If you want to golf with me, bring your hardhat

image Though I’ve only been golfing a few times in my life, it was clear that my reputation had preceded me at the course last weekend. I know this because golfers immediately traded ball caps for hardhats, then scurried down into the sand bunkers like allied forces preparing for heavy fire. As I took a practice swing, the surrounding trees emptied of all bird species — not in a smooth, organized pattern, but in a frenzied explosion of flapping and panicked birdsong that left three Canada geese lying unconscious in the rough.

Speaking of which, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize once again for the tragic death of that swan near the putting green. Had I known the difference between a putter and a pitching wedge, things might’ve turned out differently for that majestic creature.

Because of my past experiences, I was determined to make things different this time.


By becoming more comfortable with the game. I immediately went online for help and, thanks to the power of the Internet, found myself on a pornography website after typing in the first term on my list:

Mixed foursome.

For anyone else who might be looking to the Internet for golf-term clarifications, I’d also suggest avoiding Scotch foursome, shag bag, hooded club, loose impediments and (this really goes without saying) woodie.

While these are all legitimate golfing terms, try explaining that to your editor after she finds you on a web page linked to the golf term Double-d (Which, by the way, means when a driver is used on the fairway after it has also been used to tee off—so THERE, Ms. Smarty Pants!)

After getting a handle on the game’s terminology, the next thing on my list was golf etiquette. For a lot of people, one of the things that keep them from actually trying golf is the fear of unintentionally doing something that, as a result of not knowing the proper etiquette, gets them clubbed to death by someone with a 9-iron. That’s because, to the outside observer, things that seem to warrant a good clubbing are actually no big deal.

You want to swing your club and take a six-inch gouge out of an otherwise perfect lawn?


Want to drink a beer AND drive an electric go-cart through the woods?

Perfectly acceptable.

However, walk between someone’s ball and a small hole in the ground, and there’s a good chance you’ll be found floating in a water hazard. The thing to remember is that you will undoubtedly make some mistakes your first time on the course, and that’s to be expected. What won’t be expected is a hollowed-out golf club that can be loaded with tees and used as a blow gun should you need to defend yourself.

But you didn’t hear that from me.

This brings us to the actual fundamentals of playing golf — which begins with finding your “natural swing.” Ask any golfer the secret to doing this, and they’ll tell you its all about having the proper grip. To achieve this, make sure the back of your left hand and the palm of your right hand are both facing your target. Then, in a smooth arc, bring them up to your mouth while making sure not to spill your beer.

After a couple of practice swigs, place your beer back in the cooler and you’re ready to tee-off. This may not improve your swing much, but it will provide you with a legitimate excuse as to why you shot a 167 on a par 72 course.

And if that isn’t enough, you can always claim that playing in a mixed foursome was just too darned distracting.


(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

51 thoughts on “If you want to golf with me, bring your hardhat”

  1. I just googled “how to swing club” and I ended up on a porn site again! I’m starting to think that golf is just a made up game created solely for the purpose of giving plausible explanations for googling porn terms.

  2. I’ve only ever played the mini version of golf myself. The real one sounds stressful. Also, I’m almost afraid to ask what the non-porn definition of a shag bag might be. 0_0.

  3. My brother-in-law gives lessons , if you lived closer i would definitely recommend he help you out lol .

  4. Is this why people are always telling me to get a grip? Thought it just meant my pint glass threatened to spill.

    You’d think that someone who’d spent so much of his life teed off at the world would be better at golf, but after a few unfortunate incidents with a hungry-hungry turtle and an amazingly sharp windmill blade, I’ve pretty much given up the sport.

    Now the only time I tend to putt around is on a Wednesday morning after Taco Tuesday.

      1. The polar bears are the worst…you never see them until they’re right up on you. Had to ricochet my shot off a moose one night just to avoid the maple syrup hazard…no one wants sticky balls.

            1. It turns out that Grolar Mom’s are always Polar Bears. How anyone or anything can engage in non-consensual acts with a female Polar bear is beyond me.

                1. Bwahaha! That’s below 66°33′45.7″ latitude (the Arctic Circle ) – above that is the realm of the female Polar bear. That’s why our northern peoples are so tough – cougars are childs play for them. 😀

          1. That is somewhat frightening…couldn’t have been a mating of a koala (not a bear) and a polar bear. No, that would have been too easy. Grizzly and Polar…of course.

      1. Glad I could help. Last I golf I slipped of a golf cart and fell under it, took out my shin and the almost passed out on the green with the pain. Ha! I’ll bet you’re feeling lots better now! 😉

        Side note have you seen this craziness that has taken shape on it’s own?

        1. Between the two of us, I think we clould win the Masters with our handicap alone!

          And what’s the non-blog blog? I read Paul’s piece (very intriguing….) and am waiting for the big plot twist (she’s actually a man?) 😉

  5. I’m a terrible golfer but feel more prepared now that I am better with the terminology so thank you! I once dated a bit of a douche who expected me to know all about golf and golfers and golf attire and get who he was talking about when he used some dumb nickname he made up himself. He called me at 4am to tell me what tiger woods was wearing in some European tourney. True story, once, when I was caddying for him, I almost left his ass stranded on hole 16. I did end up taking him back to the clubhouse but he narrowly missed me backing his ass over when he got his clubs out of the back. I told him I wouldn’t show such restraint the next time so it would behoove him not to ask me to caddy for him again.

    1. Good for you, Hollie! Not just because you managed to get out of having to play any more golf, but also because he’s probably still using too many strokes on his, uh… short game… 😉

      Well done!

  6. Hahaha! 🙂 The last time I went golfing, I hit the ball, it flew straight up in the air and when it came down, it hit my golfing partner on the arm and broke it. She wore a cast for six weeks and I never went golfing again. I was the butt of golfing jokes for many years …

  7. Ha! I too am more of a miniature golf person than real golf – too many dangers n the real golf course. After all, you can be fined for drinking in public at the mini-golf course, because, of course, it is dangerous. But add in electric vehicles, rough roads, dangerous clubs and flying balls and it is fine(and expected) to drink yourself silly because. after all that is a part of the tradition of the game (invented by Scotsmen). i have only golfed a few times in my life and the very last time one of my party (who shall remain nameless)was so eager to get to their ball on the green that the cart was parked on a slope without the brakes on. Some diving skills were required to finish the game as the cart, with all our clubs, etc., rolled down the grade and into the pond. 😀

    Oh, as an aside Ned, I have part 1 of a three part guest post over at https://julienoblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/melanie-part-1/ I would be honored if you had the time to drop by for a read.

    1. Gibber tipped me off yesterday, Paul! Very intriguing. And yes, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be traveling cross-country for a month in a small cab with someone else’s wife. I guess as long as no one touches the stick shift, all is good…? Looking forward to the next installment 😉

  8. I thought I was playing golf, but my mates agreed that what I’m doing with clubs is definitely not golf, and no-one seems to know what I’m doing. Including me.

  9. Two words. Muscle memory. A good golf swing depends on it. I don’t know what you should do if your memory is failing though. Perhaps try to remember how you found the porn sites?

  10. When will editors learn that writers are notorious for looking up weird shit? It’s part of the job description!

  11. The last time I was anywhere near a golf course, was its driving range. I sliced/ hooked the ball (can’t remember which is which) and beaned my brother on the head. Thank goodness I didn’t hit any of the other people there. Haven’t been near a course since.

  12. Ironically, growing up, my grandmother would often take me with her to work at the St. Catherines Golf and Country Club. I’d wander freely (especially on weekends), as she labored in the laundry. But I never grew t love the game itself. You make a good case tho, Ned
    Thanks for inspiring a much-needed stroll down Memory Lane..

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