It's part of the Guru's job description to play lots of golf courses. I've been lucky to play everything from high-end Top 100 courses to no frills munis and nine-hole layouts. Believe me, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
Some golf courses just don't get it. Here are 10 of the most ridiculous golf course antics I see during my travels:
1. Drill Sergeant Starters
He barely says hello because he's so intent on delivering an 8-minute manifesto on the do's and don'ts on the golf course. In his mind, he's the all-knowing drill sergeant of the fairways and you're the wussy, idiot numbskull teenager just off the bus on the way to basic training. If you really want to get under this guy's skin then forget your receipt. All hell will break loose. You'll be humiliated in front of your group and forced to head back to the pro shop to prove that your not some trespassing loser.
2. Do Nothing Rangers
Hey, I realize many of these rangers are retired guys just trying to get some free golf and get away from the wife for a few hours, but too many of them don't enforce any sort of pace-of-play policy. My gosh, I always seem to get behind the slow poke foursome with guys checking yardage books, lining up putts like its a U.S. Open qualifier and taking 15 practice swings. Then, I see a ranger and I think , "Oh boy, he's gonna really nail these clowns." Nope, not really. Nothing but crickets as "Do Nothing Ranger Guy" whizzes by totally oblivious to the slow play everywhere on the course.
3. $5 Water and $7 Beer
I love it when I'm playing golf on a 98 degree July day in Florida and sweating my coconuts off and along comes the concession cart with their $5 water and $7 beer. I cough up the fiver because I don't want to be dehydrated and I pay the $7 because my game is trending downward rapidly and I'm desperate for some swing oil. Yet, when I'm drinking either beverage the only thing I can think of, is: "Wow, what the heck is the profit margin on these drinks?" When I calculate the answer, I really get pissed off at the golf course.
4. Aerated and Poor Quality Greens
Some golf courses protect announcement of their aeration dates with CIA style secrecy. Then they happily charge you full price to putt on ridiculous, bumpy greens that make a round of golf excruciating. Even worse are the bumpy, poorly maintained greens that haven't been aerated. Honestly, I'll take a fairway full of weeds and unkept bunkers if I can putt on well-maintained greens that aren't slow and shaggy.
5. Crazy Mower Guy and Overzealous Maintenance Guy
I understand lots of the course maintenance guys might not play golf, but sometimes their behavior is a bit annoying. For instance, when mower guy (usually wearing a bandana over his nose to fight off the pollen) comes roaring over a hill, pedal to the metal, just as you're in your backswing. Or how about the guys raking fairway bunkers that move in slow motion while you wait on the tee.
6. Terrible Signage and Yardage Markers
Some courses don't want to spend money on signage so you wander around in your cart aimlessly trying to find the next hole. It's annoying and slows down the pace of play. Also, not everyone carries a rangefinder so please at least give us a stake or bush denoting 100 and 150 yards and perhaps the yardages on sprinkler heads. Is that too much to ask? Once again, with limited yardage markers, it slows down play. Sometimes I wonder if they want us out there for five hours so they can sell us overpriced beer and water.
7. Crappy Practice Range
Kudos to golf courses with great practice ranges, but I've been to some (and not just munis, either) where the range is a joke. The beat up range balls look like they've been there since the 1970s, the mats are worn out and slick or the grass on the teeing areas looks like a beat up polo field. I find it a total waste of time to hit balls at a substandard range.
8. Cynical Pro Shop People
These are the guys that are sick and tired of folding shirts and resent the fact they're a scratch golfer and they have to kiss ass to dubbers and hackers who can't crack 100. You meet lots of friendly pro shop people, but be aware of the cynical, bitter guy who washed up on the mini-tours and ended up behind the counter. Sadly, he's come to the realization that shooting par on any pro tour will result in nothing but missed cuts and a quick pipeline to the golf retail industry.
9. Lousy Club Cleaner Guy
Let's face it, we all this annoying drill...These guys want a tip and nothing else matters. They don't give a rat's ass about your clubs and actually cleaning them. Generally, it's a cursory wipe with a grimy, wet towel and this mediocre service is supposed to be worth a few dollars. Their ultimate goal is get green in their pocket, not off your clubs. Yet, we always pay. I've never stiffed a lousy club cleaner guy, but I'm not satisfied with the service very often.
10. No 9-hole Rate
Hey, times have changed. More people (especially millennials and busy business types) don't have the time or inclination to devote four or five hours to a round of golf. We need more courses offering 9 hole rates and perhaps even 6-hole or 12-hole rates. The ideal for people that like to walk and play like the Guru would be offering special 9-hole, walking rates after 3 p.m.