Last Sunday I spent some time at the driving range prepping myself for the pending golf season. It was a cool, cloudy day and the range was fairly empty, so I took a spot with some empty booths around me. As usual, the driving range was a great spot for observations and inspiration.
A few minutes after I arrived, a father with his 2 young boys in tow arrived. The boys were probably 6 and 3. I should have known I was in trouble when the first words I heard the father utter to his younger son was “don’t walk in front of the booth. If you do, you will get a spanking.” I kid you not and it didn’t take long for me to realize that my time at the range was not going to quite as planned.
For those of you that don’t golf, the driving range is usually treated like a library for golfers. You go there to study and work on your game. People talk but usually quietly and respectful of other golfers. You don’t really go to the range to hear kids screaming “Dad, I want something to drink dad”, “Hey dad, did you see my shot dad?”, “dad, watch me dad, watch me!” I know golfers say they need to learn how to play under adverse conditions but this was brutal. My solution was to scream “shit” louder than usual after any bad shots or glare at the kids when they got overly loud but my strategy didn’t work all that well, mostly because I didn’t hit many bad shots and the kids didn’t really care about my glaring at them. I must be losing my touch.
Eventually, “dad” and his boys left. I think even dad had enough of them. In the meantime, on the other side of my booth, a couple of duffers of the Indian persuasion (as in India the IT phone support capital of the world not native Americans) moved in. Before I get to them, a little about my game. My current USGA handicap is 10.4. Again, going back to you non-golfers, the handicap system helps you gauge your game against the course you are playing and other golfers. The average golfer is about a 15 handicap, so I’m a better than average golfer on most days. Other days, let’s just say golf can be a very frustrating sport.
As for the the 2 fellows next to me, one of these guys seemed to think he was a PGA teaching pro. I watched a couple of his shots and he consistently hit the ball about 150 yards…75 yards out and 75 yards to the right, all at about 5 to 10 feet off the ground. Bad grip, bad backswing, bad results but good enough for him to be giving the other guy lessons. If this wasn’t so pathetic, it would have been comical. I take that back, it was both…pathetic and comical. One other thing. One of those guys (if not both) was wearing a whole bottle of some really cheap cologne. What is the deal with that? Were these guys descendants from a long line of 3rd world cab drivers?
But I digress. After a couple of “teaching moments,” I had to do everything I possibly could not to laugh out loud. As I said, I’m a better than average golfer (which this guy was not) but I know enough not to give anyone advice on their golf game. Make fun of their game, sure. Advice…not so much. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence at the driving range, as it is in many other sporting activities. I really wanted to take one look at this guy and say “Excuse me, is your name Tiger Patel cuz from what I see you can barely play golf let alone teach it.” However, I didn’t want to damage international relations or get into it with with someone who had a golf club in his hand (not that he knew what to do with it), so I kept quiet, finished my bucket and walked away.
Wasn’t quite the relaxing hour I had in mind but golf rarely is. This Sunday at 9:20 the real fun begins as I have my first tee time of 2012 season. Thankfully, there won’t be any little kids around to hear my screaming “fore” and a few other four letter words.