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Odd Man Out: A Guide to the Random Single Golfers That Will Round Out Your Foursome

Odd Man Out: A Guide to the Random Single Golfers That Will Round Out Your Foursome

Sunny, 65 degrees, and a light breeze on a Saturday afternoon.  I got work to do, but the golf course is calling.  So two friends and I head to the course to get nine holes in.  Obviously, given the weather, the place is packed.  Everyone is trying to golf – and I mean everyone.  Even those who love the game so much that they’ll play even when they don’t have anyone to play with them.

Golf Course Etiquette 101 – when there is a threesome that shows up to play, the goal of the course is to always fill that group with a fourth.  I get it.  And I am a gambling man myself, but there are very few bets riskier than trying to guess what kind of character you will end up getting as the fourth guy in your group.  It is risky, and usually not ideal.  It throws off your social chi – we had a good thing going as a group of three.  Now someone is stepping into our little world.  Ah, the (sometimes) dreaded single golfer.  Frankly, it’s your own damn fault for showing up to play at 3:00pm on a Saturday with only three people.  Send out just one more text.  Find some more friends, loser.

Anyways, there are a variety of single golfers you are bound to come across in your golf career and they all have pros and cons.  Depending on your mood, they are typically mostly cons.  Got to be tough being a single golfer knowing you aren’t wanted by the other three guys.  Sort of how I used to feel on my freshman year dorm room floor on a Friday evening.  “Oh, you guys are going to Euclid Ave tonight?  That’s cool we should all go!”  Notice in this conversation that I never got an invite and I just threw out the “we.”  Fake it ‘till you make it.

Anyways, here are the single golfers you’re bound to play with.  Be on the lookout for these guys, and learn how to deal with them accordingly:


The Escapee

This is who we played with last week.  Rob.  Rob was a good guy.  And the Escapee is a great match-up usually because he is typically extremely friendly and outgoing.  The reason being – he is doing anything to avoid being at home at that point in time.  Too nice out to be doing house chores all day.  Rob told us this as well.  Mrs. Rob was just nagging, and the weather was too nice for all that noise.  The golf course was his only escape.  He was saving the chores for Sunday when the rain came.  God bless Rob’s soul.

The Escapee also typically doesn’t drink.  We offered Rob a beer and he politely declined.  He already knows that he’ll be in the dog house when he gets home.  If he comes home with a hint of booze on his breath, he will be under the dog house.  That’s for damn sure.  So the Escapee stays sober and that’s perfectly fine.  He is usually great to play with because he’s not trying to go low with his score and he’s not trying to hustle anyone by gambling his face off.  He’s literally there to escape reality for a while.  Here’s to you, Rob.  That was a great chip on Hole 7 to set you up for birdie.

The Coach

Dude, this guy can get LOST.  The worst.  I am not a good golfer.  I hit good shots here and there, but I can’t put together a whole round.  And because I don’t play too often, my swing is fundamentally inconsistent.  Well here is where the Coach comes in.

He just met you, he knows nothing about how you and your friends play the game, and he’s already on your case.  Second hole, I take driver out of the bag, and I spray it out to the left and into the trees.  Then…

“Hey, uh, that swing seemed a little quick, huh?  Maybe slow down a bit in that backswing.”

And there we have our first popped blood vessel in my eye.  Fuming.  Hey guy, I’m aware that my swing is not good.  Maybe let’s not point it out.  Perhaps we just politely make some small talk, I ask you if you live around here, you tell me about your daughter that just came back from studying abroad, and we enjoy the weather.  I didn’t pay you to follow me around and critique my game – it’s already way too much of a train wreck and you aren’t going to be the one to save it.

Then come the empty compliments later on in the round.  Knock a 10-foot putt for double bogey right by the hole – “Ahh, you had the line the whole way!”  Nope, no I didn’t.  Please make this stop.

The Tour Pro

Okay, so let me get this straight.  You got matched up with the three of us in an attempt to make a complete foursome because the course is packed, and you think it is okay to just play two balls from the fairway and get some extra swings in?  Who the hell do you think you are?

This guy is the least social by far.  He’s not here to make friends.  He’s here to shave a couple strokes off his game so he can tell his work friends that he’s “this close to breaking 80” at the water cooler on Monday.  They honestly don’t care, really.  If they did, they would invite him to play and he wouldn’t be here ruining my round.

Here are a couple other traits to look out for to see if you have a Tour Pro on your hands: he’s playing from the Blues while you are all teeing off from the Whites; he takes his next shot even though you’re away because he’s got to get those swings in; and lastly here is a bonus, and this has actually happened to me before – after the second hole when you’re out of sight from the clubhouse, he immediately tees up on the third hole (oh, by the way he has the honors because, well he wants it) and as soon as he hits, he picks up his bag and walks down the fairway.  The Tour Pro ain’t waiting for no one anymore.  He’s too good to play with you, and he thought it was a good idea to try and play by himself during peak golf course hours.

But at least you and your buds don’t have to deal with him after he plays through you.  Then you catch up to him on the next tee as we sits behind the foursome ahead of you. Awkwarrrrrd.

One of the Guys

This dude takes on the friendly personality of The Escapee, and then takes it WAY too far.  He thinks because he got matched up with you three, that by the grace of God he just found his new best friends.  I’m waiting to tee off and I’m listening to my friend tell a story about his latest drunken tomfoolery and Best Friend Bob decides to chime in with his thoughts on the story.  That’s fine, I guess.  Maybe just stop there though.  No need for personal questions.

But no, he’s not stopping there.  By the end of the round he has asked every question.  He knows your girlfriend’s name, the bars you like to frequent, and he knows where you’re grabbing food after you finish playing.  He may have even asked you for one of those cigars you tried to stealthily pull out of your bag.  You thought you were so sneaky about it too.  Son of a . . .  He has officially infiltrated your very existence on this planet.

I don’t think I will ever top this: got matched up with a single one time, and it so happened the guy had a mutual friend with the three of us.  Following the round, our overly-eager pal decided that it would be a good idea TO EXCHANGE CELL PHONE NUMBERS.  After one round of golf.  I kid you not, to this day he sits in my Contacts as “Joe Upholstery” because he said he worked for a furniture company during our round.  Joe has yet to receive a text message.

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Why The Masters will always be King

Why The Masters will always be King

The Masters, the annual golf event at Augusta National, is this weekend. For those of you who still use Tiger Woods as your analogy-of-choice when out on the golf course with your friends, you may not have known the event was coming up. For others, fitting anywhere between fanatic to casual viewer on the golf spectrum, you know that this year’s tournament field carries a high quantity of story lines with it.

Golf is undergoing a regime change in many ways. The emergence of a young core of under-30’s threaten to overtake the Mickelson aged players’ stronghold on the game. Guys like Rory, Ricky, and Jordan are hitting the point in their careers where they start to pass the guys like Phil Michelson, and there is nothing wrong with that. Nature takes its course in sport, and father time is still undefeated.

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Alongside the personnel change, the PGA Tour is beginning to face questions about the future of the brand, as they progress parallel to the changing ways at which people indulge in sport viewing. Major League Baseball, as well as basically every professional league, are struggling to adapt to a new age of viewership, resulting in the loss of potential fans and part time followers. Social media reigns king in the highlight world, where SportsCenter and ESPN once had the market. Things are different, Goose Gossage, you are just going to have to get used to that eventually. Or, in the potential case of the MLB and ESPN, you can slowly fade into the realm of forgotten and deceased practices, right alongside the XFL and the Eephus pitch.

This, among gibberish, is an article riddled with hypocrisy, for I think golf and the PGA need to remain ignorant to the changing ways of sport and society. Now, the short term of that decision may result in backlash for refusing to adapt, which is understandable. Anytime you pass up on a quick-hitting “sure thing” like hashtags and emojis, choosing to go instead towards Jim Nantz and romance (not together, that’s fucking gross), you will face scrutiny from those financially invested. That’s not to say golf should avoid new-era technology all together, because using social media in a reserved manner can actually produce a perfect image for golf, but they should not succumb to putting Jordan crying memes over literally everything in sight.

Golf is different from most sports in that nostalgia needs to be described, in detail, for the moment to be properly captured. The history book of golf is less about what is written in the pages, and more about the smell of the book when you first open it. Much the same as Cinnabon, the beauty of the product and its sensory overload pre-indulgence more often than not outweighs the actual result of indulging.  Golf, for the average person, is about the feeling of going golfing, as opposed not your actual ability to hit the ball.

That is exactly why golf needs to take a strong stance regarding its emphasis on nostalgia and sentiment. If not every week, at the very least Master’s weekend needs to be pure and true to self. Long and slow shots of the beautiful greens, overhead views of the scenery, the quiet commentary coinciding with the chirping of the birds. All of that is why The Masters remains a juggernaut in the scope of American sport, despite the trends pointing to the contrary.

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People will continue to watch the PGA tour and The Masters year after year if it remains respected to the degree at which it is right now. The new wave of under-30 golfers in no way threatens the integrity of the game, as they represent the correct way to demonstrate personality without arrogance. Trends seem to come and go faster than ever in present society, and despite the changing landscape, golf continues to find its niche among consumers. This consistent true-to-self approach, coupled with some emerging young talent that remains “on-brand”, will continue to progress golf slowly through the tall weeds before it eventually takes down its first major opponent. Golf is a sport that does not try to change, does not try to over-complicate, and relies on the natural emotions of human beings to not waver. Major League Baseball is a sport that is trying not to change, ushering in a new wave of athletes who clash with the values of past athletes, and relies on 162 separate 4 hour viewing sessions from loyal fans.

Golf is trending up because it understands what it is. As things continue to change, venues get increasingly larger, and athletes develop into ridiculous specimens, golf quietly continues to sit somewhere else. Deep in the woods, past the front gate at Augusta, golf is just doing its thing.

I look forward to this weekend every year. I think I always will.

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RoundTable: Happy Gilmore 20th Anniversary Edition

RoundTable: Happy Gilmore 20th Anniversary Edition

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Happy Gilmore. So, we here at The Open Field felt it was a perfect opportunity to all contribute to our first ever Roundtable Blog, which will be a staple on this site in the coming months. Below, you will find a small piece from each author about what Happy Gilmore meant to them 20 years ago, and still means to them today. 

 

JAKE- 

90% percent sure I’ve never seen the movie start to finish. Have I seen it all or at all? Doesn’t matter, dude’s been making the same flick forever. I guess there’s an argument to be had here about what Sandler’s “best” movie is, and given the popularity of Shooter Mcgavin’s Twitter account that’s probably pretty fair. That said, there’s just something about “Is that it, Dad? Did the penguin tell you to do this?” that screams all time greatness, never wanted to fuck with that thought process.

My own dad was a doctor, he missed the playing 18 lecture in med school so to that point the hockey stick – teeing off bit is hilarious regardless of context. It legitimately reminds me of myself on the green with or without the beers and with an actual club. I could do without the Bruins affiliation, but he does the accent soo well…like I said: the guys got FORMULA. On second thought, keep the B’s jersey, I couldn’t love anything more than the best comedic Boston accent of all time coming from a Brooklyn-ite.


BOB – 

On Why I Am I Better Match For Bob Barker Than Happy Was Or Ever Will Be

On the 20th Anniversary of this beautiful and generation-defining movie, there is really only one thing that matters – revisiting the Barker-Gilmore fight. Why? Because it’s time to face the facts: Bob Barker brings out the worst in men. And I, for one, would love to end him.

Let me pick apart the inadequacies in Mr. Barker’s fighting style right now and show the world once and for all that I could kick the shit out of a 92 year old in hand-to-hand-combat like our dear friend Happy was so woefully unable to.

First thing any seasoned warrior will notice is Bob’s punching stance. Left hand hangs a bit low when he starts tossing uppercuts with his right. Tssk. Bob, Bob, Bob. You really think you can leave Western Barkerfaceyllvania open like that and I’m not gonna paint it with precisely-placed jabs like a young Drago? For such a charming and respected man, you sure are ignorant.

From there it does get a bit tougher. I respect that Bob knows how to work an opponent. Body-body-head. Hands come down, hit the head, hands come up, hit the body. Work it Bob. I can appreciate that. But I can also assure you that my diligent routine of four v-sit pull-ups per week has left me with an impenetrable torso like Anhur, the Egyptian god of war. You hit this body, you hit a steel wall reinforced with a thin layer of fat primarily for storing heat during the cold Boston winters.

Oh now you’re gonna keep your hands way out wide? This isn’t Karate Kid, Bob. You are not and will never be Ralph Macchio. There is no crane stance to save you. You leave that sternum wide open, you better believe I’m channeling my inner high school wrestler and delivering a blast double the likes of which your sorry Tales-From-The-Crypt-Lookin’-Ass has never seen. I will sweep your leg, I will win this match with no honor, and I will take both Elisabeth Shue and Vanna White as my lawfully wedded wives, monogamy be damned.

Oh I’m sorry, you think I care you hosted WWE Raw in 2009? Let me counter that hypothetical question with another. You think I wouldn’t clean house on WWE Raw using a debilitating combination of Sicilian wits and egregious application of vaseline to my underwhelming body? Think again, Bob.

And, unlike Happy, I won’t make the same mistake as every movie protagonist ever (see Oberyn Martell and his squished head). I will never, and I mean never, stand over your motionless body and gloat. Happy may have delivered one of the iconic shit-talks of all time, but hubris kills. Instead, I will take two steps back and deliver six to seven decisive chops to your carotid artery. And because I always learn from others mistakes, I will light your pale, yet surprisingly lithe body on fire to ensure no post-mortem tomfoolery will occur.

It would be a pleasure to meet you on the field of battle, Bob. But know that, should our fates ever cross, I will end you.


SHAUN – 

Happy Gilmore has an endless amount of quotable lines, and it is one of the greatest sports-comedy films (maybe even sports films) ever.  It provides a hilarious blue collar slant to one of the stuffiest atmospheres in the world: a golf club.  All jokes aside, Shooter McGavin may be one of the best movie villains of all-time, and other than Caddyshack, I do not think any golf movie gets recited on the course more often by regular guys like you and I.  And of course the film also starred Julie Bowen, and she is just splendid!

While I could still tell you the first time I ever saw the film because it is that important to my low brow choice of film-watching (rainy vacation on Cape Cod, circa 2001), let us take a step back and look at it in the big picture of Adam Sandler’s seemingly endless career on film.  This dude sold his soul to the devil, because no one with his resume should have two decades of films.  But here we are.

In 1996, Sandler already had a name for himself thanks to Saturday Night Live and his solo comedy albums, but his career on the big screen was not much to stop and look at.  Looking back now, Billy Madison sits on the Mount Rushmore of Sandler movies alongside Happy Gilmore, but in 1995 it crashed pretty bad and was not well-received, even by Sandler standards (which are staggeringly low).

But following Happy Gilmore’s success in the box office, in which it debuted at #2 in its opening weekend, the film marked the blast-off point in Sandler’s film career and he has not looked back, amassing over $2 BILLION in box office sales since.  After Gilmore, Sandler rattled off The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, and Little Nicky all within the next few years – and all of which he wrote himself, along with Happy GilmoreLittle Nicky was also the first film Sandler starred in under his own production company, Happy Madison Productions.  The name of the company came from… well you guys are smart so I will leave that to you.

Say what you will about the guy – he barely seems like he is even trying on screen sometimes.  But he has been successful and he has found his niche.  I like the guy.  I’ll admit it.  It is hard not to.  And Happy Gilmore was the first glimpse I caught of him as a 10-year old kid who was just glad his parents were not paying attention enough to catch him watching this movie at the time.

The PGA even spent an entire day last week paying homage to the film’s 20th anniversary.  It has cemented itself as one of the hallmarks of comedy when it comes to the game of golf, and given the age of the new golfers on Tour when the film came out, its legacy is only going to grow.

And from now until I am too crippled to swing a golf club, whenever I miss a putt, or two, or sometimes three on the same hole, it is almost a guarantee that I am going to ask the golf ball if it was too good to go in its home.  Kind of crazy to imagine that we are devoting this much attention to such a crazy film but it was a staple of our childhood.  Happy 20th Birthday, Happy.

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KILLIAN – 

Ben Stiler changed my perception of old people homes forever


MIKEY –

There’s enough humor above to take this a slightly different route, so I want to dedicate this space to shout out an unsung hero. The man responsible for making the movie everything it was 20 years ago, who did so by showing a lack of institutional control on par with Roger Goodell, but in alllllll the right ways. Fictional PGA Tour Director – “Doug”

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Doug, your inability to control any of the PGA Regulations that I KNOW were in place 20 years ago is why you are the MVP of this entire movie. Happy was literally fighting Bob Barker on national television and you suspended him like, a week. Shooter “Shooter” McGavin actually employed someone to follow Happy around and yell profanities during his back-swing. You’re either a moron or a god damn visionary allowing that to happen. In fact, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you allowed it by choice, in which case kudos to you brother. Without you, Shooter and Happy both become polarizing figures without a counterpart. Keeping them together, opposing each other so directly throughout the entire tour, in order to boost revenue and let integrity fall to the wayside, as most good leaders do. You set up the “Magic v Larry” the PGA needed during a very difficult period for viewership. You are probably the reason golf still exists today. Hats off to you Doug, for allowing the type of tomfoolery the PGA so desperately needed.

Oh, and also, a very serious tip of the cap to Happy Gilmore, Chubbs, Doug, Shooter, Bob, Julie Bowen and everyone involved in the movie that cemented itself as a transcendent masterpiece in the minds of everyone who has had the pleasure of enjoying it. We, here at The Open Field, salute your 20 years, and hope for another 100 to follow. Now, KICK HIM OFF THE TOUR DOUG!

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