I’ve been working at golf courses for right at the past 10 years. I’ve seen them thrive and struggle, and risen from the lowliest peon to the man in charge. Each course I’ve worked had its own traits, its unique demographic of golfers, and its own challenges specific to that course. But for all these differences there are still some universalities, some patterns present in the courses where I’ve spent my time, and, I would imagine just about every course in operation. In some ways this predictability is good because consistency is nice when forecasting business success, but it also gets old. It’s annoying going from course to course and encountering the same dumb shit. This article won’t put a dent in the dumb shit pile because it’s going to take a lot more than 10 page views to create change, but it will go a long way to providing me some catharsis and helping prevent me strangling the next person that walks into the pro shop. So, in the name of public safety, I’d like to take a moment and dispel some common golf myths.
It’s okay to tee off on the back nine if it’s busy: This happens once a week. Some jackwagon walks in off the street without a tee time wanting to hit the box right away and when I tell him it’s going to be any longer than a 10 minute wait he
asks declares, “can I just go off the back.” I get a lot of stupid questions, but this one always makes me significantly angrier than any other. No, you can’t go off the back, for several reasons. First, it’s 1:30 on a Saturday and I’ve been sending play out since 6:15 this morning. Contrary to what you might think, we haven’t been holding times and pairings vacant on the off chance some idiot might walk up midday and demand access to the course. Second, I’ve got about 100 people on the front nine, they MIGHT not want one freakin’ guy cutting in front of them and knocking the overall pace of play off about 15 minutes. I don’t know though, I don’t plan to ask them. Finally, what is this guy going to do when he turns from 18 to 1 and, surprise, the front side is still busy? Again, not holding tee times back just so you can disrupt my tee sheet.
Golf Courses weather significantly different than the rest of the world: This one came up a lot this fall thanks to the third 500 year flood in Austin, TX in the last five years. For some reason everyone always thinks the only thing a golf course needs to not be cart path only is a sunny day. Let me take a moment to digress and dispel another myth real quick. Moisture is not the sole reason for cart path only. It could be cart path only because maintenance just put a chemical down, or because it’s hot and the grass might burn from the cart tires, or because it’s wet, or maintenance just overseeded, or, literally, any reason in the world. Cart path only is arbitrary and linked to a whole catalogue of reasons besides how wet the ground is, yet the second the sun comes out every golfer thinks the inches of rainfall just magically disappears and the ground goes back to the consistency of a basketball court. Let me help you out, the next time it rains for ten days straight, step out into your yard on the first sunny day and ask yourself if you’d drive your car through your lawn. If the answer is no, then it’s probably going to be cart path only.
Course employees want your old head cover or whatever other shit you lost: We get accused of theft once a day. We might be charged with stealing a head cover that’s old enough to buy beer, or a pullover with more stains than a bartender’s rag, or a club, a rangefinder, sunglasses, pretty much anything someone can lose we get labeled guilty for making it go missing. On behalf of every golf course employee everywhere in the world let me make myself perfectly clear when I say, we don’t want your old shit. We have our own old shit. I don’t know what it is about golf course staff that makes customers think we’re kin to raccoons and we just dig around in bags and carts and on the range looking for shiny shit but we don’t. That head cover you lost is probably in the creek, or it’s stuck in the bottom of your bag, or, here’s a wild thought, it’s in the damn trash where it belongs because it has bird shit on it. I’ll never understand a person’s line of thinking when they come to me and tell me they lost something then proceed to get mad at me for not being urgent enough about finding it. If it’s your item, it belongs to you, you’re the one whose care it was in, and you couldn’t care enough to not lost the damn thing, why am I now being made to make it my top priority? If y’all really think we’re just the descended relatives of pirates and Vikings and other plunderers and looters then keep up with your crap and you won’t have to worry about our sticky fingers grabbing that 30 year old Packers hoodie you lost.
Golf Courses can predict the weather: I’ve been asked whether it’s going to rain, whether it’s going to get warmer or colder, whether the wind’s going to stop, what the weather is going to be anywhere from tomorrow to two weeks from now, what time the sun rises and sets, and when it’ll be dark or light. Every time I do the same thing. I make a big theatrical production of pulling out the exact same iPhone I have as millions of other people on the planet and consulting the exact same weather app that comes pre installed on the exact same iPhone as millions of other people on the planet. I don’t know why, but people assume just because our industry operates outside we’re tapped into NOAA or the NWS or whoever the hell else massive government organization’s weather satellites so we can get up to the minute forecasts with pinpoint precision. We’re not. Hell half the time we’re not even looking at forecasts because we have plenty of other things to tell us what the weather will probably do like, for example, what the grass is doing, or how the tee sheet looks, or, and stay with me here because this is a little radical, walking our asses outside and looking up. Stop asking me what the damn weather is and stop getting mad at me when I don’t know if it’s going to be raining during your 2:00pm tee time.
You are the only one at the course: This is a big one, big enough that I should have led with it. This applies to every aspect of a golfer’s visit, whether it’s their phone call to book the tee time, their transaction in the pro shop, warming up at the range, making their way around the course and coming into the grill either before, at the turn, or after their round. People get mad when they can’t get a foursome out at 7:30 on a Saturday in March because they forget someone else might want to do the same thing. Or they get frustrated when they show up two minutes before they’re supposed to be on the box and I’m checking out the group that got there an hour early. They get mad when they get to the range and all the spots are taken, throw fits when we pair them up in a cart with a rando because it’s a weekend and we’re busy and we’re going to need every cart we have. They slam their phone down in disgust after they’re told the reason they’re on hole 5 and haven’t seen the beverage cart since they teed off is because we have 180 people on the course and she’s stopping at every group so no, I will not be sending her from the 13th green to your fairway, they huff at the idea that that “quick 18,” they’d been banking on doesn’t look too good because for whatever unknown reason others seem to enjoy playing when it’s 75 and sunny. I know this goes against the very way in which we view the world but I can assure you you will never be the only person at the golf course. Even if you’re the only golfer there’s still an entire crew of staff wondering what the hell is wrong with you that you’d show up to play when it’s 40 degrees with a 10mph wind.
I left a few off, I’ll probably do this piece again when another set of trends and unbelievable myths persists rampantly enough through our population of customers. For now though give these a read and try to give yourself enough time to really process and come to terms with these once thought absolutes being nothing more than the delusional fantasies of selfish, unrealistic, and immature golfers.
As always if you enjoyed this piece you’re more than welcome to leave everything from one penny to enough dollars to empty a Nigerian prince’s savings account. I’ll appreciate whatever it is because everything sustains my fragile self esteem and makes me think I’m not the worst writer whoever wrote.