Friday, July 25, 2014

Confusion in the Clubhouse

What would a year on my blog be without some sort of mass confusion or social disaster at a golf course? Well, I guess it'd be a good one for me, but alas, once again, I've got a story to tell from a golf course.

After being on the road for five days, and meeting some amazing youth from across the state of Missouri at this year's Youth Leadership Forum, I went golfing yesterday and I took my step-brother Michael.

It was a perfect day to play. The weather was about as perfect as perfect can be and we quickly flew through 18 holes. We were having such a good time that, when we were on the 18th fairway (or rough in my case. Always the rough and always to the right) I used GolfNow and booked another round and this is the point in time the story begins.

I checked into the clubhouse where the man tried to give me a golf-cart key and I said I had already been on the course. This confused him, and I had to state that I had already played 18. He then frowned and, after charging my credit card, said, "Dang, it's too late now. You payed full price when we have a replay rate of just 10 dollars." I replied with, "Oh well, this will go towards my GolfNow reward credit then. It's okay." And with that we grabbed a bite to eat and once again headed to the #1 tee.

This front nine went faster than the first time as we were hitting the ball a bit better and when we got past nine and headed to ten the real confusion mentioned in this blog title began. There was a couple in front of us that was about to let us play through and as I got onto the teebox and teed the ball up a golfer in a golf cart came and with an arrogant attitude said, "You must be on the wrong tee. There's a league about to start so you can't be here right now." And as soon as he finished another man, this man without clubs who appeared to be an employee, said, "Why are you here? There's a league about to start. You have to go off of #1."

Thankfully, the man in the couple who was going to let us play through took the point and complained. I stood in the background fearing a repeat of last year's Terror on the 10th Tee Box. I had learned from that experience, however, and I also had an angry guy doing the complaining in front of me.

The guy stormed towards the clubhouse and I followed him because here was the thing; had we been told a league was happening that night we would have teed off from hole #10 when we started the 2nd round and now we were told we would have to play the front nine again. This wasn't the end of the world by any stretch of any imagination, but now there were 10 golf carts awaiting to tee off on #1. The other experiences I've had on golf courses had more volatility, but this story does get to an intense moment.

I was angry and as I got to the clubhouse I came in full speed followed up by full brakes which gave a Hollywood movie like screech of the tires. I hoped out and followed the man into the clubhouse where he complained the the clerk at the desk. Their conversation was one of a chess match and one of, "I said, you said" because the clerk swore he told this duo that the league was one the back nine when the man said he said that it was the front nine. The man left in anger and it was now me and the clerk and when I approached I just said, "Yeah, the same thing that guy said." to which the clerk rolled his eyes at me and looked at the man who had told me to go to #1 because of league.

I had never been told there was league whatsoever so I said that it was disappointing and wrong that this had happened. The clerk behind the desk just shrugged his shoulders at me and I turned to the apparent manager and he said, "What do you want me to do? There's a league! You can play the back nine but it'll take four hours and you'll be yelled at the entire time." There's one thing that I can't put into the quotation marks to describe the hostility of his words as I felt as if I were being spoken to as if I were a prisoner.

As this conversation continued I was expecting a voucher, a coupon, something that we could use in the future because it was obvious that the back nine wasn't going to be played and all this confusion now had a dozen golf carts on hole one. I once again reiterated my disappointment and he said, "So what do you want me to do? Do you want me to ride with you on the back nine? I'll do it, but we will be yelled at." and looking back I should have taken him up on that offer because this was a total bluff. However, at this time, I was now getting overwhelmed and I could feel the frustration building up within me and I didn't want a repeat of last year.

I went silent and he said, "The only thing I can do is apologize. That's it. So go to the #1 tee box." and with that I walked out, well, stormed out briskly and I went to the golf cart and looked towards the #1 tee box where it looked like a New York City rush hour and my mind was stuck on the fact that this whole ordeal would have been avoided with a simple, "hey, there's a league starting tonight" but no. In fact, one thing the manager said, "See, that's what happens when you book online!" which furthered my feeling of being a prisoner customer.

Mike returned to the golf cart and I said, "I don't think I can go on" so I returned the key to the desk and we drove off. Of all the golfing ordeals I've had I think I handled this the best. The manager obviously was not in a negotiating mood so any debate would have been futile. Furthermore, I'm not one to ask for anything so I couldn't have asked, "hey, can we play for free next time due to your mistake?" Also, as my emotions increased my ability to communicate lowered. I was aware of this and the prior golf episodes I've had on my blog helped me learn this. I'm very logical and when someone is just being rude and doing everything in their power to have poor customer service sometimes the only thing you can do is to leave. I wanted to complain more, I did, because what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong but when you've got an angry man right is wrong and if he's in the wrong that makes him right. Any further time spent in that location would have just angered me so we left.

In conclusion the moral of this confusion in the clubhouse is that, one, it's always great to have some angrier in front of you when complaining, but more importantly it is critical to learn from one's previous mishaps. Had I not had the prior experiences on the golf course I may have debated to the point that the man lost patience with me and said something that crossed a line which would have made me, perhaps, break down or say something that is way out of my character. I do want to say the course did make things right today so I am thankful that this occurred which, but golly! if you don't play golf but have followed my blog for four years you'd think golf courses were just minefields awaiting to explode. That isn't the case and now I look at it as a training field for socializing. Look at this case, if this had happened four years ago I'd have hated myself for weeks after this, but now I realize I was in the right and this was a battle, at the time, that couldn't be won. I used to not understand that there were "no-win situations" but now I do and there are times you've got to take a deep breath and walk away.

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