There are two great sins in golf: that of playing slowly, and that of playing poorly. To commit either alone is forgivable. To commit them both simultaneously is an affront to the God of Man and Nature.
The group I fell in behind last night was so bad, and so slow that they were going to need absolution from a priest.
The guy in the yellow sweatshirt was the worst. He would take five or six practice swings, then set up behind the ball, make a strange pumping motion, and finally hit the ball fifty yards. He’d then go through a ritual of posturing apparently designed to let everyone know that this was not his usual game.
His partners then folded their arms, rubbed their chins and made knowing nods.
Not that the other three were much better. The tall one with the wild afro could hit the ball a mile—just not anywhere near the proper fairways or greens. The fat one must have had something wrong with his knees, for he moved so slowly from the cart to the ball I thought he might keel over at any moment. Red golf shirt spent so much time lighting up his menthols it’s a wonder he had any time swing the club.
All of them wasted more time being demonstrative than any group of teenagers I’ve ever seen.
With no one in front of me, I caught up to them on the tenth hole. I had played the front nine in an hour. The back nine took two and a half.
They were absolutely oblivious to the fact that I was waiting for them on every tee. Or maybe they were well aware of it, and that was the reason for all the representing they were doing.
For a while, I thought about skipping a hole and jumping in front of them. But the course layout really didn’t offer any realistic chances of doing so.
In the end, I decided to turn my outing into a practice round. I played five, maybe six balls off the each tee, then played the worst shot as my second. Even with all of those shots, and gathering the balls, I still found myself waiting.
I really wish that my local courses had rangers who were good for something other than fishing for lost balls in the woods and ponds.