I was standing just off of the 12th green at Stoneybrook West Golf Club in Winter Garden, Florida. My approach shot was slightly fanned to the right of the green. It was a good thing, too. Had I connected with a draw, I would have faced an impossible chip down a ten foot slope to the pin.
While I was waiting to hit my bump-and-run 8 iron to the cup, I looked back to the fairway to see how our third group of four did with their drives. Looking back, I didn't see our guys. There should have been three guys back there, including a man in a lime green shirt that was practically unmistakable. It wasn't them. Instead, it was some guy with a Srixon staff bag with his underdressed ladyfriend in the cart. They were evaluating a ball on the OB line. Well, he was. She was reading a magazine. In the fairway was an older looking gentleman taking practice cuts.
I pointed out to the two future in-laws playing with me that these guys had to have cut in front of our group. We figured that our guys had just let them play through and it was no big deal.
Fast forward to the 16th hole. It is a short par 3 at your home of the Hooters Tour Championship. Me and the two guys in the group hit the green in regulation. Two made par, the other a respectable bogey. (I made par.) As we walk off the the green to our carts that are about five yards away from the greenside bunkers, there are those two guys again. And they're teeing off to the green before we even get in the cart. How rude!
As we are leaving the green, we give them the customary, "What the hell but I'm not angry enough to slug you" look. Miffed but not pissed, we move on.
The final hole at Stoneybrook West is a pretty enticing par 5 from any tee box. After a decent drive, I had about 170 yards to the hole over water on the right. I reached the green in two and played the hole well. It was a nice way to finish. Afterward, we met up with our first group who was already done. We decide that we'll head back out to the 18th fairway to act like we're golf commentators and harass the guys playing up the last.
Meanwhile, we have to wait for the cutters to finish their round. These guys are struggling to get to the 150 yard marker. When they do, both put at least one ball in the drink. Just desserts, I think to myself. We start riding back out to the fairway to meet our guys as they're heading to the green. Being the jerk that I am, I look in the general direction of the cutter with the staff bag and laugh. No pointing, just laughing. Hell, it was funny that he hit into me and then he hit into the water.
Our third group (of four) plays the last hole with us chatting it up with them. Whatever, they all probably made five 'cause they're that great. After a little time to chat behind the 18th hole and some prodding from the head cart kid, we take our carts around to the clubhouse. And that's when the trouble starts.
The kid who cut in front of us is waiting for us outside of the clubhouse. So is his girlfriend, although she appears kind of disinterested. Now, though, he's sporting a name tag of some kind. He's an employee of the club.
We drive past him, not thinking much of him, and part our carts. We're starting to unload our bags when the kid saunters over and starts talking without our acknowledgment of him.
"So, how do you guys want to handle this?," he asks. "I hear you guys want to file some kind of complaint about us going in front of you, even though you gave us permission."
None of us had mentioned to anyone - much less this kid - that we wanted to or were going to file a complaint. This is a golf course, not the Better Business Bureau.
My future in-law Tony - the guy in the lime shirt that I was looking for on 12 green - starts talking to the guy, named Jason, in a firm but respectful tone.
"You told us that you were going to play 10, find the next open hole, and keep playing. You didn't. You never did."
Jason takes a drag on his cigarette and responds by saying, "I'm a pro here. You guys let me in."
Tony explains back, "No, we didn't let you in. We went to the bathroom after nine, came to the 10th tee, and you were there. We didn't let you in."
"Well, if you go to the clubhouse, then you lose your spot on 10."
Tony is incredulous. "I have never been to a golf course where that is the case, or that it's ok to cut in front of a group without asking them."
The bickering goes back and forth for maybe another 30 seconds. Nothing's changing, but Jason is getting visibly razzled. He takes another drag of his cig, flicks it toward the grass, and starts pointing at Tony while he is addressing him.
That act of disrespect by Jason - a twenty-something kid - to Tony, who is fifty plus, sets off my future in-law Rocky. Rocky is an educator who does not take kindly to kids who disrespect their elders. He immediately steps toward Jason and says, "Get the hell away from him. Get inside. And I don't want to see you again. Just get out."
Jason gets into show-off mode for his girlfriend and starts jawing with Rocky. Now, it's a scene. Course employees have noticed what is taking place and are magnetizing themselves toward Jason. They ask him to come inside, grab his shoulder and arm, but he refuses and keeps chatting closely with Rocky.
The girlfriend has seen enough. She's been muttering comments to herself about the situation but she really wants to be heard. It was just that no one was paying attention or cared. So then she decides to insert herself into the situation and stick up for her man. After a couple of loose comments finally loud enough for someone to hear, Rocky turns to her and says, "You shut your piehole!" and in a swift motion returns to Jason.
By now, the course employees have corralled Jason and tell him to just go into the clubhouse. He's done enough already. He says he's cool and he will just go him with his ladyfriend. So, he grabs his keys and his girl and they walk to his silver Saturn VUE SUV. He turns on the car, which is idling about five feet from the cart area, where his car is parked at the curbside. The thing is, though, he's not leaving. His girlfriend and him are continuing to chat to themselves in the car and staring our group down with a gaze.
Meanwhile, we're done with it. It's bad enough that this kid instigated a verbal altercation. We just want to go home. Several of our guys have to catch their flights home. There's not much time to fight. Tony is talking to one of the starters that came over to shut down Jason, and he agrees that not only was what Jason did rude, but it was wrong for an employee to do.
The rest of us are getting out clubs in our cars and getting ready to go. We're starting to chat at the cars about what the plan is. Now, Jason and his girlfriend start to back out. They're ready for more, clearly shown by the fact that Jason tied a plastic tarp over his tailgate so as to hide his license plate from view. He rolls down the passenger side window that is facing our cars - of course, leaving his girlfriend exposed to the air - and resumes the golf def jam.
After some back and forth that I don't hear too well, but includes encouragement from our guys to Jason to go home, he says to us, "Why don't we drive down to the end of the street and I'll put a bullet in all your heads?"
Not especially threatened, the guys keep telling him to just go. And then the girlfriend crosses the line and says, "Why don't you shut up, you fat f*&k!"
My future in-laws are big guys and they don't take kindly to that kind of remark. Instantly, that got the guys up off of the tailgate of their truck. They had been sitting, but the weight comment got their attention. Now it's clear to Jason that it's not in his best interests to stay. The Saturn carrying the two of them starts coasting toward the entrance with heavy bass music playing. Surely, Jason got a lot of lovin' that night for standing up - or something like that.
Now infuriated, several of our guys go into the clubhouse to file that complaint. Threatening to be shot and a verbal assault will prompt that. Apparently after a brief - maybe ten word - explanation of what happened, the Winter Garden PD was called. They also tell me that Jason's full name is Jason Kellyman (though I can't find him on Facebook). Shortly after that, the assistant pro comes to meet the guys and I, since I want to hear what will happen next.
We go into his office, and he asks us to explain our side of the story. We say that one of his pros has threatened us. He stops us there and asks for the kid's name. We tell him. He's surprised.
"Jason? He's one of our cart boys."
So much for being a pro.
We finish telling our story as the police arrive and poke their head in the office to make us aware they are here. We clear out of the office so that the police and the real pro can chat amongst themselves (topic: the soon-to-be-fired employee) and talk to Jason on the phone for his side.
As it turns out, Jason's probably done at Stoneybrook West. The beverage cart girl told us that she saw Jason's cart contained a bottle of Jack Daniels, or some kind of hard liquor. The kid was probably drunk, or at least buzzed, and that hiked his bravado. But he never passed our fourth group to get to the third that he actually cut off. He just jumped on at ten, thought he could lie his was into the rotation on the course, and then got a little too high on his horse when he was really just deep in it.
Stoneybrook West says they're going to "make it right." I'm not sure what that is, but I'm pretty sure that has never happened to me on the course before and it'll never happen again there.
This post originally appeared on the now-defunct SB Nation golf blog, Waggle Room, on March 10, 2010.