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Greatest golfing character you've met


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Back before I was golf course architecture savy circa 2002 and a fan of the best courses I was playing as a single out in Palm Springs at Marriott's Shadowridge. I got grouped with 2 guys who were buddies in their late 50's / early 60's I'd say.  Bob Pecel was the one guy who I remember. We are playing and I'm using my Callaway Steelhead III 4+ off the tee box most of the day as I couldn't control my driver on that trip. I could hit it very well back then, around 250 or so and solid. Bob made a comment that I could probably hit my 4+ within 10-15 yards of my driver every time and I should continue to do it. He had a nice swing but couldn't get off the tee as he had a wrist wrap and just couldn't finish the swing.

 

Had a nice round and made small talk, but we go into the clubhouse after for lunch and they invite me to join them. Turns out Bob is a member at Sherwood, Bel - Air, Riviera, The Quarry at La Quinta, Desert Mountain, Pine Valley, and is one of the very few American members of the Royal & Ancient. I actually forgot the others but his buddy said, "Bob is a member almost everywhere, you are up to what 10 clubs now?"

 

I was impressed with the R&A and he apparently owned his own construction company and his buddy playing with him was his like right hand man in business it seemed. Bob played in alot of the pro ams, Bob Hope, Crosby, etc.  He was trying to recommend a course in the desert to me and couldn't remember. I gave him my phone number and coincidentally he called like 10 minutes after he left. He says yeah, the course was "Madison Club". Oh yeah I'm sure I can get on there.😀

 

I had the number on my caller ID on my home phone and think I tried to call him back one time, but didn't go through. Would have been a great connection as he was the nicest most unpretentious guy. Very memorable fellow.

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When I was 12 or so, my mom would drop me off at different muni around town for the day, and she'd have 5 - 6 hours to herself (I usually chipped and putted for a while after the round). At this one

The Coaching Staff of the 1989 Yankees- including Gene Michael, Stump Merrill, Billy Connors, Mike Ferraro and a couple of others. They had 7 and I went out as a single, and the Pro said, go ahead and

I was playing a public course once early on a weekday a few years back, it's usually pretty quiet at this time and we were a threesome. As we were playing the second hole a single came from behind us

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Great thread and great stories. I have a buddy that I play with very occasionally, but he’s such a riot. He’s literally one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever met. He’s also in sports medicine and works with a fair amount of college athletes and has a lot of stories. He tells the sickest jokes you’ve ever heard...enough to make an ogre blush. But the minute you see him he’s always got a grin and is ready to start talking some trash. It’s hard to play with him though, because I’m laughing so hard the entire time. 
 

I got randomly paired up with these physicians from West Virginia many years back in Hilton Head. They were a riot, too. Had the filthiest mouths I’ve ever heard and had a story for every situation. Another fun group of characters to say the least!

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I am not sure I can say I have met a great professional golfing character.  I have met some great golf professionals.  I would say Mac Davis (late country music singer and actor) who was certainly a character and a great fan of golf and golf addict.  Our meeting was on a flight from Denver to Tulsa and he was absolutely terrific.  RIP Mac Davis.

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Played in golf tournaments with a guy who was connected to the mob.  IIRC, he finished in the finals of the NY State Am one year...so he was a really good player.  He wouldn't talk to anybody but for some reason would talk to me.  It was like talking to Tony Soprano with all of this Italian slang that even I didn't know (I grew up in a heavy Italian area).  He would swear at the ball like Tony Soprano would do to the cops. Still have no idea why I was the only person he would talk to at tournaments. He looked kinda like Paul Goydos.

Another guy was a friend of mine that I haven't talked to in years.  Excellent junior golfer until he was about 15 years old and then he became just a very good golfer.  Parents used to take him everywhere for junior events across the country and he looked like he was going to be all set for the PGA Tour.  The rumors were that his family was connected with the mob as well.  Despite playing all of those events as a teenager and getting any golf club he wanted, his parents didn't have jobs.  And he's never had a job.  All he does is play golf and then head down to Florida for the winter...to play more golf.  He developed an incredible temper as he got older.  One time after missing the cut by a stroke he jumped on the hood of his car and smashed the windshield in with an iron.  I was also one of the few people that he was friendly to.  Mainly because when we were kids as he was beating my brains in on the course he said something smart to me and I may or may not have threatened to throw him across the fairway like a spear.  He respected me after that.

We had a guy at my club that I grew up playing that was the Al Czervik of the club.  The only difference was that he was a sub-scratch player.  He was hilarious and would really rile up the wealthier snobs at our course.  He also never used a tee.  He would just fluff up the ball on the grass or pile up some dirt under the ball and drill it down the fairway.  He was a great athlete when he was young, had a minor league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and a golf scholarship offer at Florida State but got his girlfriend pregnant and decided to work in his father's clothing store.

 

Another friend of mine was always into mischief.  I am usually down for mischief, but he was so much that it just became too stressful to deal with it ALL of the time.  He used to take golf balls and put them in long neck headcovers and then hit his brother with the headcover and then they'd chase each other around the course.  I've seen the both of them take full swing swipes, repeatedly, at each others head with their drivers.  After HS he moved to California and got arrested for stealing flagsticks and tee markers at Pebble Beach.  We had a conference championship for high school.  He played for a different team and every year after the conference championship he dump a bunch of golf balls out the window of the school bus they were riding in down I-81 in the middle of rush hour traffic. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RH

 

 

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He's a buddy of mine and a client I train, but the first time I met him was here in SoCal at a local course.  I refer to him as Mackenzie Tour "Mike".  He's a trust fund kid and played the mini tours and Mackenzie tour, but absolutely hates private cc golf courses and their members.  Too snobby and rude for his taste.  Doesn't have to ever work, but he loves golf so much that he plays 3x a week.  So he he's drinking a beer and golfing with us.  He's 1 under through 10 holes.  Pulls out a fat sack of ganja, rolls up a fat joint and smokes it.  Asks us if we want a hit.  I politely declined but my cousin obliged.  We talk about the cars he has, his home in Bel Air, his stint in the Navy Seals, and what life was like as a tour pro.  He ends up shooting 1 over, but playing golf inebriated on beer and weed is like playing with brain fog.  Doesn't work out too well.  Quite a character, but he's pretty down to earth and is a genuine person.  He says that the seals taught him a lot of life lessons and kept him grounded. 

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Played some rounds many years ago with some folks from "meetup". Most of the people I played with in that group were good people, not so great golfers, but whatever. I was pretty bad back then too. One guy stands out though, he was the slowest player I ever have been paired up with. He would stand over his chip for 30 seconds, no joke, then proceed to hit it all the way across the green. Then walk to his ball, stand over it, and 30 seconds starts anew. I think the guy had mental problems or something, one thing I noticed was that he didn't understand the concept of having a club for a given distance. A few times I hit a decent approach shot, he would then ask me what club I hit, and he'd use the same club for his shot even though the distance was nowhere close. Like in his head, he thought "7 iron is the club for this hole" whether he was 80 yards or 180 yards out.

 

The reason I 100% will never forget this guy is the 18th hole. Now the other two folks in our group already left at this point, they were done with that guy but I stuck around. It's a longish par 3, he hits his tee shot fat and probably has 100 yards left. The clubhouse sits behind the 18th green, maybe 30 yards past the green and elevated 20 feet. Guy hits it pure and it goes and goes, hits the roof of the clubhouse, rolls down onto the sidewalk, rolls down the hill onto the far fringe of the 18th green. Given the distance and elevation difference, he hit that club 40+ yards too long. Just clueless.

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I was paired up with random people playing as a single. One guy says call me mouse. He was Mouse Davis a professional football coach. The father of the run and shoot offense and had coached Jim Kelly and Heisman winners Andre Ware and Barry Sanders. He was great, he shared all kinds or great stories about football. He had forgotten more about football then most of us ever knew. He was humble and kind and encouraging. A lifetime coach. He was a quiet character and he helped my golf game. I made 5 birdies that day and tied my best score ever on that course.

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Playing in a member/guest at my brother’s home course, my partner and I played against a father-in-law/son-in-law team...  with the father-in-law being quite a character, it made for some interesting comments.  One of the comments that sticks out to me was what he said after he hit a particularly poor shot...  

 

He said, “well, that was a son-in-law shot...  Could have done better!”

 

ouch!  I think he was joking, but I have also heard that “the truest words are said in jest”...

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On 1/27/2021 at 3:22 PM, SurfDuffer said:

Hall of fame hockey player Brian Propp.  Spent the day playing with him and mostly talking hunting and fishing in between shots.

Propp isn't in the hall of fame. I double checked because I wasn't sure but, I suspected he wasn't. Not discounting that he was very, very,  good though.

 

https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/p/proppbr01.html

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I play the same muni. When I play as a single I often get paired with unique characters.

 

One guy, told me he is 74, plays the blacks and rides a cart. Tells me he plays the blacks as the mens group he is in play the blacks. He is an awesome golfer and nice guy. By about 12 or 13 his back starts to stiffen up and he stretches, then shows his playing partners, men or women, the scars on his back where he has metal plates/screws inserted from disc surgeries.

 

Another guy, always alone, rides a cart. He brings a bar with him. Makes his own martinis, shaker and all. Smokes the whole round Never without a cigarette in his mouth. A great guy.

 

Another is an unemployed electrition , 60's, pony tail. Always complaining about the union not getting him work. The first thing he says is that he does not allow gimmies, for himself. Quite belligerent about it. He putts them all. Then at the turn he lights up , smokes some weed, then breaks out his sandwich. He is a hunter and always makes smoked deer sausage sannies...and shares.

 

The last guy is Bruce. In his 60's. Told me he started golfing there at 15 and has played 2000 times. He is an awesome man. Has the weirdest swing. Shoots high 70's most times I ve been with him. But he is a green reading master. He has taught me about the breaks on every green

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I've told this story before but still cracks me up.  Paired with a couple visiting Arizona from back east.  Good players, and both VERY rough with the language.  Good folks. 

 

My buddy leaves a putt short so I obliged with the "Do you want me to hold your purse next time?" or something similar comment.  The wife offers, "I thought he stepped on his string".  That was a new one for me and slightly shocking considering they were pretty much strangers and coming from a female.  I'll never forget it.

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On 2/4/2021 at 8:48 AM, double_d said:

Propp isn't in the hall of fame. I double checked because I wasn't sure but, I suspected he wasn't. Not discounting that he was very, very,  good though.

 

https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/p/proppbr01.html

 

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A friend of mine and I were playing a round at Encinitas Ranch in SoCal many years ago.  He was a former club pro who had regained his amateur status and still played pretty close to scratch.  We got paired up with a guy who was trying to make a living playing the Golden State mini-tour with hopes of making it to the big time.  He was quite friendly and his game showed quickly why tour pros, at any level, and recreational golfers are a world apart.   This guy had never seen the course before and just ate it up.  He shot 30 on the front, backed up a little with a lowly 35 on the back.  Very impressive and as I said real friendly and easy going.  Never saw or heard from him again.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Summary, got paired with a single at a public course. Likely in his late 40s. Walked...smoked a cigar, played from the tips, has a wife and 2 young girls. Throughout the round we discovered some things:

  • Good golfer. Mens club champion multiple times
  • A couple years ago had a 6 shot lead on the back 9 of the men's club championship and had a mental breakdown and completely forgot how to swing the club and lost.
  • Twice attempted to quit the game by leaving his clubs in the parking lot and driving off (his friends picked them up for him). I believe the first was the day of the breakdown or shortly thereafter
  • Saw him weeks later on the range. Asked him if he was playing that day. Told me he played in the morning and played terrible. Basically played bad and become a mental case. Went straight to the range and was waiting to go out as a single to play again because he couldn't live with himself after playing as bad as he did in the morning. Somehow is wife is ok with him spending a saturday like this.

It is clearly an obsession with him. Seeing his passion inspires me.

 

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A friend of my Dad got paired with OJ... It was in the 90's right after he got acquitted and was still living in LA, but no longer welcome at Riviera. It was at a public course in the San Fernando Valley. My Dad's friend went to the course and asked the starter if he could get on.

 

Starter said, "I have a single going out and you can play with him, but I'm obligated to tell you it's OJ". He went out and played with him anyways.

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6 hours ago, AlwaysLayUp said:

A friend of my Dad got paired with OJ... It was in the 90's right after he got acquitted and was still living in LA, but no longer welcome at Riviera. It was at a public course in the San Fernando Valley. My Dad's friend went to the course and asked the starter if he could get on.

 

Starter said, "I have a single going out and you can play with him, but I'm obligated to tell you it's OJ". He went out and played with him anyways.

And ......

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When my Dad was still working, he got the chance to take part in the John Deere Classic Pro-Am on two occasions (he did a ton of business with John Deere). I caddied for him both times.

The second time we went, we got paired up with Brian Gay. He was pretty quiet...kinda seemed like he was just going through the motions because he was contractually obligated. But his caddy at the time, Kip Henley, was an absolute hoot. You may remember him as the winner of The Big Break: Season 2. He had one hell of a personality, and was incredibly engaging with everyone in our group. Telling stories, cracking jokes...keeping everyone at ease. And my favourite moment was when my Dad had a RIDICULOUS long put on the 18th green. Not only was it about 50 feet, but it was side-hill the whole way. Dad asks Kip for some advice...Kip walks up, stands over it for about 2.5 seconds, says "aim there and hit it well". Dad hits the put and it curls all the way down and drops. Anyone that was anywhere close to the green started hooting & hollering. That was Dad's championship-winning put moment....and I'm smiling from ear-to-ear just from typing this. And no, we didn't win anything in the Pro-Am, but you'd never know it based on that putt. My biggest regret is that I didn't ask the TV Crew that was on site if I could get a copy of the footage, because I'm pretty sure they were filming (just not airing any of it). 

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My older friend Gene that I used to play with when I played and practiced every single day.  He worked for himself as a logger, and once or twice he would take a contract to log an area of land.  He'd get paid $40-50k or whatever, hire a couple of guys, and go clear out the land.  Then take the next 6 or 9 months off and just play golf and poker at the clubhouse.  He had been a brawny guy in his youth and had been in a Rainier Beer commercial back in the 1970s, but had quit drinking except for the occasional non-alcoholic beer with lunch.  He lived with a lady who had health problems for about $200 a month rent, and would make up the rest by taking out her trash and buying her groceries.  He was a character and we had a lot of fun.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Have you ever met someone who seemed to be intentionally eccentric?  We had a strange dude that used to frequent our club who we nicknamed "Tall Paul", obviously his name was paul and he was tall.  Anyway, this dude carried around a copy of The Golf Swing book by David Ledbetter.  This was the first Ledbetter book with drawings of David Frost performing the swing moves.  Anyway, he 'accidentally' left his book in our pro shop one day and we thumbed thru it.  He had written his own swing ideas in the margins.  This in and of itself is not that weird, but in one of the scribbles, he had written that his idols were Ernie Els, Darth Vader and Hitler.  Yes, THAT Hitler!  He would also go to the practice green with a putter and tennis balls.  He would never practice putting with golf balls, only tennis balls.  But, i've saved the best for last.  He would walk around with a live toucan (bird) on his shoulder.  Not a talking parrot, just a regular Froot Loop toucan!  The funny/nasty thing is, this bird would crap while sitting on his shoulder and after about an hour, he would have bird crap running down the back of his shirt.  Nasty.  I got the feeling this dude just wanted to look eccentric instead of actually being that way.

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I got randomly paired with Tom Zutaut - who effectively got Guns'n'Roses signed to Geffen back in the day - at Angeles National one day. 

 

Man, that was a fun round. 

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