“My Life as a Golf Marshall” :The Blame Game

After playing golf for some 60 years if there is a hold up on the course most often it is the group ahead of the complaining golfers that get the blame for the delay. In a perfect world given that start times are spaced at 10 minutes apart the flow should be seamless but this is where inexperience and lack of consideration by golfers come into play. Inevitably it would seem the flow is disrupted and there is always someone to blame and that is a truism. Quite frankly someone is disrupting the flow but while some golfers are astute enough to figure out the problem is not simply the group ahead of them most blame the group ahead of them. But as a Marshall you zip ahead and see who the culprit is. You ask that they move more quickly and in almost all circumstances they move more quickly. The laggards can be many holes ahead causing that painful jam up and the laggards are so self absorbed they fail to understand what an empty hole or two ahead of them means!

And if the jam up continues who takes the shit….the Marshall. The whipping boy of frustration despite the fact the Marshall is always ahead of the game seeing who the culprit of delay is. If that culprit is detected the Marshall can only ask politely to speed it up or in the worst situation ask that best ball policy be followed. You go to the best hit ball and all shoot from that point. Rarely one must ask the laggards to pick up their balls and move to the next hole if there is an empty hole(s) ahead of these golfers.

Who gets the blame for a slow game? Most often the powerless Marshall. And the folks in the Pro Shop will get complaints few of which have flowed my way. Is it because I have established a relationship with golfers by treating them as human beings instead of commodities to be hustled along. Yes establish a human connection as a fellow golfer who has been through tough wait times and you have made an ally.

Then of course there are the dickheads that give you shit like today where a semihysterical old bird gave me shit for not chasing cyclists off the course. I felt like saying “You **** piece of **** there is only one Marshall and I can’t be everywhere at the same time. Yes you have to swallow your pride and silently say under your breath “F*** off Dickhead”. However after many zips around the course you learn to avoid the dickheads.

Again my style is not to frantically zip around 18 holes each hour but to take an hour for each nine and establish a relationship. Golfers are my friends and not my enemies. We are on the same team. Old style Marshalling  interactions are rarely positive but negative. Speed it up to an ally resonates more than if you say it to an enemy.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. 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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