When did golf get so cool? Oh, yes, thanks Covid. Thanks for nothing. Once you could stroll into a tee time in relative serenity. OK, the club was practically bankrupt back then but silver linings and all that.
Now, grabbing a weekend spot requires a computer science degree and the reaction times of a Formula One driver.
I’m not actually against tee booking apps, to be serious for a second. They do seem to be a fairly equitable way of allocating spots in a comp without having to get into your car, and rock up at the club, to write your name on a sheet. We really did do that, didn’t we?
Or spend an hour on redial, fruitlessly trying to get through to the shop to sign up for that Saturday Stableford three and a half weeks later.
No, I don’t despise progress or technology. I just can’t stand some of the people who use it. There are four specific things that irk me about golfers and tee booking. See if you can identify with any of the below…
‘Fastest finger first’
This has to be a misnomer, since I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s actually got the time they wanted. Ergo, they clearly weren’t ‘fastest finger first’.
Of course, it doesn’t help that about 500 members are all perched on their phones waiting for the exact second the tee times go live. Imagine the start to a septuagenarian 100-metre sprint.
They’re also all simultaneously trying to book either 9am or 9.08am.
Then the app behaves as if it’s appearing in one of those slow-motion sequences from The Matrix. When it eventually refreshes, you’re lucky if you can slap your name in as dusk will be setting.
Yes, it’s tough. But there are lots of players now and they all want to get out there. The days of shelling out for membership and turning up four times a year are well and truly over.
But, God almighty, can you believe the moaning about this? There are more conspiracy theories about computerised booking than Covid. It’s basically golf’s QAnon.
Listen to some of the squealers and you’d think it was a booking app that had been lurking out there on the grassy knoll, and not that they’d forgotten the window was opening, rushed on in a panic 10 minutes later, only to find everyone else had got there before them, and now desperately want something to blame.
The one who doesn’t turn up
Now that booking a comp tee time is basically a Black Friday scrum each week, there are going to be some losers. But once I’ve stopped pinging Pinnacles around my front room in frustration at missing out, I’m usually brought back to boiling point when I subsequently learn that about a chunk of those who signed up didn’t bother to tee it up at all.
Was it a bit cold? Diddums. That’s winter for you. Was rain forecast? It didn’t, though, did it? It was supposed to be a bit gusty? There was barely a breeze. The upshot is you decided to stay at home. And so did I but I didn’t get that choice. Well done you. No, that’s not what I mean. F…
The one who books all their mates in – even though they know they’re not coming
Some golfers want to be creatures of habit. They’d like to play in the same little three or fourball, in every single event, year in and year out. It’s a little ray of familiar sunshine in an otherwise depressing existence.
I can think about my club and if you tell me the name of a regular, I can usually reel off the trio they’ll appear on the tee sheet beside. It’s a constant.
Except, it isn’t always that regular, is it? Oh yes, those names will get booked in for the competition all right but they don’t always turn up.
And worse still, the booker knew perfectly well they weren’t available.
But they put them in regardless. Just in case. On the off-chance they might change their minds.
They won’t. They’re in Tenerife. And everyone knows that. But now I can’t get a game. I’m not sunning myself. I’m making my family’s life a misery. Think about that, you selfish idiot.
The one who just doesn’t want to play with anyone else
You know the type. They take a time and block out all the spaces – usually filling the slots with anonymous ‘guests’.
Then they’re safe in the knowledge they won’t have to mix with any of the other riffraff at the club – God forbid they might have to meet someone new – and they turn up for their time as a solo and wander around the course at their leisure.
When I witness this behaviour, I genuinely feel an urge to commit a violent crime. On their person.
I mean, how messed up do you have to be to plug all the slots with the sole intention of stopping other golfers – who have paid the same fees – from playing?
There is a special place in hell reserved for this player.
Do you feel the Angry Club Golfer’s fury, or does he need to book himself a berth as far away as possible? Let us know in the comments, or tweet him.