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Renslow: While we’re young

Real estate mogul Al Czervik waits impatiently alongside the first tee while Judge Smales makes numerous adjustments and gyrations. The fastidious Smales is preparing to hit his first tee shot and won’t pull the trigger until everything is in its place.

“While we’re young!”, Czervik bellows. We’ve all heard that one, and even if you haven’t seen “Caddyshack” (a must see as the best golf comedy movie ever), we know what that means.

This game is supposed to be played without delay, and to endure Judge Smales going through his countless key swing thoughts was just too much for Czervik.



It’s a movie, with the legendary Ted Knight as Judge Smales and none other than Rodney Dangerfield as Czervik, but this is a valuable lesson for every golfer. Move it … while we’re young.

Smales drives his ball in the fairway, and before he can hit his second shot, Dangerfield (I know, just go with it) steps up on the first tee and promptly hits his tee shot. Dangerfield’s ball begins its descent, heading directly for Smales, who has just hit his second shot.




From the tee, Dangerfield yells “Four!” Naturally, Smales looks back and faces the tee only to have the ball hit him directly in the crotch. Dangerfield quips, “I should have yelled, two,” to his playing partners and begins his stroll down the first hole.

Again, it’s a movie. Some things we see are good, some are simply incorrect, and some are computer generated.

We’ve already seen one good thing. Pace of play is critical to the enjoyment of the game, so move along, while we’re young.

But this second scenario can be misleading for the up-and-coming golfer. When a ball is headed in the wrong direction and it’s possible to injure another player, we warn them. The thing to do is yell “Fore!”

“Fore” has been the advanced notice for incoming golf balls for hundreds of years.

The word simply asks us to be aware of something ahead of us (although most errant shots come from behind or from the side).

If the game started today, we would probably choose another word. Yet with the game being played for more than 600 years, we still use a lot of words that don’t make sense.

What’s a putt? Well, rumor has it that’s a Scottish pronounced word for “push.” Even the word “golf” is supposedly a Dutch then Scottish word for “club.”

So when the shot you hit is not your best and you may be placing someone in grave danger (is there any other kind?), yell “Fore!” Of course, it will sound the same if you yell “Four!” Just hope you don’t have to yell “Two!”

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@pga.com.


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