How this NHL player experienced every golfer’s worst nightmare

Embarrassment. It’s happened to everyone. Some more than others, sure, but no person has managed to live a golfing life without it.

The nature of golf — in its maddening, unpredictable twists and turns — is that occasionally you’ll be embarrassed. Sometimes it happens in front of your coworkers. Sometimes in front of a client. Sometimes, you have the good fortune of dealing with it alone.

But every golfer’s greatest fear is not dealing with embarrassment, it’s dealing with embarrassment in front of people who play golf for a living.

It’s one thing to embarrass yourself in front of your family or even your colleagues, it’s another entirely to embarrass yourself in front of those who spend every waking second plotting their way around bringing a golf course to its knees.

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar podcast, former NHLer Mike Commodore joins Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz to share the story of how he lived every golfer’s worst nightmare, embarrassing himself in front of a group of PGA Tour stars on a trip to Hawaii.

“Yup, that probably came from Mr. Max Homa,” Commodore said. “I was sitting around, I go through stretches of really bad golf and this was terrible. In my defense, which isn’t even a defense, I was at a reunion in North Dakota. Joel [Dahmen] put this thing together in Maui, I went straight from the reunion, had my things straight to Maui.”

Things started trending in the wrong direction when Commodore landed in Hawaii.

“I got there just as Justin Thomas was in a playoff and I go, ‘god, I hope these guys aren’t home because I need to go to bed,” he said. “I walk in, they’re all boozing. I go ‘oh my god,’ so I had to rally. I was hoping they’d be at a bar so I could just ignore their text messages.”

The next morning, Commodore joined a crew of pro golfers and friends for a round in Maui. Things were already going poorly when Commodore reached his approach on a long par-4.

“We went out and played golf, I chipped and putted good, thank god, but I was just hitting it like a true a——,” he said. “I’m riding with Ben Marsh and I’m like, ‘How far out?’ and he’s like, ’88.’ I’m like, ‘yeah, sounds good, that’s a lob wedge.”

Already in the midst of a dreadful round, Commodore grabbed his club and lined up his shot.

justin thomas face palms
How to properly deal with on-course embarrassment, according to an embarrassed golfer
By: James Colgan

“I kinda look at it and I’m like ‘Man, it’s a little bit uphill, I guess I’ll just have to step on it a bit,'” he said. “I flush this thing right at the flag, I’m like, ‘Oh god I got that.'”

“I heard you said, ‘finally’ out loud,” Knost added.

Commodore watched as his ball skied toward the cup, his tormented day finally over. Or was it?

“I’m like sitting there posing, and then it lands at the bottom of the hill,” he said. “It was 188 yards, I needed a full 6-iron to reach.”

Sometimes, it all goes wrong at once.

To hear the rest of Commodore’s interview, including why he (mistakenly) thought he was Rickie Fowler’s good luck charm, check out the video below.

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James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.