Do Not Go To T’s Golf

By Michael Hawkins

As some readers may recall, an article appeared in the very first edition of Without Apology which disparaged T’s Golf in Manchester. This article is a reminder of that disparagement.

T’s Golf is a dumpy little joint run by Rawn and Judy Torrington. The deteriorating mini golf course is absolute junk. Even if I didn’t have a terrible personal interaction with the bitter, little owners, I would still hate their ‘facilities’ – in fact, long before I knew anything about the nasty, old couple I would often reject suggestions of using their business. The fact – and it’s an obvious fact – is that they run one of the worst looking (and playing) mini golf courses in the state.

But Without Apology has built readership since that first edition, so let’s get everyone up-to-date: I went to use Rawn and Judy Torrington’s driving range to test out a new driver one summer day. My intent was to hit 4-5 balls out of my own bag and leave. But being greedy, life-hating misers, the pair objected to me not buying their balls. They chastised my innocent girlfriend, told us we should know better, and even took down my license plate number. I suppose that made Rawn feel like a big man. Goodness knows his ugly, little business doesn’t.

Now give this all a moment’s thought: these two selfish individuals were angry because I didn’t give them a dollar fifty or so for a few balls. No one is saying they can’t tell people to pay, but what they can’t do is screech at people to pay and then expect to see some sort of uptick in business. Had they been remotely intelligent in their approach, I would have paid the pocket change to whack a few balls a few yards. Instead, they whined and yelled and threw a big hissy fit, thus losing my business forever. Now, I’m no business major (I prefer degrees that don’t take one’s soul), but I reckon the angry owners of T’s Golf might rightly be described as “business dolts”. But then, maybe I’m too kind.

So this is a reminder: DO NOT GO TO T’S GOLF THIS SUMMER. Or ever, really. It’s run by people who have no idea how to interact with the public; they do not deserve your money. Go drive a few balls over at All-Steak Burger on Hospital Street. That’s a business that is run by decent people, and the facilities are ever-improving, from the Disc Golf course to the batting cage to the driving range.

T’s Golf is a cheap joint run by a couple of old fogies who are bitter about their lackluster place in life, their inability to run a decent business, and the fact that they are unable to maintaine decent facilities. But most of all, they take no evident joy in their interaction with people. Go ahead, ask around town. Find out just what sort of stunts Rawn and Judy Torrington pull – from stories of berating customers who have spent $1000+ with them, to tales of denying 10 year olds free mini golf games because neither disgruntled owner witnessed the hole-in-one on the final hole, the anecdotes are seemingly endless.

And here’s the kicker: no one needs T’s Golf. There are other driving ranges. There are other mini golf courses. There are competently run businesses owned by decent people. T’s Golf is a black hole that adds nothing to the area. It just takes and takes and takes all the joy of summer, of golf, of humanity and consumes it into a pit of bitter nothingness and failure.

Save yourself the headache. Do not go to T’s Golf.

The Liberal Cup and Shaw’s Lodging

By Michael Hawkins

There are some downright awful businesses out there. Most big box stores fall under this heading. Then there are smaller businesses like T’s Golf in Manchester. But one can only stand reading about these sort of disgraces for so long. It is far better, indeed, to read about the good places.

One such place, without any doubt, is The Liberal Cup. It has the best food, the best environment, and a great owner: the squash is amazing, the people are great, and the owner, Geoff Houghton (who, in the interest of full disclosure, is not a personal acquaintance), has an incredible business sense about him. There isn’t a thing I don’t like about the place.

The only establishment, I think, that can rival the Cup is Shaw’s. No, not that Shaw’s. This one is located in Monson and offers more than groceries.

Located in a town through which Appalachian Trail thru-hikers must pass, Shaw’s ( is made for the hiker. After walking the 100 Mile Wilderness, I stopped here with friends. We found ourselves stuffed with the most satisfying all-you-can-eat breakfast ($7) we’ve ever had.

And the owners, my goodness. Dawn MacPherson-Allen and Susan Stevens bring an environment that is like visiting an almost overly hospitable relative. At no point can anyone feel like this is a business; Shaw’s is like a home.

The world needs more places like The Liberal Cup and Shaw’s Lodging.

Bad Behavior and T’s Golf

By Michael Hawkins

We shouldn’t have to accept bad behavior.

We all see it. We’re waiting in line at the check-out and there’s that person. (In an effort to avoid politically correct grammar, let’s say it’s a guy.) The cashier double-scanned something. Or an item isn’t priced correctly. Or there’s an unexpected fee. Whatever it is, that guy is there. You can see the anger in his eyes. He’s been waiting all day to lash out at someone, and this particular $8-an-hour employee is the unlucky victim.

No one says anything because, hey, who wants to join the public scene? It’s awkward. But is that so acceptable? I don’t think so.

Society has become accustomed to allowing people to act out like this. It happens every day, from Wal-Mart to Shaw’s to convenience stores to delis to restaurants. People love to treat each other like crap. Let’s get one voice together and just say ‘no’ to that sort of behavior.

Okay, that item didn’t scan in correctly and it’s taking awhile for someone to get you the right price. At no point does it logically follow that you should offer up a dish of immaturity topped with pettiness. Most of us get that, but too many have no concept of what kindness means.

And this is a two-way street. It’s usually customers treating low-level employees like hell (mostly because they can), but it comes the other way. Have I ever got the example of the century for you.

I recently went to T’s Golf in Manchester to try out a new club. I wanted to literally hit 4 balls into an empty field, using an empty tee, at a business that had literally no other customers. It didn’t take long for the owners to come out an give me an earful.

Rawn and Judy Torrington ripped into me, telling me I “should know better”, yelling at the person with me who wasn’t even playing, whining with fists clenched that I had such audacity to hit free balls into a field.

Okay, they aren’t giving things away for free. Fair enough. But let’s grow up a bit. First of all, these people charge for use of their buckets of balls, not their range. They weren’t even aware of the policies they put in place. Second, while they have an argument that I shouldn’t hit 4 balls into their empty field at their commonly empty place of business, my actions were not so unreasonable. But third, even if they were, it doesn’t matter. That sort of behavior is unacceptable. It’s a demonstration of selfishness, greed, bad behavior, horrible business sense, and immaturity. We should never accept any part of that list.

Fortunately, there’s always All-Steak Hamburger on Hospital Street, not to mention a dozen other places run by good people more than willing to take the business Rawn and Judy Torrington, in their self-centered, greedy little world, don’t seem to want (or know how to keep).

But this isn’t about my bad experience with a couple bad apples. This is about ALL the rotten trees ruining the otherwise healthy orchard.

We can solve some of our problems with businesses by not going to them (and literally every person with whom I’ve spoken refuses to go to T’s Golf). But that doesn’t solve the deeper issue. People still behave badly. Let’s stop accepting that.

If you see that guy in the supermarket or at the deli or in the retail store, don’t let him get away with it. Let him know, sans the anger he displays, that it isn’t the end of the world. He’s making an inconvenient situation into a debacle. He’s encouraging and spreading disease throughout the orchard. He’s making the world a worse place.

Let’s not accept bad behavior.