Nathan Green likes soccer...a lot. (Image: Buried Elephant/Flickr)

Nathan Green is a professional golfer. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He did win the Canadian Open last year.

Anyway, as a pro golfer, you would expect Mr. Green to opt for an opportunity to qualify for the U.S. Open over, say, watching the World Cup on the television. No-brainer, right?

Think again. After finishing 41st in last week’s Memorial, Green told Golfweek he was scrapping his plans to qualify for the Open on Monday: “I’m really not that interested in playing it,” Green said. “I’d rather sit home on the couch and watch soccer than beat my head against a brick wall for four days.”

To that quote, one veteran Tour caddie responded: “Let’s face it, [not showing up] proves some of these guys make too much money.”

Isn’t that the truth. Look, I’m all for supporting your country in The World Cup. I come out of soccer-watching hibernation every four years to support the U.S. team.

But, even though Green is an Aussie (and that’s who he’ll be cheering for), I still can’t comprehend passing up the opportunity to qualify for–and possibly play in–The United States Open. Wow.

Hey Nathan, have you ever heard of DVR? Geesh.

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.

The Grumpy Old Man hates you. (Image: MissLPS/Flickr)

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:

#15: The Overzealous Rules Enforcer

#14: The Drive-By Honker

#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

In other words, if you were to wake up this morning 30 minutes before your tee time, throw your clothes on, grab your clubs, and arrive at the first tee 5 minutes before tee time, what would you shoot?

Sure, you can’t really predict these things…maybe. But I like to call this your default score. It’s not good; it’s not bad. It’s just what you shoot on a normal day.

My default score is 81. I realized this last Saturday after playing 18 holes with my friends Tom, Lewis, and Chris at Forest Crossing. Other than my driver, my golf game pretty much sucked that day. I was +10 on the 18th green with a 50 foot birdie putt. As I stood over the putt, I thought, I suck. I’m about to shoot an 82. But I canned the ridiculously long putt. I shot an 81. Suddenly, I thought to myself, Okay, things are normal.

Is there really a difference between and 81 and an 82? Not really. Neither is that impressive, unless your looking to win the C flight of your club championship.  But, somehow, that 50 f00t birdie putt, and that round of 81, made everything okay–even though that was my only birdie of the round in miserable 90 degree heat.

So what’s your default score? If you woke up this morning and didn’t care how you played, what would you shoot?

One of the greatest shows in the history of television wrapped things up on Sunday night, culminating—in my opinion—with one of the best finales I’ve ever watched. Lost is over. And, man, that makes me sad.

Hope. Redemption. Forgiveness. All of the main characters on this character-driven show found what they were looking for at the end. Not every question was answered, but that was never the point of Lost in the first place. If you stayed with Lost until the series finale and somehow expected everything to tie up in a pretty bow, then you missed the point.

I was thinking about some of my favorite episodes yesterday, and a cool golf-related episode (“Solitary”) from season 1 came to mind. Most of the group was living in a cave at the time, and Hurley—the show’s primary comic relief—found some old abandoned golf clubs.

Stuck on an island with nothing to do, Hurley builds a makeshift golf course. Hilton Head golf it is not, but the course provides some stress-relief for the castaways.

The video I posted is not from the actual episode, but it’s a pretty funny extra feature—with Jin, Hurley, and Michael. Jin loses his mind after missing a putt. Hilarious stuff.

Is it possible that Jerry Rice is worse at golf than Michael Jordan was at baseball?

In his second Nationwide Tour event, Jerry Rice fired a 92-82 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Two weeks ago, Rice shot an 83-76 in his debut Nationwide event. I briefly wrote about that train wreck here.

Yes, those scores are awful. But here’s the kicker, Rice was disqualified in his second event because his caddy used a yardage scope in the fairway. Are you kidding me? The Nationwide Tour should be embarrassed to let this guy use corporate sponsors. Are they that hard up for publicity?

If Rice was competing on some small regional mini tour, then that’s fine. But the Nationwide is a smidgen below the PGA Tour–these golfers are the real deal–so why taint that with some publicity stunt from a guy who couldn’t make a cut if he played in every tournament for five years?


You know Rice doesn’t belong on the Nationwide for the mere fact that he said he was pleased with a second round 76 during his debut tournament. Dude, if you’re happy with a 76 on the Nationwide Tour, you’ve got serious issues.

Thankfully, Rice was quoted in USA Today as saying, ““Because I can’t commit to golf the way I want to, this is probably my last Nationwide Tour event.” Let’s go ahead and eliminate that “probably”, Jerry. Save yourself the embarrassment, and keep the range finder in the bag, please.

This Rice debacle leads me to one question: Who was worse at their second sport…was it Rice at golf or Michael Jordan at baseball?

Talk amongst yourselves.

This pet peeve is about me.

I’ll admit it. I’m an overzealous rules enforcer. Heck, I even wrote a reoccurring column about golf rules on this blog a couple of years ago.

If you carry one of these in your bag, you, too, might be an overzealous rules enforcer.

For whatever reason, golf is a sport where no one bothers to follow—or even understand—the rules. I’ve met people who have been playing golf for 10 years and still don’t know what a red stake signifies.

How is that possible? To me, that’s like saying, “What is that mound of dirt in the middle of a baseball field?” How can you not know that?

Granted, there are a ton of rules in golf—a lot of them are very specific and detailed. But you’ve got to know the basics.

I’m all about fairness, you see. If we’re playing in a game or a tournament and I’m re-teeing after hitting a ball out of bounds, you better know I’m going to make sure you re-tee as well. Don’t try and drop a ball outside the white stakes. That’s not a hazard.

If I’m spotting you 5 shots (or vice versa), you can bet I will make sure you aren’t using your hand wedge in the fairway.

If you’re talking smack about beating me by a shot but dropped your ball 50 yards ahead of where it went into a water hazard, well…I’m going to call you out on that too.

I’ve been called a rules nazi, but I believe there’s a place for it.

Look, if you’re just out having a good time with some friends or family, there’s no money on the line, nothing at stake, not even bragging rights—then I can understand bending the rules a touch.

But remember to put an asterisk by your score, because if you shot an 82 with 2 mulligans, then you really didn’t shoot an 82. Would you say you scored a touchdown if you were tackled at the 5 yard line? Just sayin’. I’ve known groups of guys who go on incredible golf trips, organize these ridiculous 3 day tournaments, and then look the other way while a bunch of goobers cheat through the whole tournament and take home a few thousand bucks. Really?

When I’m playing on a busy course, I’ll usually give my playing partners anything inside 2 feet—just to help with pace of play. I think that’s fair and reasonable. But if there’s anything on the line—including bragging rights—I might not be so giving.

It’s all about the situation. The more serious the situation gets, the more strictly I will enforce the rules.

If that makes me an overzealous rules enforcer, then guilty as charged.

I am golf pet peeve #15.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#14: The Drive-By Honker

#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

I’m going local today.

As some of you may know, I live in Nashville. Life has been crazy here in Music City during the last week.

The Great Flood of 2010 (or The 1,000 Year Flood as it’s also been called) has impacted tens of thousands of people throughout our city. Some of our landmarks like Opryland, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and LP Field have taken pretty bad damage from the flooding. The flood has claimed twenty casualties to this point. No matter where you turn, you see damage. President Obama officially recognized the city as a disaster area, meaning it’s now open for federal funding to help restore peoples’ lives.

My wife and I were fortunate. Flood waters reached our front yard, but stayed out of the house. Neighbors three houses down had water reach a few feet below their second level. One neighbor had to be rescued by boat. A friend who lives in Bellevue rescued 25 people in his boat and carried them to safer ground. Another friend lost the entire inventory of his store.

I helped some friends rip up hardwood floors and sheet rock yesterday, and I was stunned by the amount of damage in one neighborhood. You literally can hardly see houses because of the piles of debris and trash now in front yards and driveways, lined up and down entire streets. It’s indescribable.  No one ever thought this could happen in Nashville.

I could show you photos of our neighborhood, downtown Nashville, Franklin or Bellevue (google Nashville flood photos if you’re interested), but I thought I’d stick to the theme of this blog and show you some photos* from our local golf courses.

Not too many people are focused on golf around here during the past week, but it will give you an idea of the damage. Keep in mind that these courses are spread out all over the city. The flood didn’t just hit one area—it was widespread.

Gaylord Springs sits next to the Opryland Hotel. This is an immaculate, difficult course that has hosted Senior Tour events. This course has been closed until further notice.

Gaylord Springs Clubhouse nearly underwater...the course isn't even visible.

The Golf Club of Tennessee is a private course just west of the city.

Golf Club of Tennessee underwater.

Old Hickory Country Club damaged.

18th tee isn't even visible.

The Legends Course in Franklin is one of the most popular private courses in the area. Awesome track.

Twelfth Hole.

Mccabe Golf Course is a short, fun municipal course that I’ve played many times. I’ve even wrote about it. It’s a 27 hole layout, and 9 of the holes are now closed.

Serious damage at McCabe.

Mccabe will stay open but will now be a par 67 while damage is repaired.

More serious damage at Mccabe.

And those are just a few of the courses affected. Harpeth Hills has been closed. Richland Country Club has serious bunker damage. The list goes on.

If you live in the area, you know the damage we’ve seen here. It’s rough. But I’m amazed by the spirit of everyone in Nashville. Everyone seems to have picked themselves up and decided to move on with life, no matter how difficult the past weekend has been. It’s inspiring, really.

Some of these courses are an important part of Nashville’s business, and just like the city itself, they’ll bounce right back.

*Photos property of respective copyright holders. Used for informational purposes only.


No, those aren’t my two rounds from a local amateur tournament, though my efforts would probably closely resemble that.

Image: Flowski/Flickr

That 159 two-round score was the product of former NFL Great and future hall-of-famer Jerry Rice, who missed the cut in his first professional tournament—the Fresh Express Classic on the Nationwide Tour.

Rice is just another on the long list of former athletes who thought they could make it in golf. Johnny Bench and Mike Schmidt tried. Michael Jordan has always talked about it. Few of them ever even make a cut.

The former San Francisco 49ers receiver got into the Nationwide Tournament on a sponsor’s exemption—of course,  finishing 151st in a 152 man field.

This was nothing more than a marketing ploy, obviously. When he’s quoted as being “happy” with a second round 76, you know he doesn’t belong on the Nationwide Tour, even on a sponsor’s exemption.

It would have been much more sensible for Rice to play on a smaller regional mini tour…in Portugal. Seriously. They have great golf in Portgual. Why not?

If Rice, 47, wants to practice a few years and give the Champions Tour a shot, then more power to him. But, Jerry, stay away from the Nationwide Tour. You’re being ridiculous.

Who has three green jackets, a winning smile, and one big thumb? This guy. (Image: debby19/Flickr)

Let’s hop right to it. The 2010 Masters was unforgettable. Here are few thoughts about some of the bigger names:

Phil Mickelson: I like Phil. I’m not as big a Mickelson fan as most golfers, but I generally like him. With the struggles with breast cancer his wife, Amy, has faced in the last year, it was hard not to cheer for Mickelson down the stretch. It seems like just a few years ago when we were wondering if Phil could ever win the big one. On Sunday, he won his third green jacket and fourth major title. If he never does anything else (unlikely), the guy will go down as one of the greatest.

Tiger Woods: I say this in the loosest of terms: Tiger’s game reminded me a bit of anyone who has taken a bit of time off from playing. After a few months off, I’m just as likely to make a birdie as I am a double bogey. Did you see the pop up shots? Wow. After all that, though, he finishes in 4th place. Pretty amazing. I love his post-round answer to the question, “Did you expect to win?”–to which he replied, “Well, I entered the tournament.” It will be interesting to see when Woods plays next and if his extended time off will continue to affect his play. I think he’ll be back for The Players next month.

Fred Couples: What did I tell you? Okay. So I got my facts wrong—Couples is already on the Senior Tour (Thanks Mike). Does anyone really watch the Champions Tour? But watching Freddy play so well out there this week was like a blast from the past. It felt like 1995. If only he could’ve made a few of those short putts, Couples could have been right there at the end.

Lee Westwood: I’ve gone on and on about Lee Westwood on this blog. I love his game. I love his swing. Westwood is in his prime and has to win a major in the next two years or it’s a freaking shame.

Anthony Kim: I think Kim is ready to win a major now. Incredible 65 on Sunday. He definitely has the game, and I think he’s putting everything else together. He’s the kind of player that’s fun to watch.

Next major: U.S. Open on June 17-20 at Pebble Beach. Can Phil go back to back?

A few weeks ago, I started noticing that a lot of traffic on my blog was coming from Odd, yes?

Turns out, my local Fleet Feet Store here in Nashville is featuring my half marathon story on their home page. Interesting that a blog post about running–“Of Broccoli and Half Marathons“–has become one of the most visited posts in the history of this golf blog.

Maybe I should have a running blog. Doubtful. But I’ll admit I occasionally have schizophrenic blog-posting tendencies. I’m sure I’ll post about my first marathon experience, which is coming up on April 24.

Back to golf. How about that Freddy Couples? How about that Tom Watson?