This guy has the classic drive-by honker profile. (Image: seanranier/Flickr)

You know him. You’ve heard him. Perhaps you’ve even seen him rocket past the “road hole” on your golf course—the ghetto horn on his dilapidated truck dissipating as he speeds away with laughter and Toby Keith tunes bellowing from inside his open-aired cab.

He’s The Drive-By Honker. And, his sole purpose in life is to blow his horn in the middle of your backswing. That’s why he’s here. That’s why he exists.

Almost every golf course in America has some sort of road hole. At Cartersville Country Club—my course of choice in my formative years of golfing—holes 6, 7, and 8 ran parallel to a well-traveled road.

The worst spot on the course, however, was the 8th tee box—which was perched up above the road, making golfers sitting ducks for approaching cars. Drive-by honkers had a field day with golfers on this hole. They hated us. We hated them.

The key to overcoming drive-by honkers is to act like they don’t exist. They want nothing more than to see you flick them off or furiously wave your arms as they pass by. At that point, they’ve won.

As a golfer, you’ve got to know your enemy. With The Drive-By Honker, you’ve got to know what you are looking for before he blows his horn of distraction.

Here is what you are looking for. If I worked for the FBI or Homeland Security, I would profile this fellow like so. Drive-By Honkers…

  • Drive trucks—and said truck is usually at least fifteen years old. There’s nothing wrong with old trucks, but they tend to be this guy’s mode of transportation.
  • Are white males aged 16-26.
  • Travel in pairs. He always has a friend—a willing accomplice, a Beavis to his Butthead.
  • Listen to crappy music. Don’t be surprised if you hear a little Nickelback or Blink 182 pumping from his crappy speakers.
  • Think Vin Diesel movies are wicked good.
  • Prefer “woo-hoo!” “yeahhhhh!” and the always-creative-and-contextually-appropriate “fooooore!” as alternate methods of distraction, when the horn on their truck is broken.

One other bonus tip about The Drive-By Honker. Using the above clues, we can surmise that most drive-by honkers are also ex-high school football players—mid twenties—who love to pop out old game tapes whenever two or more people are gathered at their apartment.

So as long as we have golf courses, we will have drive-by honkers. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we’ve got to learn to live with them. The good news is this—if you’re on the road hole at your home course and you hear the nauseatingly bland tunes of Nickelback rapidly approaching, you’ll know The Drive-By Honker isn’t far away. Prepare.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#13: The Golf Ball Finder Guy

#12: The Wannabe Golf Instructor

#11: Golf Simulators

#10: Pre-Shot Routine Guy

#9: Cell Phone Guy

#8: The Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Worker

#7: The Drunken Wedding Party

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer

The frustrations of playing with Pre-Shot Routine Guy can be summarized in one sentence: Will you just hit the freaking shot?

It’s not that Pre-Shot Routine Guy has a pre-shot routine. Most decent golfers have one. The problem with Pre-Shot Routine Guy is that he worships the pre-shot routine—so much so that the pre-shot routine takes precedent over the shot itself. And his scores will testify to this fact.

Sergio Garcia, the king of the pre-shot routine, has earned six waggles. Read the pre-shot routine guidelines below. (Image: almadenmike/Flickr)

Pre-Shot Routine Guy, much like Golf Channel Guy, is worried about his image. He’s watched Tiger, Phil, and Sergio stand behind their golf ball and intently gaze down the fairway with a focused squint.

He’s watched them slowly walk up to the ball, eyes still focused on a tree 300 yards away. He’s watched them plant the left foot, then the right foot, before tilting their head downwards, eyes back on the ball. He’s watched them waggle the club confidently while they continue to alternate their focus between target, ball, target, ball. Pre-Shot Routine Guy knows the drill.

When he swings, though, it all goes south. But that doesn’t stop him from consistently taking 60 seconds to hit every single shot, making his playing partners scorn the pro shop for ever pairing them with this golfing nightmare.

In an effort to help out Pre-Shot Routine Guys, and to speed up pace of play on courses across the world, I developed these pre-shot routine guidelines about 10 minutes ago. You see, here at Game Under Repair, we’re not just about identifying problems. We offer solutions.

Basically, the lower your handicap, the more waggles you earn during your pre-shot routine. The guidelines are as follows:

No handicap: One waggle. Use it wisely.

Over 30: Two fast-paced waggles.

20-30: Three fast-paced waggles.

10-20: Four medium-paced waggles. Don’t get cocky.

5-10: Five waggles. Only use them all if you must.

0-5: Five waggles. Do you really need more?

Scratch: Six waggles. With six waggles, you better hit it like Sergio.

Bottom line: You’ve got to earn your waggle. If you consistently shoot in the mid-80s, then feel free to get your waggle on—four waggles per shot. But a 135? One waggle, my friend. One waggle.

Welcome to the pre-shot routine hierarchy. You’ve got to earn your keep here.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#9: Cell Phone Guy

#8: The Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Worker

#7: The Drunken Wedding Party

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer

Armchair Golf is currently featuring another edition of my Golf Pet Peeves series.

Go over to Armchair Golf and refresh your memory of The Golf Channel Guy.

Golf Pet Peeve #9 to come here on the blog later this week.

First off, I love golf course maintenance workers.

Much like cart guys, these fellows are the unsung heroes of the course. They are up at 5 a.m.—cutting grass, raking bunkers, trimming bushes, and repairing the hardly noticeable moose knuckle-sized divots on your greens.

Golf course maintenance workers are a dedicated bunch.

worker

A rare photo of the much-preferred unobtrusive golf course maintenance worker. (Image: CappiT/Flickr)

But there is a breed of maintenance worker unlike any other. If you’ve played golf for any length of time, you’ve had an experience with the Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Worker. One word describes this man: oblivious.

Usually, you’ll see him puttering down the cart path in the maintenance cart, rapidly approaching as you try to hit your tee shot. Or maybe he’s overagressively raking a bunker as you try to focus on a five-foot putt. Then there’s always the guy who seemingly stalks you for three or four holes, somehow managing to get in your line of sight before every shot.

Things get worse when Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Workers travel together. One of them is annoying, but a group of them together on one hole can be distracting, at best, and unbearable, at worst.

In each group of Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Workers, there’s an alpha-male. He’s the guy telling the inappropriate jokes as you line up your putt. He’s also the guy who speeds past you in the fairway as you go through your pre-shot routine. The golf course is his domain, and no golfer will get in his way.

Avoid the alpha-male at all costs.

Sometimes, Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Workers don’t listen to golfers.

Many years ago, my friend Mike (the same Mike from Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) and I were playing at our home course. After poking our drives on the first hole down the center of the fairway, Mike and I lined up our approaches.

But there was a problem. A group of maintenance workers—soon to be discovered as intrusive—had gathered on the fringe and were digging a hole to work on some irrigation issues.

We waited on them briefly, then gave them a courtesy yell that we were playing up. They waved at us and told us to come through. But they never moved.

I struck my 6 iron well, slightly pulled. And, like a politician runs to a camera, my golf ball barreled through the air directly towards this group of maintenance workers. I yelled “fore!” loudly, frustrated that these guys never moved off the fringe.

My ball struck one of the maintenance workers in the head. He sat down. His head began to bleed. Stitches were later required.

What do you say at this point? They knew we were hitting. We yelled “fore!” They watched us the entire time. But, for some reason, the intrusive maintenance workers never strayed away from the fringe and stood like statues after my boisterous warning.

I never felt to blame for the incident. But, in the weeks to follow, I received quite a few glares from my head-shot victim. He was okay. Eventually, the stitches came off.

So, here’s a fair warning to Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Workers everywhere: Get out of our way and we won’t hit you in the head with our golf ball.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves

#7: The Drunken Wedding Party

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer

golf party

Stay away from wedding groups that look like this on the golf course. (Image: AMetomorphosis/Flickr)

Nothing irks me more than a drunk person on a golf course. The only thing worse is 15 drunk twenty-something hackers on a golf course the day before a wedding.

The Friday golf outing before a wedding has become–in some circles– as much a part of the wedding weekend as the rehearsal dinner and reception.

It’s a great idea: The groom takes all of his groomsmen, plus a few other friends and family members, out for an eighteen-hole round on the day before the wedding. The point, of course, is to have a little fun and get his mind off the life-changing event less than 24 hours away.

But here’s the problem. Within this group of a dozen or so testosterone-filled males, you might have one or two guys who actually know a minimal amount of golf etiquette. The rest of this crew is like a bunch of Gomer Pyles in a five star restaurant—totally out of their element.  Usually, this golf outing takes place on a fairly nice, pricey golf course. The result? Fifteen drunk guys on a $100 dollar a round track.

Case in point: A few weeks ago, my father-in-law was playing on a course in Florida. It was just a nice, casual round with a relative.

On the first tee, the cart girl was practically attacked by several guys looking to load up on Jack and Jim. Within a few holes, the guys were driving over tee boxes, spinning out in fairways, and literally ramming carts into trees. Redneck alert! By hole 12, the group was thrown off the course—and hopefully banned from playing there in the future.

If you’re on a goat track public course, then go for it. Party away. But if you’re on an extremely nice course—and, in this case, next to an extremely nice hotel—then have some common decency.

As I’ve said, very few things piss me off more than drunk people on the golf course. I encountered plenty of these fellows when I worked as a cart guy during college. I’m not a fan.

So, I’ll admit, the first six golf pet peeves just annoy me. This one makes me downright angry. A round of golf takes an investment of time and money. Nothing can make you feel like you wasted that time and money than a bunch of wedding party drunks. At least save the shenanigans for Saturday night.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer

The Distance Exaggerator is a pretty much a self explanatory fellow. But I’ll give you an example.

You’re on a sharp dog leg left par four that measures about 350 yards. The fairway turns almost 90 degrees at the 100 yard marker. So you have a decision. Pop your drive 250 yards out there, or fly the tree line and get closer to the green.

coreypavin2

My golf hero, Corey Pavin, is not a Distance Exaggerator. I repeat...NOT a Distance Exaggerator. (Image: Buried Elephant/Flickr)

Now, most of us know that holes aren’t measured as the crow flies. The measurements follow the fairway. So, theoretically, if one was to land the ball on this green, one would not have hit a 350 yard drive, no matter how great a drive it would be.

The Distance Exaggerator, however, looks for any opportunity to inflate his ego. On the hole described above, this fellow lands his drive about 60 yards from green—probably a nice drive of 270 yards.

But, perhaps to compensate for a poor self-esteem or a lack of length in other areas, the Distance Exaggerator adds 30-40 yards, at least, on to every drive. So that 270 yard drive became a 310 yard drive simply because he’s within a pitch shot on a sharp dog leg par four.

In his own mind, the Distance Exaggerator is one of the longest hitters at his club. After all, his friends The Mulligan Golfer and Golf Channel Guy tell him so. In reality, he pokes his Titleist out there about 260 on a career day, giving myself and Corey Pavin company in the fairway.

The problem with the Distance Exaggerator is that he actually makes club selections based on his faulty sense of distance. Last summer, I played in a scramble with a guy who actually thought he could hit his lob wedge 110 yards. The guy was probably a 20-25 handicap. He swung out of his shoes with a lob wedge! The ball didn’t even sniff the flag—or the green.

The Distance Exaggerator—much like the Golf Channel Guy—talks a big game. Golfers who can actually hit 300 yard drives have no need to talk about it. They are used to bombing the ball. They have “been there, done that.”

But the Distance Exaggerator is like the dude in high school who always bragged about all his lady friends, when, in reality, he was sitting at home alone on Friday night, playing World of Warcraft and wondering if that stale dutch oven in his sheets smells as bad as last Friday night’s offering.

Let’s be honest. You’re not hitting 300 yard drives, buddy. You’re not even close.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer

How do I explain the Golf Channel Guy?

Perhaps there’s a better name for this character—such as “wanna-be”—but I’ll do my best to tell you about this peculiar fellow.

The Golf Channel Guy watches a lot of The Golf Channel. Consequently, he’s picked up the mannerisms, fashion sensibilities, and general external qualities of the professional golfers who often appear on said Golf Channel.

trevor

Trevor Immelman: The idol of Golf Channel Guys everywhere. (Image: Matthwj)

Problem is, the Golf Channel Guy is a mediocre golfer at best. Most of the nation’s reported Golf Channel Guys have handicaps in the 15-18 range. He may look and sound the part, but that topped 7 iron and bladed wedge tell you otherwise.

If you’ve played golf long enough, you can smell the Golf Channel Guy from a mile away. He talks a big game. Braggadocio is his thing. After all, with those pleated khakis and svelte Nike shirt, who wouldn’t believe this guy is a scratch golfer?

The Golf Channel Guy is closely related to The Mulligan Golfer and the as-yet-unexplained—and future pet peeve article—Distance Exaggerator. All three fellows are quite concerned with image upkeep on the golf course.

To help you spot The Golf Channel Guy at your local course, I’ve compiled a list of The Golf Channel Guy’s characteristics.

  • Carries a pro-style bag.
  • Applied for Big Break on multiple occasions.
  • Wears pleated khaki pants on the golf course in August.
  • Reads every putt from six angles.
  • Treats every par as if he just made a birdie.
  • Enjoys reverse sandbagging–in actuality, that 15 is probably a 20. See The Mulligan Golfer.
  • Offers on-course instruction without prompting.
  • During practice swings, he stops mid-swing to check his plane. Though he’s off plane by a foot, he seems pleased.

They try so hard. They try too hard. They are golfers in the midst of an identity crisis. Lord bless the Golf Channel Guys.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer