Not a Clue

By: Bob Spiwak

I suppose I should have had a clue on the first tee, when “Ed” was sitting in his cart talking on his cell phone. We knew – my son and I – it would be slow going because Ed had brought along his son who was about seven. I am a proponent of junior golf, but perhaps not at the height of the day on a jam-packed course.

The course was in Leavenworth, Wash. Leavenworth is a Bavarian theme town and draws a lot of visitors to the sunny (east) side of the Cascade Mountains. The course is an adequate 18-holer, not especially difficult, with a lot of trees. “Dad” played from the whites, as did my son Scott and I, and the little kid played from the reds.

The second clue ought have been when the kid out-drove his dad off the first box. Together their drives equaled about 70 yards. As I am wont to do, I looked behind the tee and was delighted to see a foursome, two of each gender in their 70s, on deck. We probably would not be holding them up. This was of concern because there were backups all around the course and letting anyone play through only meant another four were on their heels.

Scott and I each drove over a 100 miles to meet here, coming from opposite directions. I made the tee time for 2:00 p.m., with no thought that we might be paired with the twosome from hell, through no fault of the little guy. He had not been taught much.

Nor had Ed, his dad. Well, golf is a game to enjoy and Scott and I were patient about it. The kid ran across several greens, with nary a word from dad about putting procedures and decorum. I finally had to admonish the boy about not running on the green after having to repair a heel-dent he’d created. Dad meanwhile seemed to be on his cell phone a lot, and by the time we were teeing off on the 7th, Scott and I both remarked to him that a golf game was no place to talk on a phone. He didn’t have a clue, nor did he respond.

We tried to escape when they went back a couple of holes to find a club the kid had left behind. But, unfortunately, Ed skipped their tee shots to catch back up with us.

The kid had a go-for-the-fences swing off the green and only a little less on the putting surface. Dad’s posture was somewhere between a baseball catcher’s crouch and a cheerleader preparing to leap. The ball rarely went straight, and thus a lot of time was spent in the trees. Throughout, the foursome behind had to wait and, on a couple of occasions, we were holding up eight people on the tee behind us. Had I been among them I would have departed, wondering who the assholes were ahead and where the hell was the marshal. None was visible.

After several more cell phone conversations, we must have been on the 15th or 16th fairway when dad hit a long, straight shot. The kid whiffed twice and then scuffed one about 20 yards. The following foursome was quite visible, again waiting on the tee. Having hit the ball straight, Daddy decided it was time to give the kid a lesson on how to swing a club. Of course he was now an expert. I could see the folks behind turning to one another and asking, “What the f*** was this guy thinking?” I finally yelled across the fairway to get moving, that this was not the place for lessons.

This went on for over four dreadful hours and came to a head on the 18th tee. I was setting up and Ed was in his cart next to the tee area, maybe 12 feet away. Mind you, Scott and I had been patient and helpful throughout, even while seething within. Just as I began my backswing, I hear, loudly, “Hello? Hello?”

I was able to abort the swing and just looked at the guy, who was still hello-ing. Scott had enough. He yelled at Ed, “HEY! HEY! Get that thing out of here. You don’t talk when someone is driving, and not on a cell phone.” Ed spoke into the phone, “I gotta hang up. The guy is getting ready to hit.”

Later, Scott was to tell me I had one of my best drives of the round, but did not want Ed to hear him say it. We finished the round and Ed drove to the parking lot in the cart. He had been talking on the phone all that time to his wife, it appeared, who was waiting in the parking lot. No hats off, no handshakes, no thank-you from any of us.

I have to shoulder some of the blame, and have learned my lesson. Don’t go to play golf as a twosome on a crowded course.

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