I have been playing this great game of golf for over sixty years. Over that space of time, I have seen many changes in the game. But one thing, that has not changed, is some of the things you hear on the golf course. Swearing is always prevalent on a golf course, but I am talking about the phrases that people say, during the round of play. When I was a youngster, I really did not pay much attention to this, but when I became an adult, I began to notice these things, and over the years, they have not really changed. There are the quick phrases like, nice shot, great shot, good up, and so forth. There are things that are directly related to playing of the game, like your away, or worse, your still away. These are the sayings, that are not directly related to playing the game, but have been around for as long as I can remember. Here are what I consider the top three, with no. 1 being the top one by a wide margin.
What am I doing wrong, or simply, what am I doing? You hear this more from the beginning golfer, but I have heard this from every level of golfer. This leads to other common phrases. You picked your head up. You swung too hard. Your trying to kill it. You did not turn. You did not shift your weight. Your playing the ball to far forward or back. Your grip is bad. Your stance is too wide or too narrow. With someone who has played the game for awhile, you may hear more technical answers. You didn’t make a complete backswing. You took the club back too fast, or too slow. Your are using your wrists too much. There are many answers to this proverbial question. There is only one correct answer. You took up golf, asshole. I would suggest bowling. Then you or your playing partner should just walk off the course.
The second phrase is weather related and it is really two phrases, but since both are concerning the weather, I have lumped them into one phrase. The first is when you are playing the round and the weather is less than ideal. Maybe it is cold or there is a threat of rain, or maybe some high winds. For the moment, the weather is not too bad. Probably cloudy, cold, but no wind or rain. When that is the case, someone will say, now, if it will only stay, just like this. I use to say this myself, until I noticed how many times, it was said by other members of my group. I think people say this, and I admit I thought the same way, because this might help keep it just like this. The other saying is when you are waiting out a rain, and it’s been about twenty minutes, and someone will look over at the horizon, and say, it looks like it is lightening up over there. My thought has always been, yes but we are not playing over there. This was more common when there was no radar to look at. It reminds me of another often heard sentence concerning the rain, before radar. This looks like an all day rain. Twenty minutes later, the sun was out.
Without a doubt, the number one phrase you hear on the golf course is, I can’t believe. I can’t believe is followed by whatever the player can’t believe. I can’t believe it didn’t go in. I can’t believe the putt broke left, or right, or did not break. I can’t believe the wind didn’t affect that ball. I can’t believe I hit it that far, and it went over the green. I can’t believe that bounce. I can’t believe I’m short. I can’t believe it went that far right. I can’t believe that I hit it that bad. I can’t believe he gets a stroke on that hole. I can’t believe that buried in the lip. I can’t believe it didn’t stop. I can’t believe I didn’t carry the lake. I can’t believe that sucked back off the green. I can’t believe that the green is that soft or hard. I can’t believe how high this rough is. I can’t believe that my drive only went this far. I can’t believe it’s 150 yards, it doesn’t look it. I can’t believe that we can not find my ball. I can’t believe that my ball hit the tree or did not hit the tree. I could go on and on. There is one question to ask. Just what the hell do golfers believe? If they do not believe, what they are seeing with their own eyes, do they believe in anything. All I can say is, they must believe that the game has some kind of super natural powers, that defy the logic of the universe. It can’t be us.
These are the most common things I have heard on the golf course, over these many years. I have heard some unique things and this one bears repeating. Many years ago when I belonged to Rolling Hills Country Club, I was playing in a team event, a best 2 out of 4 balls with full handicap, and our team was doing particularly bad. Nobody was having a good day. As we were walking to the 13th tee, and it was obvious we were not going to finish any where near the top, one member of our group said, its a wonder any of us have jobs. I never heard that quote before, or since, and it did give all of us a good laugh on a bad golf performance. But after the round was over, everything was returned to normal, when another member of our group said, I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ALL PLAYED THIS BAD.