When Logan was five years old, Brian became a member of Columbia Hills Country Club in Lorain County, Ohio. As part of his membership, Brian was able to enroll Logan in a peewee golf class. It gave Logan his first taste of golf, and of golf terminology and etiquette.
It was a completely new world to Logan, and like many kids his age, he wasn’t afraid to ask questions. As Logan and his classmates peppered the instructor with basic questions, Brian found a lesson that adults could learn, as he relays in Chapter 17, “The Golf Lesson.”
Give a child something to throw and he’ll throw it. Give him something to swing and he’ll swing it. So the very first order of business was to teach the kids how and where to properly swing a club.
One of the teachers recited a list of what not to do: “Make sure you don’t swing your club when you’re near anybody. … Make sure nobody is in the way when you get ready to hit the ball. … Maintain a safe distance from other golfers on the course.”
The teacher finished with one of the basic rules of golf etiquette: What to yell if you accidentally hit a ball in the direction of another person.
“Does anybody know what you yell?” the teacher asked. Without missing a beat, Logan cupped his hands around his mouth and bellowed, “Get out of the way!” at the top of his lungs.
All the adults burst out laughing. Logan, however, was dead serious.
“What? Why is everyone laughing? I yelled, ‘Get out of the way!’ That’s what you’re supposed to do!”
After a few moments, the instructor taught Logan the longstanding rule of yelling “fore” when you think your ball might hit someone. Logan was ready with a zinger for that one, too.
“Why ‘fore?’ Why not yell ‘five?’”
In the adult world, we tend to overcomplicate things way too much. Instead of asking a simple question, we don’t want to be the one in the room who doesn’t know what is going on. We go so far as to assume that everyone else at the lunch table, in the conference room, knows what is going on. So if you don’t — or at least believe you don’t — you’re the idiot in the room that is going to mess everything up.
It’s a bad situation. That’s when questions don’t get asked, when problems don’t get straightened out and when small bumps in the road become major obstacles to overcome. Instead of someone stepping up, asking a pointed question or two and getting to the heart of the matter, a roomful of people dance around the issue, pretending to know a bit more than they actually do, in the name of saving face.
If one person in the room had the guts to stand up and say, “Hey, I’m dumb here! Teach me!” the process would advance at warp speed. But that doesn’t happen anywhere close to as often as it should.