It’s mid-afternoon and the light is fading fast. But here I am, stuck behind the slowest fourball in the world.
Why is it no one’s ever ready to play? Not that this lot can. It’s chopping, slashing, fatting, thinning – anything apart from something that looks like a golf shot.
Despite my man of the people rhetoric, I sometimes like to play alone. The solitude is welcome and I get an unusual feeling of calm. The near permanent rage that boils my soul simmers for a moment. But it never lasts.
Popping on my rose-tinted specs for a sec, this was never a problem back in’t Good Old Days™.
A single player would sidle up behind a quartet and the fairways would part like the Red Sea. You really did feel like you were golf’s Moses.
Now there’s a tell-tale flicker of panic – the brief look back as I sidle into view. Then the tunnel vision. They’re giving off Nick Faldo levels of focus.
Except they’re painfully aware of exactly where I am. I’m trying to give them some room. But one shot against four means a lot of stopping. And, soon enough, I’m like Lewis Hamilton weaving around a back-marker.
Let me move on, though? Simply out of the question.
They’ll ruin their own games before considering standing aside. It’s comical. A Benny Hill-style sprint between swings and putts.
Inevitably, the pressure’s too much and it cracks. There’s always the top, or the two-footer that stays out. Followed by the angry glare back down the fairway, as if their stubbornness is somehow my fault.
Eventually a couple of them will consent to an overtake. But there’s always one. The guy – it is always a guy – that won’t shift for anyone.
This is his course, his game, and if I don’t like waiting… well, I can just do one can’t I? If that feels provocative then it’s deliberate. He’s desperate to get a rise. He wants the confrontation.
So he’ll linger by the green marking his scorecard. He’ll leave his trolley in the most awkward spot, one that always involves walking back across the green and then dawdling out of my shot path.
He’ll be adjusting his bag with his playing partners 50 yards ahead and the gap growing ever wider.
They used to have a whole section on this in the Rules of Golf that made it clear what was expected.
“Invite the faster group (that’s me) to move through,” it implored. Sadly, like the perennial problems with pitch marks and bunkers, such pleas fall on deaf ears.
And all the while, the sun is setting, time is running out, and darkness threatens to envelop my entire being and not just the course around me.
Have you ever been driven to distraction by a tortoise-like quartet? Or should the Angry Club Golfer get back in his box? Let him know in the comments, or tweet him.
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