HOWARD WARD: No More Weekend Golf for This Guy
They say that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Count me among the doomed.
I learned a long time ago that golfers who are fortunate enough to be able to play during the week should never set foot on a course on a weekend unless it's for an organized club event. You know the reasons why -- the courses are crowded with people who have to work for a living during the week.
As I've written before, we're a spoiled bunch of golfers at my club. We have a group of guys who are retired, semi-retired or enjoy flexible hours and are able to play golf during the week. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are days when the "gangsome" is usually at full strength, ranging from eight to 20 guys who make up teams and play a modified Stableford system.
It's a fun way to get in your appointed rounds, and there's very little aggravation with which to deal. The club sets aside a few tee-times beginning at noon, and three hours later, we're in the 19th hole figuring up the bets, laughing at each other's fallibilities and trying to figure out what delicacy we can take home from the snack bar to help pacify the BW.
But there are occasions when the mind wanders and one forgets lessons from the past. Such a time came for me last Sunday when I decided to take the BW to the course for a quick after-church nine that would serve as a warm-up for the pro-am I was playing at Little River on Monday.
We went to the first tee at 1:30 and found a foursome teeing off with a twosome waiting behind them. OK, no problem, we were in no particular hurry. The North Carolina-Georgetown game didn't come on until 5 o'clock.
So, prepared to be patient and just enjoy a nice afternoon, we teed off behind the two, who apparently were preparing their games for the Masters as they played from the 7,000-yard back tees. Unfortunately, their games didn't match their aspirations, and a lot of time was spent searching for errant golf balls.
Almost an hour later, we had completed three holes, but we hadn't lost our patience. The two golfers -- as bad as they were -- were waiting on the foursome in front of them. While we were putting out on the third green, the foursome waved the twosome to play through. To our surprise, the twosome declined.
Then, as we entered our carts and waited for them to tee off before riding up on them, we saw two other golfers coming toward the twosome from the direction of the clubhouse.
"No!" I said.
"Yep," the BW said as the new arrivals drove to the tee, shook hands with the other two and prepared to warm up. While the first two hit, the others finished their stretching, then teed off, hitting mulligans by the way, as we sat less than 30 yards from them. Not once did either of the four look our way, much less ask if we'd like to play through.
From that point on, we waited and watched as four hackers hit balls, looked for balls, and totally ignored us.
The BW, aware of my normal impatience, kept waiting for a fuse to blow. But I was calm, serene (outwardly), and determined to finish the nine holes. Two hours and 15 minutes later we have putted on the eighth hole and are once again sitting patiently in our cart, waiting for the foursome to tee off on No. 9.
Finally, one of the guys acknowledged our presence. "Would you like to play through?" he asked.
Aloud, I said, "No thanks, we're only playing one more hole." I cannot tell you in this column what I said under my breath.
So that's the lesson I relearned last week. Don't play on weekends. Leave the course for those who work regular hours and can get out only on those days.
If we forget, or tempt fate by showing up on a Saturday or Sunday, we deserve to spend two and a half hours on nine holes that would normally take half that long.
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