Scramble Salad: The Usual Suspects You Meet In Every Tournament Group
As we skidded around the corner of summer and slid into the fall months, I found myself catching my breath after a busy tournament season. And before anyone gets excited and asks which notable competitions I tested my skills in, let me clarify. I’m talking about charity events … more specifically, scramble tournaments. But make no mistake. The level of competition and sheer will to win is every bit as intense as any official competitive amateur or professional event. Over the years, I’ve noticed the same cast of characters every single time. I started to jot down the various categories in which these players seem to fall. And there it was … a pattern that cannot be denied. Which begs the question: If there isn’t a compilation of this specific personality salad, is it even a scramble? You decide.
Tee Shot Guy (TSG): He’s here for his distance, not necessarily his accuracy. He can launch it off the tee … you just don’t know where it’s going. Sometimes he hits the fairway and when he does, he struts around the tee box like a peacock in mating season. But when it goes offline, he heads straight for the golf cart to pout while everyone else freezes in place, listening for a window to break. It would not be unheard of for TSG to crack open a cold adult beverage in the middle of the next player’s backswing.
Straight Shooter: This player is there as an antidote for Tee Shot Guy. Think: tortoise vs. hare. He doesn’t hit it super far, but he’s always in the fairway. He’s usually in finance, banking or investments and not the funniest in the group. He’s rather serious, quiet and has his own water bottle filled with … water. Don’t kill the messenger. I’m just stating facts based on years of research.
Once-A-Year Player (OAYP): OAYP is … you guessed it … that guy who plays (at most) once a year and just shows up because: 1) His boss made him, or 2) There was a last-minute cancellation and he jumped on the free round of golf. What he lacks in ability he makes up for in humor. He’s the one most likely to carry a flask disguised as a sunscreen bottle. He’s also typically in charge of the playlist and knows just the right volume to keep his magnificent speaker on. When he loses the sleeve of new balls he found in his swag bag, he quickly digs into his stash of random used balls. He also spends an exorbitant amount of time in bushes and along lake shores looking for additional used balls.
Short Game Sleuth (SGS): Short Game Sleuth can’t hit a full shot to save his life, but get him around the green and he’s a wizard. He’s usually the quiet player that everyone underestimates because they are so impressed by Tee Shot Guy and his (air quotes) long drives. SGS is sneaky in his contributions to the group, which is why he never gets the accolades he deserves. He is always placed first in the batting order, even though he’s the only one who can hit a decent chip shot from a tight lie. C’mon, let the poor guy at least get a read on a few putts before his turn because … let’s face it… this is his only time to shine. Help HIM help YOU.
Always Use My Shot Guy (AUMSG): Bless his heart, but AUMSG honestly can’t see the value in ANYBODY else’s shot. Never mind the fact that all his playing partners outdrove him by 30 yards and he’s directly behind a tree. He likes his angle in and that’s all there is to it. By the third hole the rest of the group stops including him in the decision-making process over which shot to use, and quickly come to a verdict amongst themselves. AUMSG will feign confusion and reluctantly go along with the consensus. In case you haven’t yet ascertained, he’s a real delight.
Aw-Shucks Guy (ASG): Aw-Shucks Guy is good. And he knows it. But he won’t admit it (at least out loud). He is self-deprecating and not comfortable receiving compliments for his shot, swing or any talent whatsoever. Every good shot is followed by, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.” But here’s the thing, ASG: Blind squirrels don’t find 57 nuts in four hours. Put those shoulders back, stand up straight and when someone says, “Nice shot,” OWN it.
Nobody Better: Nobody Better guy thinks he’s God’s gift to the game of golf. He slowly and deliberately glides from the check-in area to the driving range with his entire golf bag in tow, as if dramatic music is perfectly cued. He is convinced everyone within chipping distance has halted their conversations to observe and appreciate his golf prowess. His arms don’t fall straight down to his side, they stick out a bit… like he’s holding a soccer ball under his armpits. His shirt is crisply pressed and tightly tucked into his perfectly creased slacks. (He rarely wears shorts, even on the hottest of days.) He’s the guy who is most likely to give you a shot-by shot of his entire round at the bar, while friends play musical chairs to avoid sitting next to him. We love this guy. But the jury is still out as to just how much we actually LIKE this guy.
Baffling Volcano (BV): You’ve seen BV’s swing and quickly assume he’s the Once-A-Year Player of your group. He’s at least a 25 handicap and you just assume his expectations are congruent with his index. He hits a tee shot that is actually pretty decent. You try to disguise the shock in your voice as you compliment him on his drive, but before you can finish your accolades he slams his driver down so hard you have to sand the divot. You are confused. Does he think he can actually do better than that? Has he hit a better tee shot with that swing? Never. Will you be able to handle this for the next five hours? Nope. At some point you will make a comment, whether it’s under your breath or sung from the roof of your golf cart. But you WILL inevitably mention that BV needs to chill.
These players, as predictable as they may be, are the heart and soul of every charity event. And we all know who they are, even if they don’t. So, the next time you happen to be in a group with one of these folks, you can chuckle to yourself as you slowly nod and say under your breath, “Yep. There it is.”