When I think of golf courses I think of death. I don’t play golf it seems like a waste of time. Most people don't share the same thinking as me, but most people haven't shared the same experiences as me either.
I won't mention the name of the course (for legal reasons), but not until I took job at a golf course in Baldwin County, AL did I realize how many people die on golf courses. Some deaths are attribute to medical issues (heart attack, accidental injury, etc.), and some deaths involve criminal activity (assault and murder).
Last year a golfer and member of a country club up north left the course after the eleventh hole complaining about a migraine. Once home his health went into a decline experiencing high fever and nausea. By the following morning, he had rash across his chest. Forty-eight hours after leaving the course, he was bed ridden in a hospital covered with blisters and less than a week later he was dead. His autopsy revealed he died of a severe allergic reaction to a pesticide that the club admitting to using on their course.
A few years before a senior in high school was playing at a New York golf course. He became frustrated with how he had playing that he let his anger take over when he decided to take his 3-wood and smash it against a bench next to a cart path.
The club snapped in half and ricocheted into his heart. Paramedics pronounced him dead before he made it to hospital. This is not the first or last golfer to die by his own club. Another golfer died after his driver head broke on the tee piercing an artery in his groin, causing him to bleed out before paramedics arrived.
A regular of ours had a large branch snap striking him while waiting for his turn to tee off. He died a week later from complications contributed to his injuries. Another regular made his first hole-in-one then moments after his scorecard had been verified, he collapsed and died on the spot. Corner determined he died from an aneurysm.
Deaths are not only limited to the local courses in Baldwin County or the United States for that matter. At a golf course in Japan a woman died after she fell into a sinkhole in the fairway. The sinkhole eventually determined to be caused by a runoff forcing the turf to collapse beneath her feet almost twenty feet deep drowning her in the process.
A golfer in Canada died on golf course after he drove his cart off a retaining wall crashing thirty feet below and no reason to suggest other than an accident. The corner did note that the man's blood-alcohol level at the time of death had been .17.
In South Africa a man went searching for his ball after hitting it near the water. When a crocodile attacked him, and both disappeared into the water. The same crocodile was killed the following day and the man's arm was the only part of his body recovered, which they found in the belly of the twelve-and-a-half-foot reptile.
At another local course (in my area) a fight broke out between a lone golfer and a group playing behind him. They group began arguing complaining he (the lone golfer) was holding up play by searching for his ball. The altercation turned deadly when the group of three jumped the lone golfer, and he fatally kicked one of the men in the throat. The jury unanimously agreed the lone golfer had not been the aggressor and was acting in self-defense.
It has been over ten years since I worked for the golf course. I am now working in the purchasing department for the city. I love my job. My department is made up of an amazing supervisor and coworkers. However, the journey hasn't been easy street to be where I am at today with a lot of climbing left to do.
I am doing much better today than while I was employed at the golf course, my life has significantly turned around after getting sober. I quit the hard stuff July 2006 two days after I turned twenty-years-old. I had never been that big of a drinker until my divorce. Since, the residual effects from my ex-wife (who we share a daughter) continue to this day my drinking followed suite till over a year ago. January 23, 2022; will be a year and two months since I took my last drink. I have no desire to drink but my most important part of sobriety was to understand and be aware of my risk and triggers.
First, I needed to understand what my triggers were and what caused me to drink in the past. Mostly my ex-wife who for whatever reason still wants to destroy my life years after our divorce has been final. She continues to use my kids in the process and the worst part my son isn't even her child. My son is from a previous relationship who I have full custody of, and who my ex-wife has known since he was two.
Despite my ex-wife being one of the bigger triggers for me to want to drink. I'm aware of other smaller triggers that most individuals can relate. The daily grind of balance with work and being a single parent to both of my children, etc.
There is one other trigger I have never admitted not even to myself. That trigger is golf course violence which unknown to most but happens everywhere almost daily. Most of the country clubs and high-end courses like (the one I worked) do their best to cover up what they call bad press, and they do a good job.
However, even if it's briefly in the news cycle the most gruesome and violent golf course deaths find their way in the national news cycle despite the caliber of the Golf club.
Over the years I have tried my best to ignore this trigger, but it seems to always find its way through. In 2018 (during my drinking days) I heard about authorities finding the body of twenty-two-year-old college student Celia Barquín Arozamena floating face down in one of the ponds of the golf course with multiple stab wounds. She had been reported missing hours before.
I followed the story for days finding out she was a senior at the university of Iowa golf team and murdered by a homeless man living in the woods next to the Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa. Because I was still drinking this allowed me to drown that trigger with the rest of my triggers and issues.
That was until July 3, 2021 (sober) when that same trigger found me again. The news reported a triple murder at the Pinetree country club located in Kennesaw, GA. I was triggered but that's the point of being sober I can't run anymore. I must face each issue and each traumatic experience despite how painful or how bad the retaliation may be. So here goes.......
Every devastating story above is true and I could easily research and find you twenty more just as bad if not worse. Still nothing bothers me as much as what I witnessed at the golf course in Baldwin County, AL. Before the golf course I lost my job as a temp for Kelly services working with Allstate and pilot adjusters in Lake Mary, FL. The economy was a little over a year away from the 2008 housing market crash. Which meant jobs had started to become more and more difficult to come by.
Willing to work any job I could get started with renting out beach chairs. That lasted a few months before the beach season started to wind down. This is about the time where the golf course job came into my life. The money was not great, but the hours were good, and beggars can't be choosers. Plus, I enjoyed working outside, and my coworkers and supervisor were laid back.
On a random Tuesday I had already been at the job for about a month. The day started out slow only a few regulars had scheduled tee times for the entire day leaving one tee time left scheduled for 4:30pm.
The couple at the 4:30pm tee time were also regulars and lived in the same golf community. They drove their own golf court to the club house (as regulars do), had their own clubs and balls and paid the pro shop over the phone for nine holes (since we closed at 6pm).
My supervisor already left, and the other two employees finished their duties early and were now glued to their phones in the cart barn. I decided to take one of the carts out to make my final rounds on the course. Instead of taking the path from the tee off of the first hole. I went north hitting the cart path on the 18th hole working backwards through the course.
I never spoke about this before because I was young thinking no one would believe me and in fear of retaliation, but my clear mind has finally forced me to face my triggers, and the fear of my past and future head on.
I had a lot of promise before this moment in time. Some moments are more life changing than others. I have learned the hard way that there's a before you and an after you when experiencing each moment in time (good or bad).
I experienced the most difficult life changing moment that Tuesday fifteen years ago when I witnessed a murder on the Par 3 hole. The worse part though what I witnessed was never considered a murder, but instead ruled an accident. I am only writing this because it dictated my life for many years. One for what I witnessed and two for not speaking up. After today number two will be no more when I spill the beans.
Mr. and Mrs. Foreman were the last schedule tee time at 4:30pm. I don't think Mrs. Foreman worked but Mr. Foreman did something in business because he mentioned in passing how he traveled a lot. Either way they were wealthy living in a mansion on Augusta court.
I was almost done making my rounds on the course working my way backwards from the back nine when I came up on the Par 3 as I crossed over the bridge from the fourth hole.
If you have never played on this course (or played golf for that matter) on each hole there are different levels of teeing off broken down into the three tiers. The third tier is for the most experienced golfer with the highest elevation and furthest distance to the hole.
As I was crossing the bridge from the fourth hole, the Foreman's were preparing to tee off of Par 3. I wasn't sure if they saw me, so I pulled over after crossing the wooden bridge. I didn't want to distract them during their tee off plus I didn't want to be hit.
I watched as the Foreman's set up their ball from each tee. Mr. Foreman was teeing off from the third tier two tiers above. He stepped back from his ball motioning below for Mrs. foreman to go ahead. She took three practice swings and stepped up to her ball on the tee. She was focusing on her stance not aware of her husband behind her who started walking up to his ball on the tee.
The statement Mr. Foreman gave to police was read before a grand jury a week later "On my downswing, I realized that my wife (Mrs. foreman), was teeing up on the first tee (of par 3) directly in front of me two levels below." A few weeks later investigators were informed by the coroner regarding Mrs. Foreman's autopsy explaining she died of injuries of blunt force trauma to the head. Consistent with Mr. Foreman's statement.
There were no other witnesses (at least that came forward), so they ruled her death a tragic accident. I don't believe Mrs. Foreman knew the truth about her husband (at least I hope she didn't).
Everyone in town treated Mr. Foreman like he had been the victim. The weeks leading after her death he would start crying to anyone in town that would listen, claiming he was in mid swing before he realized she was in front of him "I was unable to stop my swing, I nailed it, and hit her directly in the head, killing her instantly." He would claim.
What had never been reported was what I witnessed. Yes, Mrs. Foreman was in mid swing as Mr. Foreman made contact to his ball two levels above striking her in the temple. Yes, Mrs. Foreman went limp falling to the ground. I am not sure what, but I believe shock is the reason I didn't scream when it happened.
I felt paralyzed and due to Mr. Foreman actions, I am certain he didn't know I was watching from the entrance of bridge below. He didn't have the normal reaction to hitting someone (accidentally) especially his wife. She was in desperate need of medical attention. Instead, he casually walked down to his wife on the first-tier tee. I couldn't see her face only a portion of her body laying where it dropped. I thought my eyes were doing tricks on me when her body appeared to be shaking.
What was visible was Mr. Foreman's entire face and body which didn't seem normal. Normal in the way a husband should be acting trying to save his wife's life. Instead, he stood over her body and smiled. The smile he gave his wife as she lay there dying still brings chills to my spine when I think of it. I only hope Mrs. Foreman was not alive to see her husband’s smile as she lay at the par 3 tee dying.
That smile of his was the trick to bring me out of my shock causing me to scream. Mr. Foreman still couldn't see me because of the angle of the first-tier tee. I hid my cart (and myself) behind a well pump house for a few more minutes before slowly driving the cart back toward the 4th hole away from the Foreman's.
I never saw Mr. Foreman again but over the years I would hear stories about him in town or someone would mention the "tragic accident" with his wife.
I don't have the exact reason why I never spoke up. I was young, lost, insecure, and scared of everything which explains my struggle with addiction during that time. I cared too much about what people thought of me.
I lied to myself for fifteen years saying I wasn’t for sure if he did it on purpose and constantly questioned myself. Why ruin this man's life and their family's life who is already dealing with a tragedy? Why accuse Mr. Foreman of something that may not even be true? Which he in turn could turn around and sue me for defamation and slander.
I ignored what I witnessed that day by masking my own issues. However, my mind is clear and healthy now, and I know the way Mr. Foreman reacted was not normal his reaction could only be categorized as evil. I always assumed he heard me scream from his smile, but I never knew for sure. I guess today is the day I will find out. I need to do this for Mrs. Foreman, I need to do this for myself. You can't hide from the truth all you can do is change it for the future.