What I am about to share with you has been buried deep within the archives of my company’s lore. Only half a dozen people know what really happened, and the rest have just heard the story or seen the aftermath. I had plenty of interesting experiences in my career as a restaurant manager, but this one would be the last major one that still lives to this day in the stories told and retold at meetings and other gatherings.
In many corporate cultures, knowing how to play golf, or at least pass for being able to play golf is a nice skill to have if you hope to move up the ladder. While this might not have exactly been the case with my company, it was true that pretty much everyone on upper management knew how to play golf, as the stories of golf outings would gradually increase each year as the temperatures warmed. I had never been a golfer. The closest I ever got to such activity was playing miniature golf.
In 2007, corporate decided that it would be a good team building activity to have an annual golf outing. They said that skill didn’t matter, and that this was just for fun. Well I figured this was my chance to try it out. It was a blazingly hot Nebraska summer day as we all took to the green. We were broken up into teams of three. The teams each had an experienced golfer, an intermediate golfer, and a newbie. Yeah I was the newbie in our group. I was using the experienced golfer’s clubs, and when we got to the first tee he asked me if I had ever played before. When I told him the level of my experience his expression looked a little fearful at first. He gave me a crash course on how to hold the club and watched tentatively as I plowed the club into the ground. On most shots I hit more ground than ball. I would later learn why this man was so fearful of me using these clubs. These darn things are pretty expensive and fairly fragile in the hands of someone who didn’t know how to use them.
I didn’t break any clubs that day. However, I was really lucky that I didn’t break anything more than my pride that day as something “special” was about to happen. I wish I could say the novel act was some heroic shot I made that would make even the most experienced golfer envious. I wish I could say that the event wouldn’t make me look foolish. Yeah, that’s right I wish all right.
We were moving right along, and all I had done through the third hole was smack the ball about 50 yards. We were moving along to the next green and were snatching up balls that didn’t qualify (only the best ball out of the three in the group was used). To do this we were picking up the balls in a moving golf cart. I saw my ball, and we swung around to get it. As we approached the ball, I leaned over to grab it. The cart driver, who happened to be the most experienced golfer in our group, happened to jerk the wheel a little getting into position. It was just enough to make me shift in my seat. It was just enough for me to lose my balance as I leaned far out of the cart to grab the ball.
I’m not sure exactly what happened or how many times I rolled, but one second I was grabbing for my ball, and the next I am tumbling out of the golf cart. I came to a stop after rolling about on the course for about 20 feet. I just sat there. I was trying to take it all in. Did that really happen to me? As I sat there the cart I was in turned around sharply. There was concern on the cart driver’s face. However, when they saw the big grin on my face the two remaining passengers started to laugh as well. Another golf cart moved to intercept us as well. It was a couple of colleagues in the “refreshment” cart. They had witnessed the whole thing as well.
I can tell you a couple of things from the experience. First, a golf course is far softer than it looks (thank goodness). Secondly, the grass stains from a roll like that, are pretty difficult to get out. It was almost like I had tattooed part of the golf course to my knee caps. I had remnants of that as a souvenir on me for a few days afterward. Most importantly, no one seemed to care much about the game back at the club house. It was all talk about “the incident”. I may not have proven myself on the golf course with my skills as an athlete on that day, but I sure had left a memorable impression nonetheless.
I guess I should count myself lucky that I am the resident tech geek, or else a video of it might have made it to YouTube. Now that would have been legendary.
- Runaway golf buggy hits helicopter (telegraph.co.uk)
- Mix golf and relaxation (inclinevillagecabin.com)
- Joke of the Day (stillisstillmoving.com)