the right as well
so I will assume that there is some room in that
direction. Everyone has certain holes that give
them fits and it's the good player who knows how
to deal with them. Next time you are faced with
this situation ask yourself this question: Can I
sacrifice some distance with the tee shot to make
sure I don't go in the drink? If so, set up to hit
the ball so far right that there is no chance of
going into the hazard. If that is not an option
close your eyes at impact and hope for the best.
I have a problem with lost balls. It seems like
every time I hit one in the rough I end up having
to drop with a penalty because I can't find the
darn thing. It costs me an average of four strokes
per round and is getting expensive. Most of my playing
partners find their balls even if they are hit so
far off-line as to be ridiculous. Is it just my
bad luck or is there some other explanation?
—Lost in Louisiana
Luck doesn't have much to do with it. Some guys
are able to find their balls just because they are
so far off-line that no one is around to tell otherwise.
In some circles this may be termed cheating but
I would hesitate to accuse anyone of that. You might
try to keep an eye on the line of flight instead
of reacting with disgust and turning away from these
errant shots. My advice is to not worry so much
about lost balls – they will be returned to
you in like-new condition on the first tee of Pearly
My handicap is 14 and I have been making some progress
with improving it but in a tournament situation
I can't even come close to playing to it. I know
this is probably nerves but I don't feel THAT nervous
when I tee it up. My friends tell me that I have
a completely different swing under pressure but
I feel like I am playing my usual game. I hit some
good shots but end up with a high score due to some
really big numbers, especially on the easier holes.
What can I do to reverse this situation?
—Turned Off in Tournaments
Dear Turned Off,
This is a problem that has plagued golfers since
Tom Morris was in diapers. It may be that you are
putting so much pressure on yourself to perform
that your normally decent swing develops glitches
that only manifest themselves in tournament play.
If it is any comfort you are not alone – even
really good players experience this. Of course,
it's possible that you will never overcome your
nervousness and that you are doomed to this malady
for life- sorry! If all else fails, work on RAISING
your handicap- so high that even on your worst days
you can play to it.
It seems that my foursome is always behind the worst
players on the course. We end up waiting and waiting
and waiting some more and it is driving us all crazy.
Then the course marshal ends up telling US that
we are out of position because we hang back to give
these hackers room. There have been many occasions
where we can't finish the round because we run out
of daylight. These people don't seem to have a clue
about what they are doing out there, endless practice
swings, hitting another ball, parking carts all
over the place, you name it. My group always tries
to play ready golf- to heck with who is away- and
is always aware of players behind us. Why is it
that my friends and I are cursed with morons playing
in the group ahead?
—Waiting In Williamsburg
Ah, the age- old question of slow play. What causes
it and what do you do about it? If I had the answer
to that I could make a zillion bucks! I use the
analogy of the person in the fast lane on the freeway
that barely goes the speed limit and won't move
over for anyone or anything. Why do they do this?
Ego? Stubborness? Who the heck knows. All I know
for sure is that these types of people have managed
to take a great game and ruin it with their lack
of courtesy to others – and a simple refusal
to realize that there are other people out there
besides themselves. My foursome used to employ the
"fire a shot across their bows" method to get some
attention but this is a dangerous approach and should
only be used as a last resort. Too bad we can't
just declare them "movable obstructions" and get
on with our games.
The other day I was enjoying my usual mediocre round
of golf with some friends when I found a $10. bill
near the 8th green. I put it in my pocket and proceeded
to the 9th tee with a smile on my face. I hadn't
quite decided what to do about this new-found wealth,
turn it in or use it to buy a round at the turn
when lo and behold I looked down and there was a
twenty! I do consider myself a lucky person but
this was ridiculous! I half expected to see more
bills floating around as I walked up the ninth fairway
but that seemed to be the extent of it. I decided
to up my bets at the turn since I was flush with
extra cash but that's when things started to go
wrong. Long story short, I lost what I had found
and then some. To make matters worse some guy approached
me in the parking lot later and asked if I had found
some money. I ended up giving this person thirty
dollars and ended the day pretty much in the hole.
Should I have kept my mouth shut and kept the money
or did I do the right thing?
—Lost It in Louisville
Dear Lost It,
I guess a lot depends on how you felt after you
gave the money back. Did you feel good about it
or did it just add to the lousy feeling you got
after playing like a schlump and losing your bets?
If it made you feel better after returning the money
to its rightful owner then you have one answer.
If you find out later that one of your playing partners
set you up with a phony victim to fleece you of
this thirty bucks then you have more than enough
reason to feel bad about the whole thing. Either
way you may have learned an important lesson about
found funds – the best way to double your
money is to fold it twice and put it in your pocket.
I have this annoying habit of losing clubs. Besides
being expensive to replace when I can't find them
it is really annoying to have to hold up my group
by going back two or three holes to locate a wedge
that I laid down by a green somewhere. I do this
almost every time I play and it is embarrassing
to say the least. The last time I mis-placed TWO
clubs and one of them was my favorite 7-iron. Even
when my playing partners ask me if I have all my
clubs before teeing off on the next hole I still
have this problem. It has become so bad that the
lost and found barrel in the pro shop has my name
on it! What can I do to remedy this unfortunate
—Clubless In Seattle
Mis-placing a club is one thing but doing it every
time you play is a very sad situation indeed. It
not only makes you the butt of many jokes but reflects
a character flaw that probably shows up in other
aspects of your life – not just on the course.
Do you lose your car keys often? When you come out
of the grocery store are half of your purchases
still sitting on the counter? Assuming that you
are wise enough (based on past experience) to have
your name and address on each club you may want
to try this: post a sticky note on your golf bag
that asks this question: hey dummy! Have you got
all your sticks?
Recently I was invited to play in a member guest
event at a friends club. My partner and I were paired
with another member and his guest and we teed off
on a beautiful day of sunshine and blue skies. It
wasn't long before I noticed that the other member
was improving his lies and doing some things that
were definitely against the rules, local or otherwise.
My partner was either oblivious to this or was looking
the other way and on a few occasions these "moves"
cost us the hole. At the turn I had had enough and
I brought this matter to the attention of my partner.
He reacted in a way that took me by surprise by
saying that he knew all along what was going on
but was reluctant to say anything because this member
just happened to be his boss. I suggested that we
confront him immediately but my friend refused,
saying in effect, that it was only a game and that
he could be hurt by bringing accusations against
this guy. So, not wanting to get my friend in trouble
I shut up and as a consequence we ended up losing
when we should have won easily. Should I have said
something anyway and jeopardized my friend's job
or was it wise to keep my mouth shut about the whole
—Cheated In Chandler
No one likes a cheater and in situations like this
it is difficult to know the right thing to do. One
of the things that make golf so great is that it
is a self-regulated game and most people adhere
to the rules. Unfortunately there are those who
bend, or in some cases, break those rules and this
type of behavior is reflected in their personal
life as well. It should be enough for you to know
that you play the game honestly and let the rub
o the green fall where it may. Actually your friend
was put in a more difficult situation than you were
by knowing what was going on and not being able
to do much about it. Had it been my boss I would
probably have matched him move for move and made
sure he lost anyway!
I have this friend that I play with occasionally
that is a terrible golfer. He is a nice guy normally
but he has this really annoying habit of giving
me unsolicited swing advice every chance he gets.
I routinely whip him by more than 20 shots every
time we play but he just can't resist the urge to
"instruct" me when I hit a shot that doesn't come
off the way I want it to. If I do this it causes
that and if I don't do this, blah, blah, blah. I
often catch myself before I utter a profanity when
I hit a bad shot because I know what is coming,
good ol Bill is going to tell me exactly what went
wrong. Without pointing out the obvious to him by
saying, "what is a lousy golfer like you got to
say that will have any bearing on MY game" what
can I do to stop him without hurting his feelings?
—Sick Of Bill in Billings
Dear Sick of Bill,
Boy, this is a tough one. You must be a saint to
put up with this. When I hit a bad shot I am usually
mad at myself and it wouldn't take much of that
type of "advice" for me to lose my cool completely.
What is his reaction when he hits one of his lousy
shots and you point out some on-course cure? Does
he listen to you or just say he is having a bad
day? Or maybe you are so put off by his un-asked
for advice that you don't offer any of your own-
not that it would help that kind of player anyway.
I suggest you not worry about hurting his feelings
because guys like this usually don't have any –
they are such know-it-alls that anything you say
will not have much of an effect anyway. Next time
this happens just throw down your club and yell
SHUT THE HELL UP.
I love to play golf but some of the guys in my regular
foursome are a bunch of whiners and complainers.
EVERY single shot that is not perfect (which are
most of them) they start in on "what's wrong with
me? – I NEVER play this bad, what am I doing
WRONG?" That type of thing. It drives me crazy.
When I hit a bad shot I bear down and try to hit
the next one better. Also, I don't blame the greens
for being bumpy, I don't blame the wind for being
windy and I don't blame the superintendent for "unfair"
pins. AND, I don't complain that somebody or something
moved in my backswing. Is it just me or do other
golfers experience this? It has gotten to the point
where I don't want to play with these guys any more.
Whining seems to be a congenital problem these days
and nothing is anyone's fault. If I say something
that contradicts their belief that something other
than themselves CAUSED their bad shot it is met
with a cool silence. I like these guys and off the
course they are pretty normal. How do I cope with
—Whined Out in Washington
Dear Whined Out,
So, do you enjoy playing with a bunch of lawyers?
Just kidding! If these people are friends it may
be something that you just have to live with, and
some people are just more comfortable thinking that
outside influences are causing their bad shots.
In my foursome we had this problem for a time but
after we stopped reacting to the complaints they
kind of just went away. Of course it may have had
something to do with our shunning these kinds of
guys for a game too. Nobody likes to listen to a
whiner, especially on the golf course. Next time
this happens, calmly sidle up to the offender and
whisper, "could be worse, I hear tomorrow it's supposed
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