It Wouldn’t Take Much To Make My Day

It would make my day if the person responsible for running a cart across my 6th green this afternoon and breaking my flag stick, would fess up, offer to pay for a new flag stick and the damage to my cart, and then apologize.

In my 20’s and 30’s, I worked at Gold Mountain Golf Course, which is a municipal golf course owned by the city of Bremerton. My first eight years or so there, we had 18-holes and were doing between 70,000 and 75,000 rounds per year, busy enough to warrant building a second course. On a typical Saturday or Sunday, we’d average 325-350 rounds. It was a busy place.

Everybody that worked there took a lot of pride in the course. Every day we’d get comments about how nice the greens were, and about how good the overall conditions were. Our grounds crew did a great job, and they got the support they needed from the pro shop staff and the city. We had a great team of people, and we took great pride in the entire facility.

Every year, at least four or five times, someone would take a divot out of a green. It would usually be around the cup, so it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out what happened. But trying to catch who did it was nearly impossible. Every time it happened, we’d all say ‘I’d sure like to catch somebody in the act of doing that.’ It was really frustrating, especially given how hard everyone worked to make the course so nice.

Well one Saturday I got lucky. I was out on the course doing some marshalling. It was later in the morning or early in the afternoon, and I saw a guy miss a putt on the 2nd green, take a big swing at the ball, and take a fairly substantial divot out of the green. He had no idea that I was sitting back by the 150-yard marker watching.

I raced back to the clubhouse, found Scott Alexander, the head professional, and told him what had happened. I was both pissed that someone had taken a big chunk out of the green, and giddy that I had caught them in the act. Scott asked me to go out and get the guy, and bring him to his office.

I caught up with the guy on the 3rd green and told him we needed to head in. He didn’t even ask why. He knew. It took all the restraint I had to not tell the guy what I thought during the ride back. He didn’t have anything to say, and it was a pretty quiet trip. I took him up to Scott’s office, Scott looked at me and said ‘thanks,’ and closed the office door.

A couple of minutes later Scott called down to the pro shop and asked me to take the guy back out to his group so that he could finish his round. I about fell over. So did everyone else in the pro shop. Scott is one of the nicest guys in the world, but when he needed to be, he could be pretty direct, especially if someone was being an idiot or disrespectful.

I don’t know why, but I never did ask Scott about the conversation that he had with the guy, or why he let him back on the course. I think all of us felt like if someone did that to our course, and was that disrespectful, we’d show him the door and tell him never to come back. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why Scott didn’t do that.

Now I understand. Now I know why Scott didn’t read the guy the riot act and send him packing. People make mistakes. People do stupid things. And while at first glance it may seem like they were being disrespectful by their actions, accidents happen, especially after a relaxing day on the course, enjoying a few adult beverages.

Good people can do dumb things sometimes. So you find a way to let them save face, own up to what they did, and then you move on. Carts can be fixed. Flag sticks can be replaced. Grass will grow back.

It would make my day if the person responsible for running a cart across my 6th green this afternoon and breaking my flag stick, would fess up, offer to pay for a new flag stick and the damage to my cart, and then apologize.