A casual golfer asks: I accidentally hit into the group in front of me — what’s fair game?

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="(Editor’s note: This letter to the editor was written by Jeff Shaw, West Chatham, for the Cape Cod Times, which is part of the USA Today Network. It brings up an interesting and worthy topic. What’s right? And where is the line drawn?)” data-reactid=”13″>(Editor’s note: This letter to the editor was written by Jeff Shaw, West Chatham, for the Cape Cod Times, which is part of the USA Today Network. It brings up an interesting and worthy topic. What’s right? And where is the line drawn?)

Having shot a personal best 86, I celebrated with my friend with nine holes at Chatham Seaside Links (on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts) the next day. As my tee shot sailed over a blind hill on Hole No. 1, I thought how the timer (though the starter on this day) provides peace of mind for golfers, knowing when it’s safe to swing to the green below. A recurring fear of mine is accidentally hitting into the group ahead.

After all, sometimes a ball gets crushed.

The ninth hole also has a blind spot, as the fairway dips until the raised, two-level green. Unlike Hole No. 1, there is no timer or starter. Before teeing off, I saw a cart in the distance near the green and figured it was safe to hit. Whether someone lagged behind or my drive was crushed, I hit into the group ahead. Fear achieved; berated we were.

Now I get it, everyone is “hot” these days: public health crisis, economic uncertainty, racial injustice, travel bans, even recent storms knocking out power for millions. The last thing anyone needs is a golf ball rocketing in their direction.

I felt awful; apologies were made. Yet the “berater” wasn’t done. He picked up my ball and drove away. Did I deserve it? Maybe, but it was an accident. Golf is also a gentleman’s game and that was a childish move.

The golf gods agreed; I chipped my second shot within 2 feet and celebrated an otherwise perfectly played hole by tapping in the awarded free drop for birdie.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This piece was written by Jeff Shaw, West Chatham, for the Cape Cod Times, which is part of the USA Today Network.” data-reactid=”24″>This piece was written by Jeff Shaw, West Chatham, for the Cape Cod Times, which is part of the USA Today Network.

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