They met during league play early in the season, and since formed an every Saturday morning foursome. They enjoyed playing early so they could get home to spend most of the day with their young families. This foursome enjoyed the game and was learning what most avid golfers come to realize; golf is just more fun when you play by the rules and have something riding on the outcome. Action, betting, gambling, call it what you will. Playing for money.
Their game was $5 Nassau; with full league handicaps, automatic presses at 2-down. The group would throw up the balls on the first to determine partners. The money seemed to simply revolve within the group, with the winners buying a pitcher after the round.
One Saturday the professor (TP), that’s what they called him because he spent so much time on his computer that he seemed to know everything or could find the answer easily, was paired with the insurance salesman (IS). TP and IS had won the front and two bets were riding on TP’s straight in 4-footer on 18. As TP lined up his putt he noticed a small dark colored mound of something, directly in his intended line. He reached up with his putter and brushed the gob of stuff aside, leaving a blackish smear.
That is when the argument started!
(AC) the assistant football coach, partnered with Joey, almost shouted, “You can’t do that! It is not about the money, but I thought we were playing golf by the rules.”
“There is something, I recall, about being able to move stuff in your line. Something about a loose object, I think they call it a loose impediment,” TP stated with a shrug of his shoulders.
“There was nothing loose about that stuff, it was stuck to the green,” AC ranted as his face grew redder. “Just hit that putt. It won’t make any difference if you miss, and if you make it we will clarify the rule and pay next week.” The putt went in!
“I will look-up the answer online and let you know next week, if you trust me – that is,” TP said with a grin as he flipped his ball out of the hole with his putter and caught it in mid-air.
The following Saturday morning TP had more information than the other three wanted, but he had done his research. “That stuff is ‘worm cast’ you know worm poop. Worms deposit their soil-rich fecal matter as small mounds. That is where ‘black dirt’ comes from. Those worms are actually good for the course, except for putting over their piles, because the little worm tunnels lessen soil compaction and make passages where air and water can percolate into the soil. The big shots in the business call it ‘enhancing penetration.’ No, not that kind of penetration AC. See those long black streaks on the greens? Those are where the mower smeared the worm crap onto the green when they are mowed.”
“So much for the entomology lesson,” answered AC with a smirk. “How can something that is stuck to the green be a loose impediment that can just be wiped away? What do the rules of golf say?”
“The USGA Rules address worm castings specifically, whether stuck or loose, worm castings are defined as loose impediments. They can be moved!”
“So, we lost 3 bets last week because of some damn worm castings. Joey and I will try you guys again this week! No need to throw those balls…. they might land in some worm castings. We lost last week, so we get honors!”