You Meet the Nicest People ...
By bkuehn1952 on 11/5/10
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Brian Kuehn didn't disappoint. This is his 5th article to oobgolf and I've got to tell you- this is my favorite yet! You can read the other 4 here, here, here, here, and here.
Many Oobers, like me, play a lot of golf, often as a single. Nothing is worse than being a single golfer on a course filled with foursomes. For this reason, I generally seek out another single or an incomplete group when I arrive at a course solo. Over the years I have met some interesting characters and the following is a sample:
Gilles & Gilles, Jr. – One day at the local muni I joined a father and son. It was apparent they were not from the USA and I discovered Gilles, Jr. and his father were from France. Gilles, Jr. was enrolled at the University of Michigan to pursue a PhD in naval engineering and his father had come along to help him get settled. We had a great time and then went our separate ways at the end of 18 holes. Fast forward 4 years later. I wandered down to the first tee at the muni and asked if I might join the 2-some who were preparing to play. They were happy to have me join them and I noticed they had French accents. As we played the first hole I thought about my experience from several years prior and the older gentleman and I kept eyeballing each other. Finally on the 2nd tee I asked if they were father and son and if possibly the son had a PhD from U of M in naval engineering. The father burst out laughing, confirmed the information and said he knew we had played together before. He had played exactly 2 rounds of golf in the USA, four years apart, and I had joined him both times.
Walter from Lake Charles, LA – Walter was undergoing therapy at the U of M hospital for a stroke he had suffered several months previously. One of his afflictions was aphasia. He had forgotten many words for common objects. He knew what the object was used for but did not know the word. As we walked the course he would point to things like a ball washer and ask what the name was. He was an incredibly upbeat person for the problems he had and I hope he is still playing golf every day down in Louisiana.
Steve Reese – My nephew and I were playing golf in Hershey, PA. Our family periodically would get together in a central location and that year we all went to Hershey. We hooked up with a single and he introduced himself as Steve Reese. I asked if he was connected to “Reese” as in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (owned by Hershey Chocolate). He said, “Yes, I am an heir to the Reese’s Peanut Butter empire.” Then he added, laughing, that the Reese family was large and the purchase price paid by Hershey’s for Reese’s had not been particularly huge. All the Reese family kids held down regular jobs and were not wealthy.
Dr. Naburu – I met this physician at the local muni many years ago when I had a season pass. Dr. “Naburu” was taking advanced training at the University of Michigan Hospital. He had a family back in Japan but he saw his 2-year residency as a real opportunity to indulge his passion for golf. He was determined to play as much golf as possible during his stay in the USA. Rain, cold, wind, it did not matter to him. Every day after medical training he was on the course. Many of those evenings he had me as a partner. I think one of the reasons I like the Japanese people is their love of golf. I truly hope he is happy back in Japan and gets the opportunity to pass on his passion to his children.
The Eccentric – I don’t know his name and to this day I still marvel at this quirky guy. A friend and I joined another 2-some on the first tee. Everything proceeded normally until “The Eccentric” prepared to hit. He started out standing behind his ball and picked a target, so far so good. At that point the ritual started and my buddy and I stood there open-mouthed in shock. “The Eccentric” began to shuffle in little steps in a 90 degree arc to his set-up position. Tippity-tap his feet went as he slowly approached the hitting position. Once in position his feet kept up a rapid cadence while he waggled and moved his arms in and out. After about 30 seconds of this I started to suspect a joke but “The Eccentric’s” partner just stood there like this sort of thing happened all the time. Eventually all the gyrations stopped, a swing was made and a very good tee shot occurred. This process continued throughout the nine holes we played. Tee shots, approach shots, putts, everything was proceeded by the ritual. He was a pretty good player but the pre-shot routine made for a looooong nine holes.
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So what interesting, strange or semi-famous people have joined you on the golf course?
This was written by Brian Kuehn, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.
[ comments ]
I don't play a ton as a single though I've enjoyed times I've been connected with people. Never anyone famous though. Once while playing with a group- a cart came flying around the corner on the path and almost hit me. I'm almost sure it was Chris Cooley (Redskins, TE) but I can't confirm that. Was in the right area of town though- just don't know if he even golfs or was that day.
One of my favorite pick-ups was down at one of the Disney courses in Florida. My mother, father and I were joined by Dennis Green of Boston Celtics fame. We were star struck as we come from a big basketball family. He was impressed because we kicked his ass at golf. It was an incredibly fun round and I was only 12 at the time.
My copilot doesn't play golf, so I am constantly playing with strangers on our trips. Played 18 with "Easy Rider's" Dennis Hopper in Taos. Learned about the FBI from an agent at Los Alamos. Lots of very nice people. I can't remember ever playing with anyone who wasn't genuinely receptive to joining up and fun to be with.
good read... I have been paired up with some really nice people. Once this guy stopped at the portipotty and was in there for a pretty long time as i waited on the next tee and finally he stuck his head out and said hey you got an extra towel i ran out of toilet paper! i gave him my old towel and finished the round by myself.
@banker85- that is beyond gross! haha.. oh- M2D's story reminded me- this summer I did get the chance to play with one of George HW Bush's Secret Service agents.
I've been playing as a single quite a bit this year as most of my friends don't want to play as much as I do or are not willing to play in some semi-inclement weather. I haven't played with anyone notable. I was behind Scott Burrell's group at the TPC River Highlands this year. I find golfers typically to be very nice people.
I have been turned away as a single a couple times, or just told to play through an already incomplete group. It's like getting rejected by a hot girl.
@dartboss04: ya it can be insulting sometimes... my friends are just too cheap and only go to drink, so i would rather play with a group of strangers that take it semi seriously and know what they are doing then my hack friends. I dont ask groups if i can play with them that just comes off as needy, i will just be nice and not act annoyed if they are holding me up. I had a group that held me up on 3 holes and on the fourth i was waiting in the fairway for my 3rd shot on a par 4 and this old man screamed "c'mon lets go already" and waved all violently at me. then they stood right on the edge of the green like there was no chance i would hit them. The sun was right in my eyes and i had no idea where the ball went but it landed 3 feet from the hole. No1 even said nice shot, i wasnt even rushing them or anything i was suppose to be working so i didnt care about time that day. I did not want to play with them...
I was playing solo when around the 6th hole I caught up to a young lady playing solo as well who was being held up by a group of guys in front of her. We decided to finish the front nine together. She began drinking water so I teed up first. I was nervous not wanting to look stupid so I took a nice smooth swing and I killed it. With my gps I measured it at 275 yards. I tell you the yardage cuz she teed up from the same tee and outdrove me by 10 yards lol turns out she had play for the LSU golf team lol
A couple of years ago I was playing alone and caught up with a three-some that was waiting in front of me. These guy were classic rednecks that you don't find very often on a golf course. They invited me to join them so I walked up to the first one, introduced myself and held out my right hand to shake. He held out his left hand and said "I just pee-ed with that hand"
SD Charlie says:
Great stories, to be sure!
I've played quite a bit as a single, and have had singles join my group. No famous people yet, but always courteous and good golf-loving people. I was close to joining a group of 3 hot blondes. Now there's some slow play I wouldn't mind.
SD Charlie says:
Oh, there was one "small world" type story, but it happened to a buddy of mine. So, a while ago, my girlfriend's mom told her that a lawyer from work would be moving out to San Diego, taking a job in my girlfriend's field of study. About a month after that, my buddy says he just played golf with a lawyer who just moved from Connecticut to San Diego. You guessed it, same guy. Crazy how stuff like that happens!
I was on business returning to the general area where I grew up. Playing as a single I was joined by a 75 year old Korean man. It took me til the eighth hole to realize that this was my close friends father. I practically grew up with this old guy and didn't recognize him. LOL - Fail! Pretty embarrassing!
I went to Vegas in September and my wife doesn't play so I was by myself. When I got to the course I was paired with this nice old asian woman. What was so interesting was her cart. It was a light blue mercedes cart. Had the emblem, tail lights, the whole 9 yards. Her game wasn't bad either. She was very accurate just didn't have the power.
I had the pleasure of joining a group that included Tomas Boy, one of the best retired soccer players from Mexico.
I was a walk up, the starter asked me to join the group because the course was full. We all got along so well I became a regular (every Friday for a couple of years). I had no idea who he was at first, but figured out he was famous because so many people approached him. He is now the Head Coach (Director Tecnico) of Morelia. He is very polite and courteous, but ultra competitive. Tomas always had the best jokes and war stories. I miss that Friday group. We all played to the same level so the bets were normally decided on 18...lot's of smack talk and pressure.
Bryan K says:
I had Charlie Korsmo playing in the group in front of me once about 15 years ago (when he was a kid). The kids I was paired up with went to go get his autograph, and I never saw them again.
@Kickntrue - you should tweet chris cooley and ask if it was him.
I played with Bruce Bowen, retired basketball player from the Spurs, he's like a foot taller than me, but not a very good golfer.
Kickentrue: My copilot's son is a secret service agent, was the guy you played with named Brad?
A few older guys on my course that are not that great, but super-fast players (3hr 15m rounds). We let em play through one day an witnessed their swing. Both had very herky-jerky, arhythmic swings. My friend commented "Wow, looked like they were break dancing." I followed with "I think one was Turbo and the other Ozone" (a reference to the lead characters in the terrible 80s break dance movie Breakin). Still don't know their names, but they will always be Turbo and Ozone to us.
We have a regular threesome, so we always get paired up with a single. Nobody famous yet, but some odd people here and there. The ones that drive me crazy are the guys that apparently don't have many friends and want to talk your head off. They're the same guys that either give you unasked for advice, or act like they've known you for years and interact with your group "too much". Not sure if you know what I mean by that. Most are great people, but there are always a few that you pray are only playing 9 holes. Oh, and we play at a course that was frequented at one time by a lot of Sacramento Kings (i.e. Chris Webber and Bobby Jackson would play there a lot). Never ran into them, but we were always told they were ahead of us holding up play.
Michael Jordan was in the group behind us at RTJ in Northern Virginia back when he lived here. They were playing pretty fast, so we let them through. Michael bombed one >300 yards & we never saw them again. Heard him leave though--could hear his car engine (Ferrari?) & squealing tires from the 17th fairway.
I met up with a nice, older guy, at a local muni course. We were behind all the leagues, so we decided to play together. He was in a cart and had a handicapped flag on his cart (allowing him to drive anywhere but on the green). He walked with a bit of a limp, but nothing too terrible.
So we're playing a little and we're talking about how we got started in golf. He had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) 10 years ago. He said he thought of all the things he'd never done in his life, so he went out and bought golf clubs and started to play.
I'm a younger guy, and hit the ball pretty well. He was an older guy, with ALS, and hit the ball much shorter. But he hit every green that 9 holes, shot -2, and took $10 from me.
After the round he said God gave him ALS, but gave him a golf game with it, so he couldn't complain too much. He smiled, we went on our way, and to this day I'll never forget getting taken for money from a guy with a handicap flag on his golf cart.
homermania, who is Dennis Green? Dennis Johnson? Your big basketball family might have let you down. There's no such Celtic.
My dad used to be the pro at Valley Hill CC in Huntsville, and he said that Jim Boeheim, Syracuse men's basketball coach, would always come out and play. We own our own shop now, and he gives lessons to NFL Hall of Famer John Stallworth.
Bryan K says:
MiddleAgedGuy: Did Jordan bomb it 300 yards? Or did he slam dunk one in the hole from 300 yards out?
Bryan--I exagerated... he started running from the tips, but didn't actually jump until he got to the white markers!
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