One of the most beautiful yet frustrating pastimes is the game of golf. Even the best athletes in the world need to practice to play well. It can also lead to obsession. Golden State Warriors’ star Stephen Curry says he is “haunted” by golf.
When golfers gather on the course to play, disagreements can be common. Recently, one of those arguments occurred at a golf course in Santa Maria, California. Most course disputes end after a few minutes, once cooler heads have had a chance to prevail.
Unfortunately, this skirmish ended in an unbelievable tragedy.
How the dispute began
The horrific incident occurred on the Casa Grande Estates in Santa Maria, California. It’s a golf course located next to a senior living community.
Two men were playing on the course. A third man joined them and an argument ensued. According to local police, they had a “longstanding feud.” Shouting between the men was heard, and a few minutes later gunshots rang out. Sadly, a man was fatally shot in the clubhouse of the premises. A second man was found dead on the course.
That in and of itself would have been a tragic enough story on its own. The story is about to get much worse – and much more bizarre.
The tragedy continues
Once the murders had been committed, police believed the gunman returned to his house. Somehow a fire started in the home and his house went up in flames.
Santa Maria police chief Phil Hansen described the incredible scene:
“Within moments as we were starting to move in that direction, there were reports of an explosion and fire at 407. The fire engulfed the entire unit almost immediately and it was a very rapidly moving fire.”
Apparently, the gunman had ammunition stored at his house, as a series of small explosions exacerbated the fire. Residents in the quiet community would soon hear the unfamiliar sound of wailing sirens as emergency responders approached.
The fire began spreading to other homes in the area, burning three to the ground and damaging others. It presented a serious safety concern both for residents in the area as well as the firefighters and police on the scene. Police would later identify two of the victims. Three bodies were found in the burned home, two of which were believed to be the gunman and his son.
What started this?
Beyond knowing that the fight began on the golf course, police were initially unsure what caused the events to occur. The argument could have been golf-related. It could have been caused by an earlier argument that spilled over into the golf game.
Upon further review, police believe that either a golf game or a possible eviction could have led to the deadly fracas.
The community was at a loss to make sense of the event. The Santa Maria Times asked one of the community’s residents about the incident, and they had an understandably muted and shocked reaction:
“I’m just appalled at what happened…It’s a quiet community and most people are polite to one another.”
If the origin of the dispute was due to a golf game, it speaks to the importance of practicing anger management during athletic competition. While most golf games don’t end as horrifically as this one, letting anger take over due to a game isn’t mentally, physically, or emotionally healthy for anyone.
Golf can be a particularly enraging sport whether playing as part of a foursome or as an individual. There are techniques to assist with this. It’s also critical to relax while playing. This decreases the likelihood of a “golf rage” incident.