Women on the fairways teed off at sub-par men

June 30, 1995|By MIKE ROYKO

There is an undercurrent of anger out there. It's impossible to count the individuals and groups who believe that they are openly insulted and treated with disrespect, contempt and hostility.

Because I recently touched on a few of their complaints, members of one such group have bombarded me with accounts of their second-class status in our society.

"We have been silent and meek for too long," one of them said, "and all that does is encourage even more discrimination and abuse."

Another said: "Your column was helpful, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. There is more, so much more."

So here are some examples of the kind of blatant discrimination that women golfers say they endure.

"You praise women golfers for their honesty and sportspersonship in holing out all of their putts," says Alice Miller. "But that is not true and I will tell you why.

"Just watch any mixed group of men and women on the golf course. You will invariably see a man haughtily say to a woman: 'Pick up your ball, and let's go, there's a foursome coming up behind us.'

"Or he will just pick up her ball himself, or kick it back to her, as if her five-foot putt isn't even worth bothering with.

"But he will then stand over his putt as if the U.S. Open is on the line, and when he misses it, he'll pose like a tragic figure, forgetting about the foursome that is coming up behind them.

"If a woman hits a ball into the rough, a man will say: 'Hit another one. We don't have time to look for a lost ball.'

"But if he hits one into the next county, he'll be looking in every gopher hole for it.

"There is the constant command: 'Hurry up, get in the cart, we're holding up play.' As if the five shots he took to get out of the bunker set a new speed record.

"I will bet that in the entire history of golf, no woman has ever told a man, 'Pick up your ball, we're holding up play.' I'd like to tell him to take his ball and shove . . ."

That would definitely result in an unplayable lie.

"I don't want my name used," said Linda, "because my husband will brood for the rest of the summer.

"But he is typical of so many uncoordinated men in that he believes he is an expert on every phase of the game and he constantly gives me stupid advice.

"The only time in his life he broke 90, he did it by moving the ball out of the rough and away from trees and fences, giving himself every putt under five feet, and two extra shots on the first tee.

"And he has the gall to yell at me about keeping my head down. This from a man who can't lower his head because he has three chins, and who hasn't seen his feet in 10 years because of the size of his belly.

"When I told him I wanted to take a lesson from a professional, he said, 'What for? I can tell you anything you want to know.' I told him I already know how to hit a ball into the water. He pouted all the way through dinner."

Karen, a single woman, says: "Why do so many macho male jerks think that because we are women, they can hit the ball at us when we are still in range?

"I've had balls come whizzing past my head on the fairway and bouncing up on the green when I'm still putting.

"If my golfing companions and I were men, they wouldn't do that. But they know that we can't punch them in face like they deserve."

No, you can't punch them. But you can whip a pistol out of your golf bag and fire a shot or two over their heads to let them know that you are not pleased with their behavior. Assuming, of course, that you had the foresight to carry this accessory.

"I'll tell you what I hate," said Caroline. "It is their patronizing attitude. I was in a bunker and blasted the ball onto the green just as a group of men were walking nearby.

"There was nothing remarkable about my shot. But they all yelled: 'Oh, great shot, wonderful shot.' It was no such thing, and they wouldn't have carried on that way if a man had done it. But because I was a woman, they acted like it was a miracle. So I looked at them and smiled and said: 'Oh, thanks, and you walk just great.' From the stupid looks on their faces, I could see they missed the point."

And Florence echoed a complaint of several women.

"At the club where I play, every time I look around, I see some male golfer standing by a tree or a bush relieving himself.

"I can understand the need in an emergency. But some days it looks like every man on the course thinks it is his responsibility to wet down the foliage.

"I wonder how they would react if a woman did that?"

I don't know, but you might try it and give me the results. It could make for an entire column.

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