As a dedicated walker, I am in the habit of looking down on most motor cart golfers as a morally inferior species (yes, I know that makes me insufferable). While I know that there are some who have legitimate issues that prevent them from taking a hike, it’s been my observation that most who ride would be far better off walking.
But I found myself in an unexpected position of moral inferiority recently when my playing partner and I—in a cart—were paired with a couple of walkers.
Normally, I ride a cart only under three conditions: if the course insists (and I avoid those courses); if Mrs. Golfblogger tells me that it’s so hot that walking would endanger my health; or if my partner wants to ride (and I’ll try to talk him out of it).
This round fell under the third category. There was nothing wrong with my partner’s health, but he insisted on riding. Something about not being in shape (of course if he walked, he WOULD be in shape).
So there I was, sitting in a cart, while two guys in their twenties were schlepping their bags around on their backs. I wanted to shout: “Hey, I would walk, too, if it wasn’t for the lazy guy in the shotgun seat.”
I’ve never felt so old. I was sure that they were thinking that we were a couple of guys who were so decrepit that we couldn’t get around a course any more.
I don’t normally play well when riding, but on this day, I was hitting fairways and getting up and down for bogey and par (more of the former than the latter, of course). By the end of the first nine, I had managed to shoot a 41.
One of the two walkers was not having such a good day. It was pretty clear to me that he was a decent—if not good—player, but that nothing was working. He were hitting balls into the woods, skulling wedges and missing short putts. He was clearly embarrassed at first; then his embarrassment began to turn to anger. He started pounding clubs on the ground after a poor shot.
At the turn, the other walker, who I am sure had shot under 40, begged off to go to work. I was hoping that his friend also would quit, sparing me any further feelings of golf cart moral inferiority. No such luck.
On the tenth hole, the walker shot a ten. On the eleventh tee, he hooked three straight balls into the woods.
Then I witnessed something I never thought I’d see. He flung his $500 Ping driver into the woods. Then he pulled another club from the bag and smashed it against a tree. Leaving both where they lay, he picked up his bag and stalked off without saying another word.
And I was left in my cart with an astonished look on my face. But then I smiled. In spite of the golf cart, my moral superiority had been restored.