Saturday, June 5, 2010


AMBLER, Pennsylvania - Here's a picture of the only tag that hangs from my bag. It's from Squires Golf Club in Ambler, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. It clearly identifies me as "GUEST."

I happened to notice it a few days ago and it got me to remembering days gone by. I'm usually going on about golf instruction but today the blog takes a brief side-trip.

I loved playing at Squires. Not only is the course interesting, challenging and pristine, it is probably one of the most exclusive country clubs in the world. Nobody reading this will ever play there, guaranteed. Within it's boundaries you will notice a distinct absence of women, for one thing. No female members. No female pro shop employees. No female bartenders. No female waiters. No women, period. (Yes, I know about the burka-clad bookkeeper they spirit in through a tunnel every Tuesday.) A superb feature is the club's willingness to expand holes and upkeep the place to the max. Always workers everywhere-never in your way but working on the course nonetheless. The restaurant is four stars, especially the Thursday night buffet, and the card room, where you can lose considerably more than you did on your Nassau, conjures up visions of grandeur. What kind of car do you drive? Don't even think about driving up to the valet in a Cadillac, OK? Of interest, my '69 Wildcat convertible drew admiration from both members and staff. But puhleeze....if you ain't driving at least a Lexus, you don't belong at Squires. A Bentley would be more apropos and there were plenty of them.

My friend, a wonderful friend, raised on the Main Line, was responsible for arranging my admittance to this hallowed place. Trust me, if you experience Squires just once, you'll submit to waterboarding, an IRS audit or dinner with your first ex-wife just to go back there again. But do you let the member cheat you on the golf course?

Some of the typical scenarios involve landing in divots ("I'm taking a free drop because that divot doesn't belong there"), moving obstructions in hazards ("that pebble doesn't belong there"), failure to mark balls that eventually roll 20 feet away ("I marked it with my putter-head cover") and the expectation that a three-foot putt on 18, with the match (or matches) on the line, should be conceded.

Oh, the humanity.  Having to give up future pilgrimages to Squires.... At this point you, the readers, are saying to yourselves "Let him cheat, you imbecile", and Lord knows, I'm a liberal guy and fifty bucks isn't much.... but a match is a match and if I'm playing it down, well....

There is an overwhelming desire on the part of many weekend golfers to take liberties with the rules. I understand the concept of wanting to post the best score possible. When you play every day, the occasional bad round is easy to take. But if you get only one or two chances to shine each week (or month) the pressure becomes greater-the failures more disappointing. Playing for money compounds the problem.

"What did you shoot today" is a common question after a round of golf. It could come from a fellow member at the 19th hole or from your wife.  "78" sure does sound better than "88." Most of us have no problem with that type of behavior. You're picking up the bar tab as a result of a few liberties someone decided to take. The relationship dynamic changes but it's not the end of the world. My solution is to pay the tab then steer clear of future matches. Privately pointing out his indiscretions is the better solution, of course. Would my pal resent it?  Would it even register? I usually choose the former approach these days.

So it's bye-bye Squires. When you leave the golf course, come away with a good feeling, win, lose or draw. Better than that feeling of being cheated or, worse, the feeling that you've cheated someone else.


Keywords for this article: golf, swing, over the top, lesson, instruction, eBook, cheating, golf instruction, over the top golf swing, Philadelphia golf, rules of golf, squires golf club, weekend golfers, what did you shoot
Revised 09-03-2012