The recreational golf season is under way, and these are some of the actual guys I’ve been playing with. How many are in your foursome?
Precise-Distance Guy He arrives at his ball and the scope comes out. “It’s 174 to the pin,” he announces. Mental calculations are made. Wind speed, terrain, the Earth’s magnetic field and the configuration of the zodiac are accounted for. He determines the club for the job. At no point does it dawn on Precise-Distance Guy that over the course of the day, a ball struck with his four-iron has travelled in a range between 12 and 205 yards. He flubs the shot. Back into his bag for the scope. “Looks like 167 to the pin.”
Mulligan Guy “I’m just going to hit another one.” These words have prompted more eye rolls than a father’s lifetime of dating advice to his daughter. Off the tee, Mulligan Guy demonstrates the same respect for the rules of golf as Gimme Guy does on the green. No point putting that downhill eight-footer with the sharp break—it’s a SURE THING.
Gizmo Guy An actual conversation…
Gizmo Guy: You’ve noticed my new watch, have you? (Important: He gave me no choice but to notice his new watch.) It cost $700 and it tells me my swing tempo. If I attach this plastic clip to my club, it’ll give me my swing speed, too.
Me: If you attach it to your wallet, does it tell you how quickly you wasted your money?
But Gizmo Guy isn’t listening. He is staring at his watch. He is poking at his watch. When he shanks his drive into a trap, he is swearing at his watch. To be fair, his profanity has perfect tempo.
Hair-Trigger Temper Guy Gregarious in the clubhouse, jovial on the practice range, Hair-Trigger Temper Guy is totally psyched to go golfing, boys! The first round from the beer cart is on him, fellas! Smash cut to the fourth hole, where Hair-Trigger Temper Guy is ankle-deep, fishing his golf bag out of the pond. (Disclosure: This is why I always bring extra socks.)
Pre-Swing Ritual Guy It’s basic etiquette to stop talking when a player tees up his ball. But when it’s Pre-Swing Ritual Guy, you’ve got time to finish your story. He’s going to be a while. Feet dig in. Weight is shifted. Grip is adjusted. Three practice swings. Grip is readjusted. Babies are born. Civilizations rise and fall. Optimism abounds at what appears to be a full backswing but, no, false alarm. Grip is re-readjusted. Practice swing, practice swing, closed-eyed visioning interlude, practice swing. Through the sweet mercy of God above, the club is finally pulled back for real and… a breeze comes up. He steps away.
Betting Guy Want to play skins? Bingo Bango Bongo? Let it Ride? Want to bet $10 on who gets this chip closest to the hole? Want to bet $20 that our $10 bet is the same as two $5 bets? After the round, while everyone else enjoys a beverage, Betting Guy sits silently at the table with an Excel spreadsheet and a scientific calculator. It’s going to be a long night.
Looks Forever For His Ball Guy It’s a banana slice off the tee, but that’s not going to dissuade Looks Forever For His Ball Guy. Sure, the reclaimed Pinnacle that cost him 50 cents has travelled at least 130 yards into a forest so thick that even Lewis and Clark would have said, “Screw it.” But this guy strides in with swagger, wielding a seven-iron as a machete. Days later, he emerges. His body is 80 percent poison ivy rash, he’s bleeding from the shins and there’s a snake around his neck, but look: He found a dingy grey Top Flite that spent the past decade under a log and moments later will shatter on contact. Victory!