You Meet All Kinds on Missoula Golf Courses


In the past couple of weeks, I have had some really interesting interactions with fellow golfers on Missoula golf courses. Both good and bad.

It started about a week ago. I arrived at the golf course and made a bee line to the chipping green. My goal was to work on some sand shots. I took 10 balls from my bag and dropped them in the trap. Before I continue, let me first say that there were two groups of two already chipping to the same green. I looked around to get a lay of the land so I could try not to interrupt the area the others were chipping in to. I didn’t want to confuse my golf balls with theirs — nor put anyone in peril.

Keep in mind, though, I am in the sand trap. This is dangerous to the health of others in a perfect situation, and a perfect situation this was not. I stepped up to the first ball, carefully dug in, and took my first swing. I skulled it a bit and the ball sailed long, but no injuries – success! I then proceeded to hit a potpourri of sand shots. By potpourri, I don’t mean a variety of “good smelling” shots – many of them were stinkers.

As I was completing my last few shots, I noticed that the other folks using the chipping green were beginning to pick up their balls and I feared a ball or two of mine had been retrieved accidentally. I completed my shots and proceeded to retrieve my balls, but only eight of the original 10 remained. Nothing to fret about, really — they were shag balls. (It’s not like I wasn’t going to lose them within the next couple of hours anyway, if you get my drift.)

I returned to the sand to hit the remaining eight balls and noticed that the lone remaining group had begun to intentionally hit their golf balls toward the same pin I am hitting to. This makes it difficult to determine whose balls are whose. I began to retrieve my balls and one of the gentlemen — and I use that term generously — shouts out, “Hey, you’re taking our balls.”

Now keep it mind, I am looking at each ball as I pick it up and am making a real effort to ensure that the balls I’m picking up are likely mine.

“I don’t think so. What kind of balls are you hitting?” I reply, trying to keep my cool.

“Those balls in your hand.” My new friend replies.

“I have already lost two balls and I don’t want to lose more.” I say with a bit of restraint in my voice.

In response to my statement, he aggressively approached me and stated in an in-your-face way,“You don’t need to steal our balls.”

I’m not proud of how I reacted to this fine young person who had just labeled me as a thief.

“Whatever!” I said sharply and proceeded to firmly toss the ball to the ground and walk down through the sand trap to retrieve my golf bag. As I did so, I was greeted by the same ball whizzing by my leg.

You meet all kinds of people on the golf course. Good golfers, beginners, old, young, tall, short, shy, friendly, respectful — and not so much. And occasionally, downright rude and cocky. Fortunately, in my many years as a golfer, the type of behavior displayed by these particular golfers has been an uncommon occurrence on Missoula golf courses.

As a general rule, a Missoula golf course is an excellent place to meet some of the kindest, most courteous, and best citizens Missoula has to offer. And, I’m happy to report that a couple of days after my distasteful experience, my faith in fellow golfers was more than restored when I was paired with a man named Kevin. I can honestly say that my round with Kevin was the most fun I have had on a golf course in many years.

Thanks for such a fun round, Kevin! I can’t wait to play another round of golf with you very soon.  I just wish that I had asked for your contact info. Oh well . . .