Tar Heel Golf Notes

Henry A Lister
Carolinas Golf Association Rater

Often when I play golf (especially as a walk-on single) the starter will match me with the next available players. Most times such playing companions are like being on a blind date; you’re not sure what to expect but you have high hopes.

It doesn’t matter if you shoot 110 or 69 my round will not be affected by your play. You can wear anything as long as you’re not afraid to be seen wearing it in public. Some political views can be off putting but ignored. But I will not play with greenskeepers, superintendents or other members of a course maintenance crew. Here’s why.

Repairing ball marks on the green. When we approach the green a greenskeeper will walk straight to my ball mark before I can get to it. Then fixes 3 or 4 others. First, I’m offended that there is an assumption I won’t repair my ball mark. Second, fixing an additional set of marks takes at least 45 seconds, really slowing down our pace of play. SHEESH!

Supervising bunker raking. On more than one occasion the greenskeeper insists on raking the bunker for me. Really? I mean, I smooth the marks over with my feet and the bunker is in pretty good shape after I walk out of it. But the perfectionist intervenes and repairs my damage to prime condition, which I think is unnecessary. I mean it’s a hazard, it shouldn’t be perfect.

Replacing divots after my shots. Shots with my irons often take a divot. Sometimes even with the Bermuda grass the divot is significant. While I watch the ball finish its flight and then clean my club, my greens keeping partner will dash ahead, grab the divot and replace it into the hole properly. Sometimes it gets filled with sand. Now I appreciate the assistance but how long will this go on before he notices that I am not going to tip him?

Putting my broken tee in the trash bin after my drive. Ever notice broken tees on the teeing ground? Sometimes when teeing up I pick up an unbroken one or use the top of a broken tee if the stem is long enough. How­ever immediately after a tee shot that results in a broken tee the ever-compulsive greens keeper retrieves the remnants (along with several other pieces on the tee) and places them in the nearest trash bin. Now I’m in favor of tidiness but does anyone else see this as a little OCD?

Describing the contours and other green conditions before I putt. Then there is the an­noying “inside dope” on how the greens are running. I’ll get a report on the Stimp speed, which way the ball usually breaks on this hole, when it was last verticut and what variety of grass it is. Honestly, all that data is just confusing. What possible use could I make of all that information?

Always taking the flag and dropping it OFF the green. I’ve played golf for over 40 years and only on a few occasions will dropping a flag on the green surface leave marks. Some­times the bottom of the flagstick might rough up the turf a little or make a small in­dentation but the greenskeeper always takes the flag and sets it off the putting surface. What a prima donna!

It’s always less annoying to play with competitors who just concentrate on their game than to be constantly reminded how to take care of a golf course while I’m playing it. I’ll stick with those players relaxed enough to roll their balls onto perfect grass and pick up putts within 4 feet of the hole. They don’t let etiquette OR the rules tell them what to do.

Hobbit Golfer 2018 index: 18 rounds. Aver­age score 83.38, CGA handicap = 7.6. “It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get.” ~ Arnold Palmer