Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute — we’re not on the PGA Tour and most of us will never get close to sniffing that kind of life.
We’re average golfers who love the game, and for the most part, we weekend hacks are a good group of folks. But as with any group, there are annoying idiosyncrasies common among its members.
Here are 10 such behaviors.
Constantly making excuses for poor play
“Oh, I didn’t keep my head down on that shot.” Or, “I slept wrong and it’s affecting my drives.” How about the old…”That last triple bogey really got into my head.” We always feel the need to explain our poor play, don’t we? Whatever happened to just plain stinking? Actually, an entire book has been written about how to use different excuses for playing poor golf. Look, there’s no reason to be embarrassed – most people aren’t that good at this game – so there’s no need to make excessive excuses. If you hit a bad shot, it’s probably because you stink…just like everybody else.
Bragging about how good they are
“I normally break 80 at this course.” Yeah, and I normally return home to a harem of supermodels every night. It never fails – as soon as someone tells you how great of a golfer they are, they end up shooting the worst round of their life. How is that possible? It’s particularly embarrassing when they tell you how great they “typically” play whilst in the midst of a wretched round. “You say you shot 78 here last week? Wow, today’s 102 must be so uncharacteristic for you.” Save yourself the embarrassment – please don’t be that guy.
Look, we’re not saying you have to play exactly by the rules. By all means, bend them if you want – or even outright break them! Take that mulligan and give yourself a preferred lie – it doesn’t matter as long as everyone you’re playing with knows the particular rules of your group. But please don’t let someone catch you dropping a ball and pretending you found your drive. It’s embarrassing for the entire group. Remember: no one likes a cheater.
Playing from the wrong tees
Perhaps the first thing a new golfer should learn is which tee-box they belong on. Being behind a group that duffs all their drives off the championship tees is perhaps the single most annoying thing on this list. It’s especially worse if they’re all dressed like they’re on tour. Here’s the deal: If you can’t break 90, always play from the forward tees. For everyone else, use the slope rating and get your butts on the correct tee box.
Not yelling fore
Perhaps the second thing new golfers should learn is to yell, “Fore.” Not yelling it when necessary is not only poor golf etiquette, but it’s downright negligent. If you’ve ever been hit (or even come within a few feet of being hit) by an errant golf shot, you know how scary it can be. A simple forewarning (where the name “fore” comes from) is all that’s needed. If you think your ball is going anywhere near someone, please do not hesitate. Yell “fore,” at the top of your lungs.
Stealing/playing someone else’s ball
Few things are more annoying than watching someone take or play your golf ball from a couple hundred yards away. If you stumble across a ball in the middle of the fairway, it probably belongs to somebody else, so please don’t pick it up and put it in your bag. Likewise, please don’t hit it before checking that it’s really yours. Balls have numbers on them for a reason – make it a point to know which ball you’re playing so you can avoid any confusion out on the course.
Unnecessarily long pre-shot routines
Really? Four practice swings and an additional half-minute of waggle time is necessary before you even address the ball? This goes for on the greens as well. Do you really need to line-up your putt from every possible angle? Not only can these excessive pre-shot routines be annoying for your playing partners, but they also contribute to slow play. We’re not saying to have no routine (in fact, one practice swing and a few seconds of waggle have been proven to calm the nerves). Just don’t overdo it.
Taking phone calls in the middle of others’ play
Business nowadays is 24/7, we get it. You may even have to take a call or two, answer a text or email during your round; all of that is perfectly understandable. What’s not understandable, however, is general disregard for your playing partners. If you need to make or take a call, do so with common courtesy in mind and head off near the woods or well away from play. The worst thing you can do is go on and on about inventory SKUs while someone is getting ready to hit an approach shot or stroke a birdie putt.
Spending too much time searching for lost balls
Searching for lost balls is one of the main reasons golf has a slow-play problem. We like to use the “two-minute-warning” rule – you get two minutes to look for your ball and then it’s time to drop one and move on. Now, we realize the USGA rulebook allows for five minutes, but that entire book was written for tournament play. Recreational golf is a different story and needs separate rules. And don’t start on how expensive balls are – the price of your golf balls should be directly correlated to how often you lose them.
Giving swing advice
This is another biggie; that person who is constantly telling you what you’re doing wrong, even though they are playing just as wretchedly. People love to tell you what the problem is, but rarely is their advice welcomed (let alone correct). The general rule of thumb is unless you’re a certified PGA pro, you shouldn’t be offering anyone swing advice. Even if someone asks, you typically shouldn’t give it (only if they’re really desperate for help, and then always preface any advice with a warning that you, like them, also stink). No one likes a know-it-all, especially when that know-it-all is probably wrong.