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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Danger on the Golf Course

Non-golfers think that since golf isn't a "contact sport", it must be very safe. To the contrary, there's plenty of danger in golf which can cause plenty of bodily injury if you aren't careful.

In Florida and South Carolina, you have to be wary of alligators. In many other states, you need to keep one eye on the ball and the other patrolling the landscape for snakes. And no matter where you play, you need to be alert to wayward balls, flying clubs, slippery hills, and runaway golf carts. With some of my friends, I put my life up for grabs every time we play together.

Though I've really only been psychologically damaged on the course, I've had some brushes with physical disaster that merit retelling. Both instances involve carts.

A few years ago, Jay Payne and I were playing the Lower Cascades at the Homestead. It's a mountain course, and some of the hills are pretty steep. We came upon a foursome on the tee early in the round, and they told us we could play through. Wanting to get out of their way in a hurry, I jumped off the cart and set about to grab my driver. Unfortunately, I hadn't depressed the emergency brake, and before I knew it the cart was careening down the hill. I chased after it, tried to jump inside to stop it, but it was heading directly for a massive tree. I bailed out in the nick of time, but the cart was still moving. It slammed into the tree and smashed in the front end.

Trying to save face in front of the astonished foursome, I got in and tried to reverse it back up the hill. It gurgled, but that cart was going nowhere. After closer inspection, I saw that the front axle had been ripped in two. I ran back to the pro shop, told the guy what had happened, and he just laughed and gave me another cart. He said that earlier in the day he had to fish a cart out of a creek.

The second incident was with Jay as well. We were playing at Wild Dunes in South Carolina, and he was in another cart. After curling around the cul-de-sac behind the tee box, his cart tried to pass mine, which was stopped. At exactly the same time as he was passing (at high speed), I was stepping out of the cart, and I didn't see him coming. My head got wedged between the tops of the two carts and stopped his cart upon impact. Needless to say, it hurt pretty badly. I felt like one of Gallagher's watermelons. He reversed the cart to undo the jam-up, but I wasn't the same the rest of the day. I shot about a zillion.

Has anyone else found danger on the golf course? I'd love to hear your stories.


Anonymous Maf54 said...

J5 - I've missed you since since San Diego :-( I'm sorry to say I've gone away for a little R&R for about 28 days. We never did get to play "Motion to Table the Amendment." IM please! You never IM me anymore . . . Gotta go, the Feds are knocking at my door.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Johnny - I'm lauging so hard I peed my pants!

3:29 PM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

Good one, Jack. Thankfully I'm not underage and won't be a part of the investigation.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One time in California when I was about 10 years old, we were playing Junior Golf at North Ranch CC in Westlake Village, CA. Since we were so young, we had to play with chaperones, which at the time were our mothers.

On the first hole, I must have said something to get under my younger brother Patrick's skin and he threatened to kill me. This was a more common threat among the Gorman boys than I'd like to admit so I just laughed at him and told him to shut up. Next thing we all knew, he had changed his stance to the side and took dead aim at me. Before our chaperones could get a hold of him, he had already made his decision and apparently decided to try to end my short life with a golfball. Half a swing later he made solid contact from point blank range and I was ducking for cover. But it was too late. Luckily for me, the little (he was actually smaller than me at the time if you can believe that) moron had nailed me in the arm and the result of the attack was only small welt.

It took about two seconds for my mom to drag him off of the course in embarassment and shame, yelling at him all the way back to the clubhouse. Needless to say, Pat was banned from playing Junior Golf for quite some time after that incident. Although in some way I probably deserved it, it was still one of the more dangerous moments for me on the golf course...

9:37 PM  
Blogger JTALIFER said...


I already told you about how Mark Buntz and I capsized a golf cart at Westlake Golf Course. That was just the beginning.
Because I was never an official member at North Ranch, I would do some pretty crazy stuff out there.
On a cold and damp late afternoon on the new "Lakes" nine, Robbie Collins, his girlfriend Lori Applegate and BC were out playing a late nine. I was driving the cart, Robbie was in the middle and his girlfriend was clinging to the end. BC was standing on the back of the cart. If you remember the second hole is a par 4 that has an elevated tee. There is a huge hill right off the tee box. We started down the steep grade and they all told me to do a 360. Well, I never disappoint. The grass was wet with dew and we were at a steep angle but I spun the wheel like devil himself and the next thing we knew we were flipping end over end over end.
When we finally came to a stop, it looked like we had been sucked up inside a tornado. BC had been launched about 20-25 yards away, clubs were everywhere and I had a huge bump on my head. As I looked at Robbie girlfriend I could see that something was drastically wrong. her face was not quite right. I am no doctor but here jaw was not in the right place. I believe it was broken.
That was not the worst of it. The impact of the crash was so harsh that battery acid was spouting from the inside of the cart. It was all over Robbie and his new Polo outfit. The acid was eating right through his new pants and shirt burning him. We were freaked out, so we needed a plan. The cart was smushed in half but drivable. Luckily, Robbie's house was not far away. We quickly drove it to his garage and grabbed a hammer. We beat on the cart like gong to no prevail. So, I opened the garage and drove it back to the club parking lot and ditched it. I ran back to Robbies house and pounded 2 beers. They never found out who it was.
That was the day I almost died at North Ranch Country Club!


8:45 AM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

How many times have you "almost died"?

Great story, by the way. I wonder why Nourse has never mentioned that one??

9:20 AM  
Blogger JTALIFER said...


To answer your question, my nine lives are up. My liver even hurts today. Why am I not Irish? Nourse has a memory like a cronic pot smoker....LOL!!!

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Was her jaw broken? Classic story...

-Jimmy G

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Katie said...

After reading some of Talifer's stories, I think we moved just in time. Otherwise, I may have been down a brother or two.
Back to the danger on the course...I seem to remember that one time at Jr. Golf at North Ranch, Robbie Collins was teeing off and hit Nourse in the mouth and I believe he got stitches.
Also, I remember another time when Johnny was in danger of being sat on by a half-ton woman at the Sherman Oaks Castle miniature golf course circa 1979! She was so fat that she had to have her fat son bend over to get her ball out of the hole. Trust me...she was a major hazard.

11:38 PM  
Blogger JTALIFER said...

I am still pissed that you guys left me in Westlake all alone with Nourse and Harley. And yes, Jimmy, her jaw was broken. I didnt like her anyway...LOL! I do remember the story when BC got smashed in the forhead with the club. AWESOME!!

Jeff Rulon myself and a couple other guys were playing North Ranch one day. We were on hole #4 of the front nine. You know the long par 4 with the huge oak in the middle of the fairway. We had too many guys on the cart so I sat on the front hood holding the 2 bars on the sides. Rulon was driving down the right hand rough and there was a big cement drain in front of us. I yelled at him to turn and miss it but he did not comply. We hid this giant hole and I flew up and hit my head on the top of the cart and then flew off the front. Before I knew it, Jeff Rulon was driving over me. I got sucked right under the cart and smashed my head again. I was crying and they were all laughing at me. BASTARDS! Then I just lit a smoke and the world was good again. I did feel like Jackie Chan for a moment though.

8:50 AM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

Jeff Rulon. That's a name I never thought I'd hear again. I wonder what happened to that guy?

10:34 AM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

That was one of the fattest people I've ever seen. I'm surprised they didn't hire her to be one of the obstacles on the miniature golf course...

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danger??? How about those killer Puffins in Iceland Jimmy? That was still one of the most ridiculous displays of fear/Bullshit I have ever witnessed in my life -- simply to get a free drop! I guess whatever it takes to shave a stroke when playing with your brothers in a foreign land . . . HaHa!

10:06 PM  
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6:48 AM  

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