Duke Cannon is generally not known as a man of the links (unless you’re talking about breakfast sausage, in which case we’re rabid enthusiasts). But occasionally someone—an old friend, estranged uncle, etc.—will invite us out for a round of golf at their country club, and we feel obligated to accept. In the event you’re scheduled to be part of a foursome at your local Dell/Deer/Brush/Bush/Flush/Redwood Country Club, here are some tips to make it out with your dignity and reputation intact.
ENJOY THE FREE STUFF
Duke Cannon generally has a healthy skepticism of anything offered to us gratis, with matchbooks from gas stations being the one exception. But at the Country Club, the monthly fees paid by your generous host supply all those ball markers, tees, towels, high-octane seltzers, bottled waters, and most deliciously, beer nuts. So while we believe you should not be at all bashful about enjoying said items to the fullest, we also advise against tilting too far in the opposite direction, as filling your golf bag to bulging with every item within reach is poor form.
ADHERE TO THE DRESS CODE
Golf is generally played in the warmer months and so odds are it will be hot out. And while we are certainly firm believers of the “sun’s out, guns out” ethos, the fact is you will be required to keep your collared shirt on as you hack your way down the fairway. And if you haven’t tucked your shirt in since a funeral or wedding, remember to take it easy and avoid the straight-jacket approach, which is to say, keep it somewhat loose. Your golf swing will thank you.
LEAVE THE GROUNDSKEEPING TO THE GROUNDSKEEPERS
While your inner Carl Spackler will no doubt be itching to toss aside that finicky seven-iron in favor of picking up a shears, replacing some sprinkler heads, take a sixteenth of an inch off the hairs of the fringe on 17, or even plot the demise of three generations of gophers, remember: the club has a fleet of trained men armed with turf management degrees duty bound to complete these tasks. Resist the urge to pitch in, no matter how strong, and repeat “It’s not my lawn, it’s not my lawn…” over and over while taking deep breaths.
KEEP THE CART ON THE COURSE
In the likely event that this strange game, which involves whacking around a tiny white ball around until it falls into a cup, begins to bore or frustrate you, and the wilds bordering the fairway call to you with their promises of bird-watching, berry picking, wild mushroom foraging, and potential off-road adventure, take a moment to remember the rules, which are: no carts are allowed to leave the premises (no matter how enticing that bog next to the 11th green looks).
TALK THE TALK
You may want to have a rudimentary knowledge of terms and trends in the worlds of finance, commercial real estate, law, medicine, insurance, marketing, etc. at the ready when other club members engage you in conversation. Although we certainly don’t want to reinforce stereotypes, it has been our experience that very few men with country club memberships—fine, hard-working fellows as they may be—are prepared to go deep on subjects of genuine import like modern techniques in at-home meat processing and packaging, Charles Bronson’s filmography, or the best applications of the Wankel engine (to each their own, we always say). But if all else fails conversationally, just remember that most men speak fluent sports.