“My Life as a Golf Marshall” :“So *ing Cold on My Training Day” (April 3, 2021)

Yes up at 4:45 a.m. with my West Highland Terrier, a senior, barking for a “piddle” in the backyard. As the alarm was set for 05:45 for a 7 a.m. start no sense in getting back to bed so a shave and a change into a warm outfit with three sweaters as it is bloody cold. Minus 9 overnight so the green of the course is topped by a white layer.

I pour some tea into a vacuum container and head out to meet G an experienced Marshall at this busy Toronto golf course. G is to train me.

We zip out for a quick 18-hole tour with a do and don’t lesson and reams of paperwork. I thought I had retired from doing billion dollar deals as a lawyer. Here I have a bunch of paperwork 75% of which I barely understand but I suppose I will have to master the bureaucracy somehow without any practical experience.

I have three sweaters on and I am so cold with the wind chill factor in zipping around with a cart I am shivering and by God a shot of vodka might be just the thing!

Yet there is a severe alcohol policy at the course. Ask the patron who has brought his own booze on the course to dump it and hand over to me so he or she can pick up on their way out. Belligerent and insulting responses then call the clubhouse who can have Toronto by-law enforcement officers sent to deal with it. And you as a Marshall say keep on drinking your own liquor boys and the police will be waiting for you at the parking lot. And you’ll be stuck for hours before you get in your car when you are sobered up. Cannabis? Leave them alone. Golf course booze has a big fluorescent label tied around the can so you can detect if its smuggled or golf cart course supplied. But there are many tricks of concealment and when you see a Marshall coming cover it with a towel. I suppose at $2.45 a can at the Beer Store is cheaper than $6 golf cart beer plus tip. Alcohol consumption a matter of profit over safety?

Under no circumstances touch a golfer. If so you are fired. Like the feeling of being a eunuch in a harem?

Always be polite. “It would be great if you could speed up just a bit.” As a golfer you can be fuming about the idiots ahead of you. As a Marshall there are no idiots. Actually there are but you can’t say that just smile and be a happy Marshall.

All your interactions with golfers are written down whether it be a friendly greeting or urging.

A Marshall is a diplomat pleading with the 90% decent human beings and puzzling how to deal with 10% dicks who according to G will be dicks forever. Unfortunately as we have seen in American politics there are too many diehard dicks.

So being untrained and full of support for golfers I have been dealing with for 25 years as a golfer they say take it easy. We like your initiative today.

Just don’t be a Judge Judy they say…the accountants that seem to be the ruling caste of golf Marshalls.

Speaking of caste the golfers are 96% male and 70% white. A few Chinese and Koreans and one women in the morning crowd. The golfing crowd is a throwback to the 1960’s. However there are a slew of teen golfers who take advantage of a special annual junior rate. Even Rodney Dangerfield could get respect from these polite youngsters! For some reason the fall weather swells the number of Korean golfers.

Due to a frost delay of three hours and 45 minutes my training is 15 minutes. Have I been thrown to the wolves?

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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