I got an e-mail from my country club not long ago.
As you may recall, I joined a private golf club the end of last year, mid-pandemic, with a few lofty goals in mind: shoot a round in the 70s (check), lower my handicap to single digits (uncheck) and shed a few pounds with their accompanying gym membership (check still in progress).
So far so good. My golf game has improved, some might say sporadically, and a good time has been had by all.
As with any fancy schmancy golf membership, the powers-that-be send out weekly emails informing members of what’s going on at the club: tournaments, dinners, special events, etc. With COVID still lingering, there are obviously protocols management likes to keep us aware of.
In addition to said updates, they also like to keep members abreast of club rules. Here’s one of the latest emails I received.
“A code of conduct has been developed to ensure a safe, friendly and respectful place for members, guest and staff to gather in the spirit of relaxation, good will, fun and friendly competition. As we make a fresh start in the new year, please refrain from:
Overconsumption of alcohol
Misbehavior on the golf course
Bringing personal coolers and alcoholic beverages to the club”
We’ll get to issues two, four and five in a minute but essentially, the club is telling us (and by us, I mean me) not to say fuck, along with so many other glorious curse words, while playing tee to green.
I couldn’t help but take this as a personal attack. To make matters even more curious, my fellow members, with whom I joined last year, claimed they never received this particular e-mail, which I found fucking ridiculous. How could they not get this e-mail and why the fuck am I being singled out as the only profane one of the bunch? Or perhaps my fellow members were too sauced rummaging through their personal coolers to notice.
I’ve golfed in cold weather and I’ve golfed in the summertime. I’ve golfed in the north and I’ve golfed in the south. I’ve shot rounds in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s. I’ve golfed in sweater vests, slacks, parkas and shorts. I’ve golfed on shitty courses and nice ones. I’ve walked eighteen holes (sub-optimal) and driven golf carts (much more preferred). I’ve golfed sober and I’ve golfed hammered but I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever completed a single round of golf without saying the word “Fuck.” In fact, I curse so much on the golf course, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone in the history of the game golfing without a choice word or two. In other words, if a sailor and a truck driver had a love a child, it’d be me on the golf course.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of playing 18 holes but I can assure you, it can be frustrating enough to make a pastor swear. After slicing my ball into the woods for the third straight time, do you honestly expect me not to let out a blood-curdling “Fuuuuuuck!” at the top of my lungs? It’s cleansing. You can’t bottle all that stuff inside. Now THAT’S unhealthy!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t slice my ball into the woods… often… but it doesn’t take much for me to have a club-unsettling slip of the tongue. Hell, I’ll say “fuck” in the club house over lunch before I’ve even swung a club, never mind what happens after I’ve put a few in the drink.
Golfing and cursing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Not allowed? Cursing is as mandatory on the course as collared shirts and a visit to the 19th hole.
Speaking of 19th hole visits, as you recall, the e-mail also warned about “excessive drinking” which to me goes hand in hand with golfing and cursing. It’s my days off holy triumvirate.
I understand that without rules there is anarchy but what kind of life are we living if we can’t have a few pops, drop a few F-bombs and blow off some steam in the spirit of fun and friendly competition. Keep in mind this is a club that hosts draft parties for Major golf tournaments complete with buy-ins and payouts. I just can’t say fuck as I’m picking my golfers. The next thing you know they’ll tell us no listening to Beastie Boys on the course. Blasphemy! What screams long drive contest more than AdRock screaming Sabotage?
I was raised in a George Carlin household where we learned there were no such thing as bad words, only bad intentions. We also learned that the perfectly crafted bad word can add accent to a sentence. So, if the seven words you can’t say on television fly off the tip of my tongue after going from birdie to bogey, I consider it only natural.
To be clear, I’m not talking about being vulgar for profanity’s sake. There’s a fair amount of gray area between the G-rated Jerry Seinfeld and R-rated Richard Pryor. Just the occasional fuck to let the golf gods know they’re still doing their job.
Besides, if it’s good enough for our generation’s greatest golfer, it’s good enough for this me.