FIRST PERSON | ANTHONY L. WILLIAMS

As told to Michelle Hiskey, for the AJC

For 28 years, Anthony L. Williams has worked in Marriott’s golf division. As director of grounds for Stone Mountain Golf Club, he described witnessing some of the worst golf shots he has ever seen.

Because we host so many corporate and charity outings, I have seen a rich diversity of shots and cleaned up broken clubs left by many golfers. Bad things seem to happen on tee shots especially. It’s perfectly level ground, designed to give you an advantage, and that invitation can make you go mental.

Take the young athletic man who in his mind is a world-class athlete. He tends to wear a long-billed hat. With a great swing, he tops the forward edge of the ball at such an angle that the backspin makes the ball goes straight up. It hits the bill of his hat and drops straight down. I’ve seen that four times, proving that you do not require a building or tree to get hit by your own shot.

Another uncommonly bad shot is when the ball hits a tree or other object, ricochets back and the golfer catches it. Touching a ball in flight, of course, is against the rules of golf. There’s also the shot into the golf-course bathroom. Somehow the ball went in right as the door was opening. It’s a tough shot coming out of the poopers.

One of the worst shots was by a guy who hit off a teebox that was level with the cart path behind him. He was talking trash about ripping the drive of his life. His swing went so outside in and over the top that he hit the ball with the hosel of the club. The ball went at a 90-degree angle through his legs with so much heat that it hit the cart and stuck in the wheel well.

Maybe the worst shot was an alpha guy who was playing at Pine Isle. The tradition is to tap your driver on the big rock near the 10th tee for good luck. His group was playing through a slower group. This alpha guy exchanged some words with them about being burdened by the lesser players on the course.

He does not pound the lucky rock, goes back to the tips and lets loose a low screamer. The ball hits the lucky rock and goes a million feet in the air. It lands on top of the clubhouse.

One of the players who he has just insulted remained cool as a cucumber and said, “Boy, that’s going to be a tough second shot.” Proving once again that golf karma can snatch you at any minute.