I was going to write a course review for Eisenhower, a muni we played last weekend in Anne Arundel County, but the course was just ho-hum and not worth the writer’s block. However, the playing company was outstanding and got me thinking about the most notable cast of characters I’ve ever met on the golf course. Here are some of mine, who are yours?
Last weekend: My partner and I roll up in our cart and are introduced to the twosome paired with us. One middle aged fellow has a Philadelphia Eagles hat on, tattoos up and down his arms, and is constantly out of breath. I strike up a conversation, “So are you from Philadelphia?”
He says, “No I’m from across da riva in South Jersey,” – as if I couldn’t tell from the accent. We dialog the Eagles, Redskins, and baseball for a hole and a half and on the third tee, he asks, “Hey, you guys aren’t priests or minsters are you?” He reiterates, “I’m from South Jersey and you’re gonna hear some F-bombs today. Hope that’s not a problem.” The rest of the day we were entertained with tales of glorious bar fights, driving his car through the corn fields of south Jersey at 110 mph, and hoping he didn’t pass out from retrieving his ball out of the hole. I’m no stranger to salty language on the course, but if the U.S. Air Force had dropped all the F-bombs coming out of his mouth. Nice guy though.
Character number two: 78 year old guy playing at my local muni on a 95 degree day in June. He’s carrying his bag and swears to me as we’re walking down the first fairway that he does 100 push-ups every day. I’m thinking who is this guy, Jack Lalanne? Then we are waiting on our second shots in the first fairway and he drops and gives me 30 right there. Must have finished his daily allotment during the rest of the round. Hope I’m that physically fit at 78 – although mentally, not so sure.
Character number three: A few years ago, my friend and I are paired up with a young soft-spoken guy at Clustered Spires in Frederick, MD. He doesn’t say much to us all day, but is 4-under par on the backside alone, and I’m thinking we’re playing with the club pro. So on the 17th tee I ask him what he does for a living. He replies, “Nothing. I’m on parole and have been in prison for the last 18 months.” He goes on to shoot 5-under 66 and seems irritated because he played bad. We leave with our jaws dragging in the parking lot.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the chance encounter – meet up with Arnold Palmer on the course at Bay Hill with nobody around but my son and his playing partners. I’ve written about this before, but it remains the most profound experience I’ve ever had at a golf course. What are yours?