There were a lot of positive stories this week at the Golf Industry Show, but there was also one scary story that could have ended a lot worse than it did: A superintendent was assaulted outside the Peabody Hotel near the Orange County Convention Center on Tuesday night.
The Midwestern superintendent -- who requested that we not use his name -- was walking with a friend at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night when a car pulled up next to them. Two men got out, and before the superintendent knew what was happening, he was blindsided by a punch -- either a fist or a forearm -- in his right eye. The punch wasn't enough to knock the superintendent down.
The attackers had a gun and shouted for the men to get on the ground, but they refused. The two superintendents kept walking away. Lucky for them, the attackers lost their nerve and got back in their car to drive away.
The superintendent didn't get his wallet stolen, but his glasses were broken and his nerves were rattled.
"We were lucky these guys weren't pros," the superintendent told Golfdom on Thursday afternoon at the Golf Industry Show. "We would have been popped, we would have been dead. These guys were green."
The superintendent -- who had a scuff near his right eye -- said the attacker more or less "bounced" off of him.
"This guy thought he was tough, but he wasn't," the superintendent said. "He popped me and he didn't knock me down."
The superintendent has been coming to the GCSAA's annual conference and trade show for over two decades, and said the hardest thing for him was to believe it really happened.
"It took me a while to really get over it," he said. "Anything can happen. And it happened so fast."
The superintendent said his only reaction was to get away from the two men.
"I told (my friend), I just said, 'Keep walking!' And I kept walking away. They decided not to keep after me, so I went back to get my glasses, they were all smashed on the ground."
The superintendent said he did not report the attack to the police, but he did report it to both the Peabody Hotel and his own hotel. He also did not tell anyone with the GCSAA about the attack, because he didn't want to "make a big deal" about it. He said the attack wouldn't keep him away from any future Golf Industry Shows, but mostly it made him worry about his daughter, who was also at the GIS with him.
"She went out with her friends that same night... what if these guys went after her?" he asked.