There's no other sport - not soccer, basketball, football, baseball, volleyball or tennis - where a man addresses his balls with such emotion as in golf. It's a colorful sport, (just look at Jasper Parnevik) and the language used is just as colorful.
Yes, those hard, round and usually white dimply little things bring out the most extreme behavior in almost all men and women. They come packaged three to four in a sleeve and cost as much as $7 or more for each ball. That's $21 bucks for sleeve. Cart girls have no sympathy for you when you complain about the price of a beer.
"These balls suck," I have heard men exclaim and some guys will even chuck with certain disgust, all three brand new ones from a fresh sleeve into the bushes and open a brand new box just because the first one went AWOL on them. There's apparently a superstition, (men are very superstitious) that says: All golf balls from the same sleeve will follow each other, particularly into the water or ball-eating bushes out of bounds.
I jump off my beverage cart when I'm lucky enough to see where these brand-new balls were set free and I snatch them up. To me it would be akin to driving past a $20 bill and not picking it up.
As a cart girl, I hear the guys say so many things to their balls. Were these expressions said anywhere else but a golf course? They would certainly shock oh, hmmm, lets say my conservative mother.
A saying I like a lot is the one that's often said on a man's approach shot to the green. This is the only time a man EVER wants to say these three words: "Bite, you bitch!"
I remember one time seeing a man with his back to me, his arm pumping furiously up and down around waist high in front of himself saying "Oh, man, I've got some dirty balls." It wasn't until he turned around that I saw that he was actually washing his golf balls.
I've have heard men teeing off over water ask their friend to toss them a "dog ball." I'm not sure why they're called this, but I do have a dog and he loves to chase balls, especially into the water. The bummer is my dog can't swim and I usually have to jump in after to save him.
New balls, particularly expensive new ones, seem to have a mind of their own. It's with extreme enthusiasm that they bee-line for the deepest part of the pond, lake, ocean etc., so you never want to train your new dogs, oops, I mean balls, by teeing them up for the first time on a water shot.
Balls that don't do as they are supposed to (which is fly straight, long and land in the fairway) are often called any one of the following: "son of a bitch" or "bad ball" and even "you piece of s***!" That one is my all-time favorite. Golfers tend not to use their really big words on the course, so it's rare when you hear a guy calling his ball "a motherless spheroid."
It's just a little too fancy and it's not like he's trying to impress his overweight balding friend or anything. Rarely will you hear men plead or coax: "now do it for Daddy!" or "you best go in the hole" or "you like water? I'll show you water!"
Many men, especially marshals, older gents and beverage cart girls love to go ball hunting. Hey, every dollar saved is a dollar earned, so by this account, they're making money.
By the way, first rule of golf ball hunting etiquette is to let a lost ball come to rest before pocketing it. If it lands in the rough, chances are the guy who hit it in there while you are ball hunting won't find it anyway, but don't let him dare see you pick it up or you might go home with a few less balls than you came out with.
I have heard ball hunters say: "come to Daddy!" or "Happy Easter to me!" Around December this changes to "Merry Christmas to me" as he comes out from the bushes with his pockets loaded with OPB's (other people's balls).
Some golfers ask cart girls to do the darnedest things to their balls. Believe it or not, about once a week, a golfer will ask me to kiss his ball for good luck. A pointer for cart girls who don't mind kissing golfers' balls for good luck: Don't do it unless you're able to wash the ball and your hands.
Girls, you should also make him promise to hit the ball after you have done this favor for him as, chances are, he'll just put the ball in his pocket to tease all his friends for the rest of the day. I know this from experience.
You also don't know where most golfers' balls have been. Some balls they have we fished out from weeks or months of marinating in recycled pond water and you have no idea how many chemicals the greens keepers have to use to keep those fairways so beautiful. So wash those balls.
OK, true story. The owner of the club I work for was playing with his friends during a tournament and one of his buddies said to me, "the chief is having a hard time out here today. Would you kiss his balls for him?" The best technique is not to use the ball washer (again recycled water, yuck, bad for you), but to wet your finger with a little saliva and wipe the ball with a napkin, then kiss it.
So in slow-mo, I did the above and then went over to the tee box and, bending at the waist, teed the ball up for him. Up until that day, I had only seen Adam Sandler do the running approach to hit the ball as performed in the movie "Happy Gilmore." The Chief not only executed the performance, but also hit the be-Jesus out of the ball. I refused all other kisses for the remainder of the afternoon.
Cart girls, remember this: You will either totally screw up the golfer's shot (however, make his whole day) or he will hit the most incredible shot of his life and talk about you and that kiss of yours for the rest of his life.
Wash your hands right afterward. I keep a rinse-less hand sanitizer with me at all times. You could also use the hand sanitizer to wash the ball, but the finger in the mouth is way sexier.
As a cart girl, I get asked the following daily: "Have you seen my balls?" Or "would you pick up my ball for me?" And then there's my favorite, "would you like to hit my balls?" My poor mother just wouldn't understand any of it if I had my cell on speakerphone.
Golf companies love to brag about their balls in hopes that you'll buy them. As golfers are well aware, it's all very mental on the playing field and it's no different on the advertising end.
But no matter what the big, smart golf psychologists say about your dimpled little friend, no man can have bigger balls than any other man. It's one-size-fits-all and there are no exceptions.
The descriptions really sounds kind of sexual if you ask me, but then again, I could probably turn anything into an innuendo - if you haven't guessed that by now.
They all love to say that by using their balls; your performance will radically rise above all others. I researched the following when I went into a golf shop and read more golf ball boxes than I probably ever will again in my life.
Callaway tells us that "a better game starts with a better ball" or "satisfy your need for speed," - even "go long, really long" and "big power, big performance." Pinnacle loves to say, "hard core" in its ads.
My mind goes straight to the gutter.
Strata says, "one hop and stop control." Say that again, "one hop and stop control." Nike brags, "faster core, longer distance, the spin mix of length, action and durability," woo, woo!
Precept Laddie has a really good one: "softer muscle, fiber core and ultimate distance with exceptional feel." I LOVE the Precept Lady slogan which simply states: "forever long." Isn't it the truth?
But my favorite of all is Noodle, which simply states on the box, "long and soft." (Nothing like a challenge, I say.) If you don't believe me, go read these boxes yourself.
Okay, Mom, I'm hanging up the phone now. It actually all makes sense when you're out on the course, but some of the things guys say to their balls still catch me off guard. Like I said, it's a colorful sport with a lot of colorful language and behavior and a lot of balls to choose from.
And just remember this: If you decide to try a different type of ball, your old balls will never be offended and you can always go back to them if you don't like the new ones.
Happy playing and try not to lose your balls, Yeowch!
June 16, 2005
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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