Scene: It’s a beautiful day for golf. The sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky, and it’s a perfect 74 degrees with the gentlest of breezes.
I had been playing solo but quickly caught up with a gentleman at hole #4. Adhering to proper etiquette he had offered to let me play through, but instead we ended up just playing together as we were more or less at the same skill level. It worked out beautifully, too –no one playing in front to hold us up, and no one in sight behind us.
The guy — we’ll call him “preacher” — turned out to be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met (especially for Shelby, where nice guys are few and far between). We had great conversation, mostly about the church he recently founded somewhere off of Nolensville Rd.
The preacher got a call as we came down the hill to the #7 tee box. He explained to me that it was a work call he’d been waiting on and asked if I’d be willing to wait as it wouldn’t take but 2-3 minutes. I said “I don’t mind waiting at all, I know how work calls go. It’s a beautiful day anyway, I’m just happy to be out here.” He thanked me, answered his phone, and took a few steps away to talk privately.
Suddenly, and totally out of nowhere, this guy — we’ll call him “shit head” — comes flying over the hill and down the hill in his cart straight towards us. He almost loses control, then slams his brakes and comes to a screeching halt only inches away from the preacher’s cart. The preacher, tied up on the phone, doesn’t notice, but I do.
I had a few beers in me, so I spoke up.
Me: Whoa, hey man, that was really unnecessary. Is there a problem?
Shit Head: (about my age, wearing sunglasses and Yankees hat) You tell me, man. Are you guys playing golf, or is your boy gonna talk on the phone all day?
Me: (surprised by his aggressiveness) Whoa, whoa, whoa… Listen, we ARE in fact playing golf, and as soon as my friend’s off the phone, he’ll hit. How’s that sound?
Shit Head: That’s bullshit, man. He’s gotta hit now or I’m playing through.
Me: (starting to see red) Interesting. I tell you what, you can go ahead and play through (gesturing in a grandly sarcastic “right this way” sweeping half-circle arm motion)… but know that you’re getting your way because I’m letting you, NOT because you deserve it.
Shit Head: (yanking his club from his bag and walking furiously to the tee box) Whatever, man. You’re so full of shit.
He tees up his ball, takes a violent practice swing, then lines up to hit.
Me: You know man, all you had to do was ask nicely. It’s a shame you’re being like this on such an otherwise perfect day.
He picks up his ball and storms towards me, threateningly.
Shit Head: Listen, chief, I don’t know where you’re from, but around here we–
Me: I’m from here, actually.
Shit Head: (unfazed) …’Round here we use proper etiquette. (pointing his finger in my face) When someone wants to play through, you let him. It’s that simple.
Me: How about nearly ramming a golf cart? Is THAT proper etiquette?
Shit Head: (turning to storm back towards the tee box) Fuck you, man.
Me: Correction. Fuck YOU.
He tees up his ball, swings, sprays it into the other fairway, and hops back into his cart.
Me: Probably not the shot you wanted, huh?
He gives me the finger as he speeds away. A few seconds pass, then the preacher walks anxiously back toward me.
Preacher: Nate, what was that? What happened?
Me: I don’t really know, it happened so fast. He just showed up out of nowhere and started being a jerk, so I told him how I felt about it. Poor guy, he’s probably just having a bad day. Either that or he’s lonely.
Preacher: Looks to me like he needs Jesus.
Me: Amen to that.
The preacher and I both par the hole. End scene.