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If you’ve played golf for any time at all, you’ve run across some very annoying people. I’ve played for 40 years (oh my gosh, has it been that long?), and I’ve seen it all. I’ve played in league days, in charity events, in interclub matches and sometimes with strangers on business and pleasure trips.
Golf is not like going to the movies or out to lunch. In those cases, you usually pick out the folks you want to spend time with.
In golf, “ya takes what ya gets.” If you are part of a golf league, I’m sure there are a few golfers who regularly irritate you. If you travel and golf with strangers, you will occasionally meet up with individuals you would never ask to have lunch with you.
Here is “Golf Gab’s 10 Most Annoying Golfers.” Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
1. Charlie the Curser. This guy knows every four-letter word and does not hesitate to use them liberally. Missed putts, over-ambitious wedges, pulls, pushes, snap-hooks, banana-ball slices, skulls, chili-dips, chunks into ponds, any of the unplanned catastrophes of golf will result in a string of expletives.
Sometimes women swear, but most often it’s the guys. The most mild-mannered Casper Milquetoast can turn into dragon mouth on the golf course.
2. Slow Sally and Creeping Craig. These golfers are s-l-o-w. They walk slowly, sauntering to the tee box, strolling down the fairways, getting out their transits and circling the green several times whenever they have a putt of more than 8 inches. They never take extra clubs with them for an approach shot, so when they shank the ball into a bunker, they must stroll 40 yards back to their cart for the sand wedge. Argh!
3. Fashion Plate Frannie. This gal comes to the course immaculately groomed with matching shirt and shorts or skirt, coordinated socks, visor and shoes. Her eyelashes are curled and lustrous, her lipstick is perfectly applied, there’s a hint of blush on her cheeks. Her hair is coiffed, not combed.
Frannie was a member of a club I belonged to years ago. She would show up on the hottest day of the year, looking cool and comfortable. At the end of the round, the rest of us came in with hair matted and frizzed, knees scratched and bloody from fishing balls out from under spruce trees, dark bands of sweat under our armpits, mosquito bites on our legs, mascara down our cheeks and no lipstick at all.
Frannie came in looking as good as she did when she arrived. In retrospect, she was probably an alien with an invisible-force field around her that protected her from the elements that the rest of us endured.
4. Tom the Teacher. This guy insists on giving lessons as he plays golf, especially to his long-suffering wife.
“You’re standing too close to the ball,” or, “You’re aimed to the left (or right),” or, “Change your grip,” or, “Change your stance,” and (the worst), “You’re looping at the top of your back swing.”
It’s never the guy with the single-digit handicap who gives the advice. Those golfers know you work out issues on the driving range, not in the middle of a game.
5. Bobby the Ball Hawker. This guy cannot pass a pond without glancing around the edges to see whether he can fish out an old x-out Callaway. He gets his ball retriever re-gripped every year and has baskets and baskets of golf balls in his garage.
He’s a retired lawyer with a nice investment portfolio but has not bought a new golf ball in 10 years.
6. Tillie or Tommy the Talker. Some people talk too much on the golf course (long-suffering Gene might put me in this category). No one wants you to rehash yesterday’s Virginia Tech game while lining up a putt. No one really cares about your new manicurist or the color you selected for the drapes in the family room or the new movie you saw last week. Or the cruise you just took, or the great new widget that applies caulking so very well. The same goes for your new lawnmower, your grandchildren, husband, ex-husband, graduations, baptisms or an upcoming visit by your fire-breathing mother-in-law.
It’s all fascinating stuff, and I’d really love to hear it, just save it for the 19th hole.
7. Eddie the Cellphone Addict. Unless you are the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a renowned surgeon with a difficult case in recovery, or the sheriff, please leave your cellphone at home or in your car. Or at least put it on vibrate.
Gene and I played golf at a very excellent club in Florida once with a guy who traded stocks for the entire 18 holes. He was a broker with a bunch of deals on the table. He should never have ventured out on the course that day.
8. Practice Swing Sammy. This golfer takes numerous practice swings on every shot: drives, fairway woods, irons, chips and putts. He stands outside the bunker to take several swings before he walks into the bunker.
Sometimes, Sammy takes several more practice swings after he hits the ball. Don’t know whether this guy ever goes to the range, but maybe he should.
9. No-Rules Nellie. This gal is out for a walk, not golf. She moves the ball in the fairway and the rough. She kicks it out from behind the tree. If there’s a dead branch lying on her ball in the hazard, she removes the branch.
She can’t keep score correctly and if you call her on any infractions, she huffs, “You’re too serious! It’s only a game!”
Yeah. Like baseball (three strikes and you’re out), football (four tries to move the ball 10 yards), tennis (cannot hit the ball over the line), ice hockey (no cross-checking, high sticking or unnecessary roughness).
10. Willie the Whiner. For this guy (or gal), nothing is ever perfect. It’s too hot, too cold or too windy. The greens are too fast, too slow or there’s too much break. The fairways need mowing, the sand in the bunkers is too fluffy. The rough is too deep. There are too many trees, too many ponds. And where’s the cart girl? When she comes, she doesn’t have his brand of beer or soda, his kind of candy bar or snack.
Willie, shut up already. The rest of us are just happy to be out here playing golf
Golf Gab groaner
I went to visit my daughter last week and asked whether I could borrow a newspaper.
“Newspaper?” she asked incredulously. “This is the 21st century. No one reads newspapers anymore. They’re a waste of money and a waste of trees. Here, take my iPad.”
I can say this: It was a bit noisier, but that darn fly never knew what hit it.
Elsa Bonstein is a golf columnist for The Beacon. Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her at facebook.com/elsa.bonstein.