Have you ever played golf with someone who turned your round into total misery? I bet you have. We've all been in that vulnerable place - showing up at the course without a playing partner, at the mercy of the crusty starter, hoping he'll get us out on the course with...whoever. The problem of course, is that "whoever" might be someone who will convert the golf course into a torture chamber and leave us permanently scarred.
Now if you're like me, you're not big into torture. No, I've never been tied to the 150-yard marker on the golf course and had enemy golfers take shots at me. And no, I've never had my head repeatedly smashed into the ball washer by a malicious foe. However, I have had the misfortune of experiencing pain due to loathsome playing partners. Once, for example, I was paired with an ex-convict who showed up with two bodyguards and a fresh scar. As it turned out, I was extremely nice to him and he spared my life.
Interestingly, the pain and discomfort wrought from undesirable playing partners can come in a variety of ways. I've never actually played golf with someone who made me contemplate suicide, however, I have had an opportunity to play golf with a few people who forced me to dispose of my lunch orally well before my system had a chance to absorb the nutrients. I also remember being paired with an atheist who, by the end of the round, was challenging God to an all out fist-fight. Yes indeed, the pain and hardship can come in many different forms.
I'm sure you can think of a few people who, for various reasons, you'd rather not partake of the game with as well. Here are a few people I'd rather not play golf with and why...
Mike Tyson - Like most people, I do enjoy having at my disposal...my senses. Even though my earlobes are not perfectly symmetrical, I do like them and hearing is something I especially value. I'd be a little afraid that a hot dog and a Snickers at the turn might not quite be enough for Mr. Tyson...especially if I was up in the match.
Bobby Knight - I would be fearful that a bogey binge might erupt into a bench throwing competition adjacent to a tee-box. Mr. Knight has much more practice in this regard and would likely make my attempts look quite feeble.
O.J. Simpson - Seeing O.J. race around in a white powercart would be symbolical, painful, and downright disturbing. Of course, seeing him wave around his 3-wood would send shivers down my spine and "fluid" running down my leg.
Richard Simmons (pictured) - I've got no problem with those who are a little "light in the loafers." However, being forced into a jumping jack frenzy while waiting for the foursome ahead wouldn't sit well with me.
Tonya Harding - I do enjoy a good rivalry with fellow opponents. However, even though mine are a little knobby, I do feel kneecaps are just as valuable as earlobes and should remain intact on the body.
Al Capone - I realize that the illegal drug trade is serious business for some. I do, however, get discouraged when people feel that it's OK to "whack" the competition. Al would have numerous "iron" weapons at his disposal while on the golf course. I believe it would be improbable, for a safe and peaceful frame of mind, for Al to accompany me around the course.
Charles Manson - I'm certain that I'd be on pins and needles golfing with Charles as well. I'm not exactly sure how he'd react to a bad ricochet, however, something tells me it might involve ritualistic sacrificing and significant blood loss. Count me out if his name is announced to the first tee.
If at all possible, people need to choose their playing partners carefully. The game of golf is most enjoyable when knee-cap assaults, five-iron lobotomies, and earlobe appetizers are not part of the picture. I don't know about you, but I'm most comfortable with my regular foursome - my granny, my pastor, a blind pacifist, and me (with earlobes attached).
Andrew Penner is a 10-year member of the Canadian PGA. His upcoming golf humor book, titled "One Flew Over The Caddyshack," will be available this fall from Falcon Press.
Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout North America and Europe. You can see more of his work at www.andrewpenner.com.
We all love golf course rankings, but there's quite a bias involved, huh? Host a major championship and you're basically guaranteed a spot on the list. What about the average duffer who's more impressed with the beer list than the slope/rating - or prefers friendliness over the fine, imported lotion in the locker room? Where's our list, hackers? Answer: Right here.
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