Who would you vote out of your golf club?
We’ve all felt that sense of dread in the pit of our stomachs when we see a certain name beside ours on the monthly medal or stableford draw. The name of someone We. Just. Can’t. Stand.
This game is hard enough without having to play with someone we don’t like. How many times have we seriously thought about withdrawing from a competition because we’d rather not have to spend four hours in the company of someone we wouldn’t give the time of day to otherwise?
Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often. However, we all know people at our clubs, in our societies, perhaps even in our club swindle groups we wish had never taken up the game.
Dealing with playing with someone I don’t like is an issue I’ve struggled with throughout the years I’ve played this game. It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen. From talking to many others, I’m not alone in feeling that same sense of dread. It sometimes isn’t easy to turn the other cheek when drawn with someone we may have had an argument with in the past, or who’s political beliefs we don’t share, or who feels like cramming their point of view down our throats for ALL 18 holes, or who hasn’t read that section in the rule book called “etiquette.”
We’ve all had to put up with rounds from hell. It happens at all levels of golf. The professional tours might like to give you the impression they're big happy families but, like all families, there will be members who’d don’t like each other, who’d probably pay good money to alter the draw.
You can bet a future Patrick Reed/Cameron Smith pairing might be a wee bit frosty after Smith called out Reed in last year’s President’s Cup for his bunker shenanigans during the Hero World Challenge. Ditto for Bob McIntyre and Kyle Stanley after their bust up in last year’s Open Championship when Stanley didn’t shout Fore on the 17th tee. Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo were great rivals during their heyday, but I don’t think I’m revealing secrets when I say they didn’t care for one another’s company. Seve Ballesteros and Paul Azinger probably didn’t exchange Christmas cards either given their Ryder Cup rivalry.
If you get 156 players in a tournament field, then they’re not all going to be nice people. There are going to personal animosities. It’s the same if you get 500 or 900 or 1300 members at a golf club.
I’m thinking of this issue now because it’s renewal time at my golf club. The application for payment popped into my post box a few days ago. It got me thinking about the select few I really wish wouldn’t re-join. Face it, we all feel the same way. We’ve all played with people we wish had never been introduced to this royal and ancient game.
I once asked a golf secretary about the criteria other members should use to propose someone to that particular club. He gave me a great answer. He said members should feel comfortable proposing a new member if they would gladly entertain the prospective member in their own homes. I’d do that with most members of my club, but I’d close the shutters and pretend I wasn’t at home if a select few walked up my driveway.
Golf club officials must harbour hopes at this time of year that certain members choose not to re-join. In fact, they must keep a bottle of champagne for celebration when the complainer from hell writes to say they won’t be re-joining. Yeehah, drinks all round!
I once heard of a club in the United States where members had the right to vote one member out of the club on an annual basis. Interesting concept. I wonder who I would vote out. Who would you vote out?
#JustSaying: “Shout ‘Fore’. That ball is going straight into the crowd, you know from the word go it’s going into the crowd. Just shout.” Bob McIntyre’s advice to Kyle Stanley during last year’s Open Championship