Many times I have talked about my experiences playing golf, a game I have a love-hate relationship with, and the treatment of women on the course. On Mondays, I play with a group of women and we travel around to central Ohio courses.
Recently we were just out for a nice day of golf. This day there were six of us. Over the years that we have played together, there have been lots of funny incidents of varied origins, which gave us much to talk about at lunch following golf. This time it was apparently my turn in the barrel, so to speak, but this wasn’t so funny.
We had just teed off at an area course. It’s a special course to me because I actually learned to play golf there many years ago. We started on the back nine so the first hole we played was a par three, up a hill and over water. The first two people in my group teed off, then I stepped up. I didn’t notice that there was a guy mowing the grass on the back of the green. Of the three of us, my drive landed closest to the green, but was six feet short of it. The other two women were behind me. Now, it’s important to note that none of us were on the green on our drive (sadly). Apparently he was mowing either behind the green or on the back of it, and we didn’t come close to hitting him.
I pulled my cart around to the side, got out with my club and headed toward the green. Just as I arrived to my ball, someone was screaming in a loud voice from over near my cart. I’m wondering what’s going on and it turns out the guy mowing was screaming at me. He jumped off his mower and wanted to know why we hit when he was mowing. He said we could have killed him. Then he started screaming at me pointing his finger and asking me if we were aiming at him (seriously like we could aim that well). I reminded him none of us were closer than six feet in front of the green and certainly nowhere near him. I also reminded him that it is his job as an employee of the golf course to look out for golfers teeing off and to be aware of them hitting the ball. We are an experienced group of golfers and we know how things work.
That really irritated him and he continued to scream at me and yelled, “Who do you think you are?” I replied that I was someone who paid to play today. He continued to scream at me and now I raised my voice telling him he was out of line. He then told us we were all ejected from the course – we needed to get off the course now! We are all strong-minded women and had no intention of going anywhere, plus we were pretty sure he had no authority to do such a thing. Once again, I said it’s his job to move out of our way when we hit to the hole, and that none of our shots came close to him.
When he jumped off the mower, it started rolling down toward the lake. I was secretly hoping it would roll in, but he got on and caught it in time. He got to my cart before I could, and took the key out so that we couldn’t go anywhere. Now I am semi-furious. I don’t know why he thought he could push us around, but I told him to immediately return the key to the cart.
The worker was close to me and a lot bigger than me, and I’ll admit I didn’t know what he was going to do. I thought he might grab me because he was so angry!
I continued to tell him to return the key. He then threw it under the cart so that I couldn’t get it. Fortunately, my golf partners came with the key to their cart which also worked in mine so we could move my cart and get its key. As this abusive person on the mower drove away, he said that he was going to call in and report us (right!).
He drove away and we didn’t see him on the course again. It was the most threatened I have felt by another human being. The three of us playing together also discussed the fact that had we been three men this never would’ve happened.
At the end of the round we went inside to discuss with the owner what occurred on the course. We felt that the guy mowing was way out of line. However, it really didn’t go anywhere.
There are lots of nice places to play golf and we have only a few weeks left so we certainly won’t waste them there.
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)