As a female golfer, I acknowledge that I am outnumbered. In a world dominated by men, it has taken a long time for women to be accepted on the course. I expect that I have to work much harder to keep up with the men. Although I normally just play with my husband, depending on the course, we often are paired up, and in nearly all of those instances, it has always been with two other men.
In the last three or so years that I have been learning the sport, I feel that I can keep up pretty well with the group. If I fall behind, I will simply pick up for the sake of game play. Never once have I been treated with disrespect. In fact, the men usually go out of their way to be nice, polite, even encouraging. That is, of course, until yesterday.
We picked a new course to try out. It was one that boasted a very female friendly design. As we arrived, I was impressed with the number of women I saw out playing. I also saw a lot of families golfing together as well. I felt confident that I could enjoy myself here.
We warmed up a bit, then cued up to the starter to play nine holes. He told us the group in front of us was playing slowly. He gave the teenagers in the cart behind us the option to skip ahead to the third hole, which they took advantage of. We weren’t in a rush so we told the starter we didn’t mind waiting.
By the time we had teed off and were nearly through the hole a duo behind us was screaming up our tail. When we reached the fourth hole, the ranger came by again, giving us the chance to jump ahead. We again declined, but I did ask him to give the rather impatient players behind us the option. I had hoped it would at least encourage them to back off a bit, knowing the group in front of us was playing slowly. I was wrong.
As we approached the green, one of them began screaming at us that we had improperly placed the cart. In our defense, it wasn’t very close to the green, but it was in his way. Since his shots were getting awfully close to where we were standing without even the courtesy of calling “fore!” this was a measure of self preservation.
By the time we hit the sixth hole, his ball landed only feet from us and our blood was boiling. Our frustrated gestures ignored, we called out to them, to find out what his problem was. What he unleashed was the most immature display of venom I’ve ever see on a golf course. We told him that if we weren’t playing fast enough he should have jumped ahead when given the chance. Instead he screamed at us for playing slowly (“you play like snails!”) and refused to back off. I shouted for him to back off and that we were playing as fast as we could.
At that point, I decided to call the club house, and to their credit, they sent someone out. He was just as belligerent to them, but not ejected. We got an apology from the staff they sent out, but by then the damage was done. We played only one more hole before calling it quits. On our way out, we spoke to the group ahead of us, apologizing for the noise. They were incredibly sweet, at first thinking that we had been fighting with each other.
We loaded up our clubs and I went in to speak to the management about the incident. The course was very nice after all, and I would consider playing there again, I wanted to know if the heckler was a member or someone I ran the risk of running into again. Unfortunately, the manager wasn’t available so I left my information and requested to hear back. This was 5:00 yesterday and I have not heard back. I’m frustrated to think that perhaps he held some sway, or that they just didn’t care. By their silence, I can’t draw any other conclusion.