The situation. You’re enjoying a lovely day on the links. You’re admiring the view, you’re taking in the scenic golf vistas while enjoying your current company. It’s been a great, albeit, long day on the golf course ,when, all of the sudden your enjoyment of the day has come to a screeching halt. A golf ball from the group behind you come screaming past you. If this has happened to you, then I can totally relate and I sincerely feel your pain.

This is a situation that presented itself and reared its ugly head very recently.

You see, on Monday, I had the absolute pleasure of playing a golf course that I never thought that I’d ever play on. Yet there I was. Recently, I had a golf outing with golf media professionals at the absolutely spectacular Devil’s Pulpit at The Pulpit Club in Caledon, Ontario. A private facility that features two 18-hole golf courses which are consistently ranked inside the Top 30 golf courses in Canada (The Paintbrush is the other).

The 12th Hole on The Pulpit. (Photo Credit: Alexander Toth, Until The Next Tee)

I was paired with a nice grouping and we were enjoying a great day on the course. The reality is that we were quite fortunate to play golf that day just because the rains that fell absolutely saturate the golf course. The Superintendent an his crew did yeoman’s work to give us a playable golf course. So, the round was cart path only making the day a long one but quite honestly, I didn’t want to see come to an end. The autumn splendour and the wildlife was remarkable. I can only imagine what the golf course would have looked like under a sliver of sun and cobalt blue skies.

We were on our second to last hole of the day in this shotgun (play your own ball) event. The 10th hole of the The Pulpit is called “Escarpment” for a reason. This golf hole tees off right beside the clubhouse and the tee shot measures 416 yards (tips) or in the case of where we were playing from 360 yards. The tee shot is very elevated with a clear view of the Niagara Escarpment omnipresent. There are no blind spots from the tee looking down (refer to the picture below). Because of the amount of slope I would suggest that this golf hole plays closer to 300 yards.

Aptly named “Escarpment”. The 10th Hole at The Pulpit features an elevated tee. (Photo Credit: Alexander Toth, Until The Next Tee)

The guys in our group played nothing more than a three wood even though the group in front of us had just about vacated the green. With all of us gathered in the fairway to strike our respective shots, all of the sudden a golf ball whizzes past at head height from the group behind. The group behind us gave no warning (FORE!) that we were in imminent danger until the golf ball had landed. We were in shock and we stared back towards the tee box. To be precise, I was glaring and my blood boiled. I was heated. At least had I died there, there is a small cemetery on a hole called “Memorial” (pictures below). I can think of many worse places to be laid to rest, yes the facility is that pretty.

There was some debate as to what to do with the golf ball. One was a popular choice on Twitter, in response to a Tweet that I posted yesterday. Pick it up. Another suggestion was to stomp it into the ground. Yet another popular suggestion in this poll that wasn’t. Of course, there was the thought to unceremoniously deposit the spherical projectile of death into the woods. I liked the originality of one particular Tweet.

As it turns out, we took the high ground and did none of the above. After several minutes we move on to the green. We only waited around to see if there was movement by the group to come down the cart path to make an effort to apologize. There was no movement. Even after we had vacated the 10th green and drove off to #11 our 18th hole, there was no movement. The group made no effort to apologize. Total class. So we finished our day and made our way back to the parking lot to take our clubs back to our vehicles ahead of an exquisite dinner. Parked right behind my partner were two players from the group behind us. Nothing. No acknowledgement, no apology. Crickets. I wasn’t even going to stay for dinner at this point. (Editor’s Note (October 7th): A player from that group has since reached out over social media to apologize on behalf on the player who did it. Thanks Rich!)

The gent that I was paired with inquired with the starter who was playing behind us an we found out. One name was recognized in the group and upon the conclusion of the evenings ceremonies we approached him. When approached, he stated who the individual was whom as it turns out works for a golf equipment manufacturer. Instead of apologizing, he first made excuses that bordered on condoning what had happened. “Yeah that wasn’t cool. He hit the drive of his life there”. He came off as borderline smug. Come on! Seriously?!

First, you work as what I assume is at least in an “Experiential Representative” role if not marketing and communications. I’m sure that he’s been fit an carries 14 clubs from that manufacturer and I almost guarantee that he’s an accomplished player so he knows how far he hits each club. I also guarantee that he (or they) knew that the hole plays shorter than advertised because of the amount of slope. There was no way that they couldn’t see us, the sightlines are as clear as it gets. It was just a piss-poor, negligent, irresponsible decision to strike the golf ball when he did. I hold that entire group responsible. you work in the industry, BE BETTER!

Had there been ample warning at the time of the strike to allow up to protect ourselves, I’m not angry. Shoot, in that case one got away from him and I may even offer up a “nice tee shot”. Had there been at least some sort of apology or acknowledgement then I’m tolerant. But, there was none of the above.

PSA: If you’re out on the golf course an there’s a group in front of you. If there’s any doubt that someone might be in harm’s way or a golf ball goes errant. Yell FORE!! As golfers, it’s our duty, obligation, and responsibility to keep other golfers safe.

If anyone reading this has been hit by a golf ball you know that it hurts. I’ve been hit twice by a golf ball while playing. Once on the inside of my right knee that ended up being bruised and made me unable to walk for two weeks. The other time was on the upper arm. Neither time, fore was called.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee