Get Your Hose Off the Green, Bob!
By klangdon on 1/18/07
Can you imagine hockey players playing while the zamboni is busy smoothing the ice? How bout a baseball game going on while the outfield is being mowed? Can you imagine playing basketball while someone sweeps the floor around you? Of course not! Only in the sport of golf do you see play continue while maintenance is being performed. In every other sport the maintenance is done when play is suspended. Unfortunately, except in the pro ranks, that is not the case with golf.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when you encounter a maintenance worker on the golf course that distracts me or affects my round in a negative way. You may ask, "What's the big deal? He's just a harmless guy on a mower." Well, it doesn't have to be a big deal. In fact, it shouldn't be! That should be all he is. Golf is a hard enough sport to start with. The last thing you need when you're trying to shoot a decent score is someone driving past you on a loud mower while you're in the middle of your swing.

Golf is a hard enough sport to start with. The last thing you need when you're trying to shoot a decent score is someone driving past you on a loud mower while you're in the middle of your swing.
We've all been in those types of situations. You know what I'm talking about. Have you ever encountered the guy mowing the fairway right where you're aiming without caring that you're on the tee; someone zipping around in a bunker next to the green without care that you're trying to make a ten footer for bogey; or my personal favorite, the guy mowing the rough that isn't paying attention and ends up cutting your ball in half? These kinds of interactions occur all the time in golf. But every now and then you get ones that are special. You know, that one real idiot who obviously has never played the game and has no idea of proper etiquette on the golf course.

For the record, I'm only allowed to talk about maintenance workers because I have been one. I'm well aware of the challenges of the position. I'm also well aware of how the course and its management want a maintenance worker to perform his/her job. And the story I'm about to tell is not an example of how maintenance should be done.

During a recent round at a four star local course, I found one of the special individuals I mentioned previously. Let's call this guy "Bob". My partner and I met Bob on the green of the tenth hole. I had enjoyed a really solid front 9. I was having a great time and enjoying the day. I started the back nine by stripping one down the middle of the fairway. That's when it all started to go wrong. You see, Bob's assignment for the day was to syringe the greens. I can almost hear the thoughts of the superintendent; "Ok, just hold the hose over the brown area. I know he can do that without screwing it up." And that's pretty sound logic, but what he forgot is that the green is the most important area on the course! Bob obviously didn't understand that.

As my partner and I approached our tee shots, we saw Bob for the first time standing with his hose on the green (I can already see the comments piling up for that line). We didn't think much of it as we got out of our cart and prepared to hit our approach shots. I was away, so I pulled the magic number and stepped up to my ball. I looked at the green expecting to see an open green with Bob and his hose off to the side somewhere. Instead, I saw Bob and his hose still right in front of the flag! His hose was literally wrapped around the hole and he was standing about twenty feet in front of the pin! I thought to myself, "he must not have seen us pull up, so I'll wait".

I saw Bob and his hose still right in front of the flag! His hose was literally wrapped around the hole and he was standing about twenty feet in front of the pin.
It wasn't but a couple seconds before he looked up at us, back down, and kept on watering like we weren't even there! Now I started to get fired up! What is this guy thinking? He's got 100 ft. of hose all over the green and he's standing right in front of the pin! I decided to just stand there. How could I hit to a green covered by a hose and Bob standing right by the pin? After what felt like 10 minutes but was probably more like 90 seconds, he finally began to move out of the way. However, instead of leaving the green, he moved from in front of the pin to directly behind it leaving his hose stretched out all over the green. So now instead of thinking about the shot that I'm trying to hit, I'm thinking about this moron and his hose on the green. I'm thinking about what is going to happen when I hit him or his hose!

Now, I'm standing over the ball filled with anger and frustration and you can guess how good of a shot I hit. I chucked my one hundred and sixty yard shot about a hundred yards. I'll spare you the details of the rest of the hole, but it was ugly. When we finally got up to the green, it was more of the same with our buddy Bob. My partner had to ask Bob to move his hose so that he could chip up to the pin. Bob looked surprised and confused at the request! After that hole, I was so angry and flustered that I lost my focus for the rest of the round.

These types of things should never happen! Can you imagine the pro's trying to play with those types of distractions? I can see it now, "Just hold on Ernie, let me finish syringing this green here. I'll be out of your way in a couple minutes. Just sit tight." Look, I understand that maintenance employees have to do their job while we customers are reaping the reward of their labor. However, they should be something we see briefly and forget about. We should remember how well groomed the course is, how pretty the flowers are, and how lucky we are to be out there. The last thing we should remember is a maintenance worker that is the legitimate reason for a terrible round. I understand that some people will say, "You should be tough enough mentally to deal with distractions like that." But, how can I be expected to be stronger mentally than the pros are expected to be? Maintenance workers should be reminded daily that the customers are the people the course depends on to pay their salary. So stay out of their way!

Now, it's only fair that we mention the other side of the story as well. For all of you maintenance guys and gals who know what you're doing, thank you! For example, to the guy that's mowing around the green and pulls over to shut off his mower while you play through the hole, thank you. On your way to the next hole, he gives you a smile and a wave as you pass him. That's what I'm talking about! That's how I want to be treated when I spend my hard-earned money to play a golf course! I want to feel like Bob is happy to see me! I want him to add to my positive experience on the golf course. Many of you do and you should be appreciated and thanked for doing your job the right way. So thank you to those of you who remember that customer service is still part of your job even though you're not behind the counter in the pro shop.

[ comments ]
falcon50driver says:
Most golf courses are open for play from Sunup to Sundown 7 days a week. Thus, maintenance must be performed during this period. People would really scream if they shut the course down just to mow.
A hockey or baseball or basketball game, as you mentioned, only take a few hours once a week,and they are spectator sports, of course maintenance isn't done during the game.

I really enjoy this site and read the articles every day, Keep up the great work. Just do what we do, make a dollar bet on who can come closest to knocking the guy off the mower.
Snyper says:
That's an excellent suggestion. I've been the guy on the mower, and if I don't get out of the way like I'm supposed to, I deserve to get hit!!
theredmission says:
Heres a short little story from this week: My buddy and I are one of the first group out and therefore continually ran into multiple individuals of the maint. crew. This included a girl weed wacking on the first tee, three teenagers weeding a flower bed and talking loudly on the third, a lawnmower who we followed from 5-7, a bunker machine on 10, and to top it off the same lawnmower on most of the back nine. What ticked me off the most was 1-not one of them turned off their machines or made an an attempt to minimize their distraction-with the exception that is for the lawnmower who for some reason decided only to stop and turn off when my buddy was about to hit, but just keep blazing when I was up. Ugh.
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