32: Golf Carts Do Not Have Four-Wheel Drive

32: Golf Carts Do Not Have Four-Wheel Drive

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Golf and Sport

Golf Carts Do Not Have Four-Wheel Drive

The revelation that golf carts do not have four-wheel drive came to me one morning as I tried to find my ball in the mud, which I found out later was actually not part of the golf course at all but rather the site of a pending condo project, half a block away. I must have missed the out-of-bounds marker when I was crossing the freeway. It was just one more lesson in the complex world of golf.

I remember the first time I played. My twosome was paired up with another twosome. After my tee-off on the first hole went somewhat awry, landing on the clubhouse roof, one of the other players asked if I had a handicap. I thought his joke in poor taste and threatened him with my 9-iron. Now, of course, I realize that having a handicap is a good thing, even if it is 52.

Learning the rules and language of golf is crucial. It separates the obvious beginner from someone just having another bad day. Therefore, I have from experience compiled a few lessons that may help other novices.

If the instructor tells you to address the ball, do not take out a pen and write “to green” on the ball.

Try not to stand on asphalt in the summer while wearing golf shoes, unless you are with a very strong friend.

The easiest way to find a lost golf ball is to ask the guy limping in the next fairway.

Never insist that your spouse golf. It can lead to only two results. One, she/he plays really badly, complains for four hours and ruins your whole day. Or, he/she plays really well, offers four hours of suggestions on how you might do better and ruins your whole day.

A double bogey is not a strong drink from the movie Casablanca. It means two over par. And not a bad score at all. If they have a name for it, it’s a good score. There is no name for a fifteen.

A chip is not something left behind by a foraging cow. That’s a flap. A chip is a carefully choreographed half-swing that often goes further than your original drive.

A divot is a lump of grass that flies up from where the golf ball used to be. A damnit is a lump of grass that flies up in your face as you hit two feet behind the ball.

A slice is a ball that curves to the right. A bad slice is a ball that lands behind you.

A tough lie has double meanings. It’s when you have to come up with an excuse—for the umpteenth time—as to why it took six hours to play nine holes and why your breath smells like nacho chips and beer. It also refers to a difficult spot to have to hit your ball from. For instance, the base of a tree, the crook of a tree or the upper branches of a tree.

Heavy rough is the area along the edge of the fairway just before your ball is legally out of bounds. A good rule of thumb—if the guy beside you is barbecuing, you’re probably out of bounds.

And finally, Club Rules imply that you are not penalized by foreign objects on the fairway. Therefore, if you knock out a tourist with your drive, you are allowed to move your ball one club’s length from the body.

Now that you understand some of the basics, you should be able to better appreciate the game. And, you can focus on some of the more intriguing idiosyncrasies of golf, like if it’s completely made out of metal, why do they call it a 3-wood?

~Ernie Witham
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul

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