I like old men. I’ve known many of them. I hope to be an old man one day.
But there’s something about golf courses, particularly country clubs, that turn old men into grumpy and irritable curmudgeons. Yeah, I just threw down “curmudgeon” on a golf blog.
Surely you’ve seen The Grumpy Old Man on your local course. He usually travels in packs—a foursome with other grumpy old men—and plays early in the morning.
He uses colored balls and normally has a long towel hanging out of his back pocket. Children speak in hushed whispers when he shuffles past them.
The only time you’ve seen him smile was after he scolded your eight-year-old son for running in the parking lot. If you’re a member of a country club, your least favorite grumpy old man probably has a member number somewhere between 1 and 50.
But if there’s one thing you need to know about The Grumpy Old Man, it’s this: He hates you. He really, really hates you. But don’t feel bad; The Grumpy Old Man hates everyone other than the three grumpy old men in his foursome.
You see, he remembers when only 100 people played his course. He was playing golf on your course when Old Tom Morris was traversing across St. Andrews and goats kept the grass short. To him, you are an outsider who has infected his club with Miller Lites and loud children.
If you dare encroach upon The Grumpy Old Man’s regular foursome, don’t expect to get waved through. He will slow down just to spite you. Sure, he always walks slowly. But if you hit a ball within 50 yards of his group, he will show you how slowly he really can walk. You just watch.
The Grumpy Old Man is also a lousy tipper. Having worked as a cart guy at the course at which I used to play, take it from me. The Grumpy Old man doesn’t tip at all—even if you make his clubs so shiny that he can see his own grizzled reflection in them.
If you complain about The Grumpy Old Man, don’t expect your club pro or general manager to do anything. He hates them, too.
But, after all, he’s member number 7—and in the world of country clubs and golfing establishments, that’s akin to being a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Are you going to tell Alexander Hamilton to take a hike?
So I leave you with this fair warning, fellow golfers: Heed these lessons from The Grumpy Old Man lest you become a grumpy old man yourself.
Previous Golf Pet Peeves: