Welcome to Golf Digest's first comedy issue. There's no need to hold your applause. Feel free to laugh, chortle, guffaw or slap the person sitting next to you on the knee (only if you know them well—or maybe you're the type who's unafraid of being the only one in county lockup wearing a golf shirt).
Speaking of misunderstandings, we'd like to apologize in advance for any material you find offensive. Just as important, we're also sorry for anything you find lame. Humor's a lot like golf: Everybody has moments of brilliance, but being on when it counts is tricky.
It's neither our wish nor our fault that a lot of sexist and often downright sophomoric humor finds its way to the golf course. Making fun of others is not only easy, it's a sign of not-quite-average intelligence. The funniest golfers, we've found, make themselves their primary target. Unless you're really, really good, all golfers need a sense of humor to stay sane in this game of cruel bounces, dashed dreams, stolen mojos and fire-hydrant nightmares.
For the following pages, we'd like to pay special thanks to Larry David, Margaret Cho and our "Saturday Night Live" cover boy, Colin Jost, for keeping it PG-13. As we editors like to say but will never print, these comics put the "e" in classey.
Oh, and a word about jokes on the golf course: Unless play is really backed up, the only time to start one is after everybody has hit their tee shot. Slow play is never funny.
WHEN (AND HOW HARD) IS IT OK TO LAUGH?
By Guy Yocom
Why is it the funniest things in golf stem from misfortune befalling others? In the movie "Caddyshack" alone, a holy man is struck by lightning, a yacht is wrecked, a teen faces unwanted pregnancy, a hurled club injures a member dining on the patio, a doctor ignores a patient's emergency, and a course is destroyed by dynamite. But there comes a point where calamity crosses the line and ceases to be funny. Just how dark is your inner sadist? Consult our chart to find out.
GOLFERS WHO STINK, LITERALLY
by Cory Michaelis
Before I got into stand-up comedy, I coached boys' high school golf for four years. I wish I could tell you that I wanted to mold young minds through a wonderfully intricate game, but I just wanted to play for free. And to do it, I was willing to chaperone 12 teenagers filled with angst and coated with Axe body spray.
The worst player I coached was this kid named Gagnon. Spelled G-A-G-N-O-N, like gaggin' on. Like "You OK? What are you gaggin' on now?" He looked like a newborn baby giraffe swinging a club, if that baby giraffe was also blind. At the end of his sophomore season I heard another player call him "Gone-Yun" and I was like, "Dude, have I been mispronouncing your name for two years?" He shrugged, smiled and said, "I just thought you were being a dick." Great attitude on that kid.
How bad was he? Gagnon won our team's most-improved award three years in a row and still couldn't break 90—for nine holes.
But he kept smiling, which is the most important thing every golfer can do. This great truth I tried hard to impress on my players. That, and to remember deodorant for the bus rides.
What the group ahead is saying while you're waiting
By Max Adler
Bob: There's a single behind us.
Freddie: Wow. Is that his drive?
Vince: He's going to have a long day.
B: We should let him play through.
V: Where's he gonna go?
F: Groups ahead of us, too.
V: I love how Mr. Lone Wolf thinks standing with his hands on his hips is going to change things. What's he expect, going out as a single?
F: I've played alone before. It's kind of nice. Drop two balls, practice, the sunset.
B: We should've let him through on that last par 3.
F: This halfway house has the best burgers. The way they melt the relish with the cheese. The bun isn't great but...
B: Perfect. Let's order some burgers and let that guy boogie. If he gets past that foursome, he'll be home free.
V: No way. He might be quitting after nine. Or what if he's hungry? Are we going to stand here and wait while they melt the relish with his cheese?
B: Guys, we've got two holes ahead wide open. Let's just get him off our ass so we can enjoy the rest of the round.
F: Can I use somebody's towel? My driver has cheese on it.
V: Singles have no standing on the course. This isn't me talking. It's in the rule book.
F: Whoa! That dude just stiffed it again. He must be having a great round.
B: While you guys were fishing for balls in the pond, I Googled that rule. They changed it in 2004. The Etiquette Section says any faster group, even singles, should be invited to play through.
V: I honestly doubt he wants to play through. He's fine.
F: That one just hit the pin!
B: Why don't we just ask him to play in with us?
V: It's getting dark. Mr. Pre-Shot Routine back there might make the difference in us finishing or not.
V: Can you believe this douche? Is he really walking up to our tee box? Hell with it—let him through.
B: You can't let someone through on 18. That's so awkward.
F: Actually, I think he's heading to the parking lot.
ATTENTION DEFICIT RECORDER
By Stephen Hennessey
Numbers don't lie. The modern measure of our collective wit is how many views a video gets on YouTube. Good, bad or shockingly simple, these are the clips we send to friends and family for a quick laugh. Some have fairly slick editing and writing, like "Stereotypes: Golf" (13 million views) by Dude Perfect. The plot of "The Golf War" (7.6 million views) is about as developed as many of the low-budget action movies that go straight to Netflix. "Kid flips out after missed putt" (2.3 million views on multiple sites) is a toddler's tantrum after missing a four-incher. Haven't we all wanted to react the same way? "The Ultimate Golf Fail Compilation" (five million views, shown below) is formatted a lot like "America's Funniest Home Videos" and is just as hard to stop watching. "How to pull a tooth with a golf club, golf ball and dental floss" (1.1 million views), though not a compelling argument for Father of the Year, doesn't let your attention go until the tooth is in hand. Though these videos might prove how doltishly simple our society is, they offer hope. All it takes is a creative spin on an old trope, and you might have the next viral sensation.
A FIRST-TEE MEDITATION FOR BUSINESS GOLF
By Mike Stachura
Gosh, feels good to be out of the office. Restores a flagging spirit. You breathe a little better, feel a little lighter. Well, some of us do. . . . What was that lunch, a bacon burger with cheese fries? Did Bob's heart attack not come with a warning? Idiot. . . . That breeze feels nice. Wish it were downwind. . . . Golf course looks immaculate. Ought to, with that monthly. Really, this is perfect. Remember today when it's February and your balls are frozen. . . . Dang, they need that presentation tomorrow, don't they? What am I doing out here? . . . What, we're next on the tee? So much for hitting range balls. Nice move ordering dessert, boss. Dork. . . . Business golf sucks. It's like teenage sex: an intoxicating theoretical proposition that 99 times out of a hundred goes impossibly wrong the minute you get into it. . . . Boy, this guy's an earache. Two words I didn't need to hear today: start-up and scalable. My car is a start-up, and grapes in a grocery store are scalable. . . . Wait, am I supposed to go to the grocery store on my way home? . . . Man, this course looks hard. Why has it taken four years for me to get the invite? . . . Do I have enough cash for the caddies? Am I even supposed to pay? Loser. . . . The putting green is way the heck over there? Darn it. . . . What's this clown wearing? Does he think he's Rickie Fowler? . . . The back tees? Sure, why not, we're all warmed up. Moron. . . . OK, just a few smooth practice swings to get loose. Geez, I'm tight. Did I just pull something? . . . No, go ahead. I want to see this. Huh, guess he is Rickie Fowler. Now I get to follow that: a 230-yard carry over a quarry. Swell. . . . OK, ease up on that grip pressure. . . . The car needs an oil change. . . . Two knuckles or three? Bloody hell. . . . Straight back, bend from the waist. Feet shoulder-width apart. Ball inside the left heel. Is it? I can't tell from this angle. Where am I aimed? Oh, God. . . . Steady now, low and slow backswing. . . . The market's doing what? . . . Turn the left shoulder under your chin, don't sway. . . . Did I turn my phone on silent? . . . Hands high, don't lunge . . . Should've worn my other shorts. . . . Steady, steady. . . . Deep-fried beer?
BUTT OF THE JOKE
By Stina Sternberg
Is golf not difficult enough without having to worry how your ass looks? Try obsessing over panty lines as you take the club back, then squeezing your glutes on the downswing to prevent any unsightly jiggling. You have almost no chance of making a proper release.
You see, that's not first-tee jitters we gals are suffering when we start to twitch over the ball. It's a condition called sudden-onset buttocks neurosis. Because nine times out of 10, cartpaths are positioned behind and left of the forward tees, forcing us short knockers to turn around in front of our friends, colleagues and perfect strangers, spread our legs and bend over like we're amateur participants in a cheap burlesque show.
Does this cartpath-positioning conspiracy give the guys a competitive advantage? Sure does. And maybe that's the point. But until there's justice for all and the cartpaths are re-routed, we'll just have to keep squeezing hard and wearing thong underwear.
IF YOU CAN'T BE FUNNY, BE FAST
By Ashley Mayo
Nobody wants to hear a shot-by-shot account of your latest round. Boring. But if you can't help yourself and you've absolutely got to spread the word, try emojis. Are you already an emoji ninja? Then test your emoji IQ with this quiz.
IF OUR BALLS COULD TALK
By Peter Morrice
It was once said Billy Casper was such a great putter that every ball coming off the assembly line wanted to be putted by him. Which made us wonder, what are the little orbs stuck inside our golf bags saying to one another?