The venerable Bob Carney wrote an entertaining survival guide to playing golf with a millennial. "Entertaining" in the sense of your grandpa trying to figure out how to work the cable and accidentally ordering a pay-per-view movie.
Which is apropos: Baby Boomers, now in the 50-69 age range, are old.
Bob's piece was informative, but it was also misguided because a) it had more holes than a Robert Allenby tale and b) it catered to a crowd too busy booking its 4:30 p.m. dinner arrangements to read.
As millennials are the fastest growing market in golf, we thought it prudent to compose a step-by-step tutorial for the younger generation if one should ever encounter a Baby Boomer on the golf course:
What exactly is a Baby Boomer?
Ever wonder what players have nothing better to do than complain to the superintendent about the speed of the greens? Those would be the Baby Boomers. They're also the ones taking up two spaces in the parking lot, purchasing those Greg Norman hats in the shop and utilizing the Viagra dispenser in the locker room.
There seems to be a lot of them at my course...
I'm sure there are (especially if you're in Florida).
According to a Bloomberg report, Baby Boomers are forecast to spend a vast amount of their retirement money on golf. While millennials make up a big piece of the playing pie, it's the Boomers dropping the big dollars on equipment, golf travel, apparel and memberships.
In short: Their spending habits are shaping the industry more than you, so don't be surprised if your golf course gives them more attention.
Is there a reason they're ridiculing my fashion?
Scientists are still working on an answer. They'll rip the ensembles of Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter, while conveniently forgetting this was the style of their era's best player:
Why are they grumbling about golf technology?
Granted, you could point out the paradox in their moaning, seeing as they are employing a distance-measuring device and electronic pullcart, but let's not bring semantics into this. Their beef resides with clubs, and the opinion today's equipment is making the game too easy and ruining the sport.
At first this confused me, as scores at the PGA Tour level have stayed remarkably consistent over the past 30 years. Then I realized their contention stemmed from the distance disparity between your tee shot and their's. Instead of coming to grips with their mortality, it's easier to chalk up your 80-yard advantage as a by-product of innovation.
Speaking of equipment, what's that odd-shaped thing in their bag?
That's called a "9-wood." Since getting it up tends to be a problem for older folk, this club is used to help accomplish such an integral task.
Should I tell them how I booked my tee time?
Hell no. They have no idea what sites like golfnow.com and teeoff.com are, meaning you'll have to explain how the reservation systems work. Puzzled looks will follow, and soon you find yourself leading a 45-minute conversation and explanation of this crazy thing called "the Internet."
Why is our round taking so long?
According to this New York Times article, older people have frequent bathroom stops due to hypertension, diabetes and kidney failure.
How come they're giving my TopGolf logo an odd glance?
They probably haven't heard of America's new golf playground, due to the fact that TopGolf gets rocking at the time most Boomers are going to bed. Show them pictures if you have them on your iPhone, because descriptions don't do the vibrant driving ranges justice.
Just be prepared for "What is that?" questions when you show them a mobile telephone.
Why do they keep asking me my score?
Memory loss in an inevitable process of aging, my friend.
Is there any benefit to playing with a Baby Boomer?
Of course! You'll get to witness firsthand the benefits of "old man's game," which is the process of making par despite hitting a 200-yard drive and chunking the approach. True, part of this practice is fluffing up your lie and giving yourself a 10-foot downhill putt, but still. They'll likely have some gregarious stories to tell. And you'll find common ground, like your love for Augusta, the stance that the NCAA sniffs its own farts and that Paulina Gretzky is easy on the eyes.
Just be nice. After all, they were once like you. A long, long time ago.