Hitting a 1.62-inch hard coated ball with a club at the end of a long, spindly stick is hard enough as it is. Having all sorts of distractions while trying to do it hardly help. The R&A and USPGA Rules Book recognizes that and incorporates rules on them. Golf course workers are employed to make the physical conditions friendly to the game. They are also not supposed to disturb players playing, or trying to play.
I used to play at R.S.G.C., at more than 100 years said to be the second oldest golf club in Malaysia, after the old, now closed Taiping Golf Club at the Lake Gardens. Many of R.S.G.C. staff live in Kg. Pandan, and they use the back entry to come to work, and the road goes through the course. However, every time a flight of golfers pass through, the staff would stop their vehicles and turn off the engine. That's how it should be. The same thing happens at K.G.N.S.
Not at S.I.G.C.
No roads for cars pass through the course, but there are dirt tracks used by the staff to ride their bikes to the club's store, and to go to the half-way house, where they have their morning break. They also ride around the course, along the cart tracks, to go to their work point for the day and so forth. But they do all this noisy riding with scant regard for on-going games. I've muttered to my flight mates countless times, making comparison to R.S.G.C. and K.G.N.S.
This morning, 6/1/2017 I put my foot down. I hope it'll start some behavioural changes among the staff, many of whom I know and like.
We were a two-ball, teeing off at about 8 a.m. from the 10th. tee for our regular 9-hole round, Jane Chee and I. At the 16th. hole, I had teed off first, and Jane was about to do so when "Bob" (as later identified by the Marshall, Zaki) came on his very noisy bike from the right, crossing in front of the lady's tee box to go left, and ignoring Jane and nonchalantly waving at her as he sped past. Jane could very well have walloped the ball right into Bob's stupid grin. Jane didn't seem to be disturbed, and I thought since Bob waved, we could let it go. But no ! Just as I was about to hit my second shot, the infuriating noise came back behind me, this time from my left to right along the same dirt track. It was Bob again. I stood up from my crouch, turned to the idiot, and shouted "stop!" He stopped, without killing his motor. "People are playing golf here!" I shouted some more. Maybe even at that point I would have let it go. But no, again. He loudly answered back " This is stopping, what!" I retorted "I'll make a report !"
Bob is new. Maybe he's not aware of golf rules. My report would put things in perspective for him, I thought.
After putting out on that hole, I saw Zaki, the Marshall behind us, on his buggy going to the half-way house. I waved at him, and he came. I told him what happened, and said if he tells Bob right away to apologise, I'll let the matter rest.
After we teed off from the last tee-box, Zaki came and said Bob refused to see me, and suggested I make a report.
After we finished the last hole, I went straight to the front counter and asked for a report form. I called Jane, who was obviously reluctant to be involved, to bear witness in the report, so I told her it's my report, you just mark your presence. I'd written half-way, when Bob came on his tractor, and called out to me "YB !" (that's what the staff call me here, and some of the fellow golfers,too) I gestured to him to come forward, and he came, and I said "I'm writing a report right now, but if you apologise, I'll cancel it."
"I apologise" "Say it nicely" "I apologise" he repeated, in a lowered tone, and extended his hand. "OK, I cancel this report. Don't disturb golfers playing next time!" I tore up the partly witten report.
"I just want to make a point to our staff. We're paying their salary. If we don't play golf, this club won't exist, and these people wont be working here." I know Jane doesn't want to get involved. This has happened before in another case ( another story ) when another Chinese member didn't want to get involved in the reporting, although he was very involved in the actual incident.
Maybe Bob changed his mind, or his colleagues made him, after initially telling Zaki he won't apologise. He's new and surely values his job more than an ill-advised pride. For me it removes the possibility that my report comes to naught, while the apology drives home the point to the perpetrator, which is the important thing.