February 22, 2022

Memoirs of a Starter at Indian Valley

By Merrill Louks

As a starter on the first hole at Indian Valley for more than 10 years, I have seen a lot of strange things happen at or around the first tee box. Most were funny, some interesting, and a couple pathetic in my opinion. The following are a few of these incidents that I think you might enjoy especially if you play golf.

Top Moments


  • One Saturday when I reported to the first tee to start my shift, there was a min-van on the cart path next to the tee box, about 50 feet from the parking lot, and hung up on the curbing. I think that the driver must have had a little too much to drink at the bar on Friday evening after his round of golf. The vehicle had to be towed away.

  • On my starter sheet, the next group listed to tee off was a Michael three and a Christian single. A lone golfer came down the hill and when he approached the tee, I asked “Are you Christian?” and he replied “No I am Jewish”. He said he just couldn’t resist.

  • A member of the woman’s club came to the tee box with the other members of her group. When it was her turn to hit, she went to her cart to get the driver and realized that her golf clubs were still in her car. She made a quick trip to her car and made it off the first tee just a little bit late,


  • It turned out that a twosome scheduled to go out by themselves both played golf left-handed. While they were getting ready to hit, I got a call from the pro shop that a single was coming down to join them. You may have guested it; he also played golf left-handed. What are the odds of that happening?


  • One of the men in a regular foursome in the men’s club would take his dog, an old sleepy yellow lab, on the course with him. The dog was laying at his master’s feet when one of his playing partners topped his drive and it rolled only about forty yards and short of the forward tee box. The dog quickly jumped to its feet, sprinted down the fairway, picked up the ball, ran back and dropped it on the tee box. Then he laid down again.
  • A group came to the first tee and it appeared that one of them was kind of in charge. A player asked him, “Are we taking a ‘breakfast ball’ today?” And he replied, “No, today we are fasting”.


  • A player on the 18th hole, a par-5, hit his second shot over the cart path separating the eighteenth hole from the first hole. The golf ball rolled onto the practice putting green behind the first tee and dropped into one of the cups. When he came to retrieve it, he asked me, tongue in cheek, if he could count that as a two on a par five, an “albatross”.


  • While working a tournament and standing on the tee box, an errant shot from the 9th hole came over the trees and hit me on the top of the head. I ended up in the emergency room and they put in six staples to repair the gash. Unfortunately, my wife and I were flying to Sydney, Australia the very next day to celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary. Since I didn’t have a concussion, I was able to make the flight, and we did have a wonderful time.


Honorable Mention


  • Twice on separate occasions two young men arrogantly asked me what was the present course record. Both had poor golf swings and hit wild drives that ended no way near the fairway. I knew the record was safe


  • A woman out for a stroll started down the cart path on the 9th I went over to her and informed her that she could not do this. She got very upset because she said the sign at the entrance to the golf course said “Open to the Public”.


  • A golfer was taking her frisky young black lab on the course for the first time. The dog was leashed to her push cart and when she went to hit her second shot the dog pulled over the cart and her clubs went flying. She righted her cart and picked up her clubs and when she went to hit a second time, the same thing happened. Finally she hit second shot, then picked up her golf clubs, and headed down the fairway.


  • I was standing on the tee box about 10 feet in front of the markers to space out the groups leaving the first tee. A man hit his drive which wised by and just missed me.  I asked him what he was thinking and he said he didn’t see me. Now that is keeping your “eye on the ball”.


  • At least once a month a player will fail to strap their golf bag to their cart. When leaving the first tee the tendency is to put the accelerator all the way to the floor and the loose bags go flying and make an awful racket. Has this ever happened to you? Once the shaft on the golfer’s driver broke and the head flew off.


Ironically just recently when something strange occurred on the first tee, a woman said to me, “I bet you could write a book on what happens on the first tee”. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to write a book, but I could go on and on.