If you’re deep in the muni game, or just a person that occasionally picks up the sticks, then this has happened to you. It’s the first Saturday morning in weeks that the weather is respectable, and you’re not obligated to work, study or attend a social function that will have catastrophic consequences on your bank account. You get the this text: “Golf? Found a deal for XYZ Course that you normally can’t afford.” In. So in. It rained last night, so you know a low score is out there.
You’re feeling pretty good because you managed to only drink four or five Busch Lights last night. You get there early enough to roll a few putts. Naturally, your buddy is a little late and looks like shit run over twice. You can only imagine what the pro shop guy is thinking as he rings him up for his round, box of ProV1s, and a shirt just for shits and gigs. As you make generic smalltalk with the starter at the first tee (“Course looks great!”), you’re startled by the sound of a golf cart pulling up behind you. No. Shit no. You’ve got yourself a random.
“Mind if I join you?” You’re probably thinking, “I don’t know this guy, and I don’t want to know this guy. I certainly don’t want to play golf with him.” That’s completely valid, but you’re only rolling 2 deep, and this guy was bold enough to walk on solo. It’s called assumption of risk; look it up. Now, depending on what kind of game you have, or what kind of nefarious activities you took part in the night before, you may be very hesitant to have some random dude thrown into your group. You haven’t played much recently, and your short game is looking a little suspect.
Assuming that this guy has any situational awareness whatsoever, he knows that you want nothing to do with him. It’s obvious from the moment you begrudgingly shake his hand and introduce yourself. So forced. So tense.
Like it or not, you’re stuck with him. Best case scenario: He’s a good player that doesn’t mind that you and your group are pounding some stray beers you smuggled in via your golf bag. Hopefully, he’s not offended by your low-rent sense of humor and unrelenting pursuit of the cart girl that’s possibly still in high school. Kidding, she’s probably in college. Maybe he won’t be creeped out when you pee 10 yards from the tee box when there’s a restroom within a reasonable distance. You may even land a new golfing buddy, which when you’re in your late-twenties, is a very valuable commodity since your usual squad is raising children or dealing with significant others that think 5 hours for a round of golf is just absurd.
This last weekend, we met a dude that may have just worked his way into the rotation. He’s older, probably 40, and has a wife and 2 kids at home. On the surface, it appears to be a dreadful guy to bring into the inner-golf circle, but hear me out. This guy obviously has some kind of agreement with his wife that allows him to get a full round in on the weekend. That’s all I’m looking for. Also, the fact that he’s about a decade older than me with a family means that he’s probably not looking to shotgun a beer on every hole. I have enough friends looking to do that, and it’s time that I balance that out. Golf is all this guy had left, and I know I’m well on my way to joining him. Perfect.
You may even get paired up with some guy that lived the dream and put in a few years on the Hooters Tour before realizing that he’d never obtain the coveted tour card. Nothing to be ashamed of. I’d take a 6 month run on a mini-tour over a guaranteed career middle management position for the next 5 years. This guy’s a good enough player to offer up a few tips on your swing, but only if you ask, of course. He could even be your ringer for that scramble that’s coming up. You’ll need to know a guy like this if you want to have any chance to compete with that group of sketchballs that probably cheat and win every year.
Then there’s the other scenario: Your group is joined by a that’s actually thinks he’s getting some kind of exercise in by walking the course. Ugh. This guy is trying too hard, and it’s really throwing off your group dynamic. He even had the nerve to call you out for bringing your beer on the green. If your lucky, this guy will either play ahead after 9 because he’s so disgusted, or just quit altogether because he’s “got somewhere to be.” That’s coincidentally best case scenario, as well.
In reality, I don’t necessarily mind a random being thrown into the group because I’m not completely anti-social. I can deal with the classic forced conversation lines like, “What kind of business are you in?”, “How about Spieth?”, or just being overly complimentary for what was probably just an average shot. You know what I’m talking about:
Random rolls put about 2 inches short of the hole– “Ohh, you had the line. Nice roll.”
Random puts one on the front fringe leaving a 35 foot putt or chip– “Where’d that wind come from?!?”
Random hits a fairway. Nothing more, nothing less-“There it is! You’ll have a good angle from there!”
It rarely ends up being as bad as you think, and in the end, you can always use this guy as the reason you shot 95. Maybe you’ll even make a new business contact, or something like that. Build that network a little bit. .
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