I was meeting a couple of clients the other day for a semi-private session. They had come early to warm up and were hitting balls with other players on the range. As they finished their warm up, I could see they were chatting with a couple of members before heading my way. When they arrived, they were laughing and commenting about the dialog they just had with their fellow range mate. “So true” they were saying….”so true!”
I had to ask them to share what sage advice was “so true” that it had them nodding and chuckling all the way across the range. They told me that they had struck up a lovely conversation with the older gentleman. They were talking about their golfing adventures, places they’ve played and the shots they’ve hit. Then the older gentleman was prompted to share the story that made them laugh.
He told them that long ago, he was playing with a buddy of his. A regular player in his foursome and someone he played all the time. And over the years, he watched him time and time again get pretty “steamed” when he’d start hitting bad shots. If it became a constant theme throughout their round together, he knew that it was only a matter of time before this guy would blow a gasket! This of course meant a litany of profanity with the very likelihood of a tossed club. Finally, the moment arrived…his buddy got crazy mad and started his rant. After the rant had finished, the gentleman, tired of seeing the same old tantrum, turned to his buddy and in a very thoughtful yet matter of fact tone said, “you know something? You’re not good enough to get THAT mad!” Telling the story to my clients made him chuckle too! They talked about how he told his pal it’s only a game and games are supposed to be fun!
The story reminded me of a time when I played with someone who like the player above was pretty even keel until shots started going this way and that. This guy was definitely a “club thrower!” He was a golfer in his early 30’s who when not golfing, was a pilot for a major airline. On this particular day, he was enjoying a round of golf with his dad. It was his dad whom I knew and it was he who invited me to play. So we got a fourth player and we were all ready for a great day on the course. Everyone was pleasant and cordial and very happy to be playing golf. The day started perfectly. The lowest score had the honors on the next tee. We gladly offered compliments of “nice shot” or “nice putt” when applicable. A very pleasant round golf indeed! It was the 5th hole, a par 5 slight dogleg to the right with water on the right side and trees on the left that the club tossing took place. After his tee shot, he decided to go for the green in two and promptly put it in the water. He dropped a ball then proceeded to do it again…then again. As I walked toward my ball, I saw out of the corner of my eye a shiny flash in the sky. I turned to see a club bouncing on the ground toward his golf bag. He had tossed it about 15 yards and it hit his bag before coming to rest. Yikes! Three holes later, we’re standing on a tee box and his Dad turns to me, points up to the tree to the right of the tee box and says, “see that tree there? Another guy at this club tossed his driver up there and it never came down.” “He had to send someone up there to get it!” I figured it must be something in the air at this course that prompted people to throw their clubs!
The rest of the round was somewhat uneventful but I definitely played with a constant eye on the pilot. We never played together again and I always thought about what airline I would fly when I had to book a flight.
The moral of the story is….do your best to stay even keel. You’ll enjoy your round a bit more and so will the people playing with you. And…if you play golf with a pilot who gets crazy mad after hitting a ball or two in the water, then proceeds to throw his/her club…think twice about what airline to fly or enjoy the countryside and take a train!