Get Your Hose Off the Green, Bob!
By Kickntrue on 8/18/10
I'm on vacation this week, but I'd never just leave you hanging (or in the sole custody of Nathan). Whether you're new or old to oob- I hope you'll enjoy some posts from our past! Some of them are still relevant today, others, will sound ridiculous (you'll know when you get there!). At any rate- they are what they are- and we put good time into them "back in the day" so now that we're a lot bigger we figure we'll re-share. Thanks and I'll be back for all of oob's ridiculousness next Monday!

By Matt Snyder, oobgolf contributor
Originally posted 11/23/2006

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.

retro week image source

[ comments ]
Banker85 says:
i get annoyed when they are getting the mornig dew off the greens and i seem to see this guy at almost every hole for like a 7-8 hole stretch. Otherwise no bad experiences, had a ball chewed up in the rough but the guy gave me a premium ball after my round. They are usually very nice and courteous where i play, always get out of the way and say nice shot or smile and wave.
birdieXris says:
@Banker -- Yea, much like the cart girls (and guys) it's much better to do that in the opposite order 18-1 because if not, You're gonna be waiting for a bunch of people and slowing down play in a row.
tcjonny says:
its interesting that this is an old post i hadn't seen... this is maybe one of my biggest pet peeves in golf as well. I paid $120 to play a course once and got to about the 7th hole to find almost the exact same situation with a oblivious worker syringing the green. As our group was putting this guy was continuing to run the water and as I'm lining up my putt he sprays water in my line. I stop and simply stare at him, and he looks at me for a bit and then starts to explain that the greens get real hard if he doesn't spray them and then gives me the definition and reasons behind syringing. I called the superintendent on the 8th tee with my cell phone and told him to get his clown off the course.
Kurt the Knife says:
In all the rounds I have played, I have noticed how considerate the gardeners have been where I've played. They have stopped within hearing distance as I began my address. They have stopped their occasional convoys across to the other nine as soon as they saw me approaching my ball. They have stopped cutting the tee box and cleared out to let me get the scene. This has been consistent from the most modest muni to the Kaanapali tracks (which were the nicest I've ever played). On the #5 on Kaanapali Kai they were working on the fairway from the right to the middle. When I reached the 150 marker, one of the guys had been clearing brush away from the railroad that runs back there and he approaches me and offers an armfull of balls he found back there. Musta been 15-20.
I can see your frustration if it be as you say, but hasn't been that way for me yet. Perhaps after i get out some more.
Kurt the Knife says:
I was curious what "syringing" meant. I imagined some cat crawling around the green with a syringe poking it in the ground. Yep, thats not what it means.
So I found this:
interesting stuff.
I had no idea what these supers have to deal with.
bducharm says:
I hate it when Bob has his hose on the green!!! Kind of embarassing don't you think...
jev says:
So, you guys are playing at courses where they do not have sprinkler systems located next to the greens? :^/.

I must confess the greenkeepers at my homecourse always acknowledge the players and vice versa. We know they have to do a job and just giving 'm an extra couple of minutes or so to finish their mowing line is just common courtesy. In return, they always switch of their machines and stand aside to let us pass. Live and let live!

Anyway, the comparison to the pro circuit is not a good one IMHO. We don't have photographers sitting there, ready to rattle a camera's shutter in the top of our backswings. We don't have to deal with stupid fools that call out "in the hole!" when we're teeing off on a par 5. Instead, we get the occasional greenkeeper and the guy from two flights down that picks up our errant balls. And if we win, we go home with a warm feeling and maybe a sleeve of new balls. It's just.... different.
thunderthor says:
Funny, I met Bob at a par 3 hole a while ago when he was mowing the green for the group that was in front of us. He got on the green while the group was walking to their balls to chip onto the green but didn't stop until they were on and ready to putt. At that time he stopped but didn't turn off the mower. Once they were done and we were about to hit on he left for the green on the next hole over, leaving a half-mowed green for us. When we were done with the hole he came back, pulled the flag, and continued mowing, leaving a rather surprised group behind us waiting to tee off.
That said, I have very few encounters with maintenance workers and when I do they have always (except for Bob) moved over and shut down their equipment. So for most of the time I'm left to myself to undo some of the very fine work they do...
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