Golf is a mental game; one requiring a measure of concentration and detachment at the same time. If you play golf, you know how little distractions can really throw your game off and ruin a round.
As a golfer, therefore, it is handy to know what drives other golfers crazy, whether they’re part of your foursome, or patiently waiting behind you as you play. Here are the things that people do on the golf course that really irritate other golfers.
Elaborate Set-up and Pre-shot Routines
This is one that will not only cause golfers behind you to fume, but can result in your not being invited to play with your golf mates in the future. Every golfer has seen this; the guy or gal who has read in a golf instruction book that you should have an unvarying set-up routine to help you prepare for a shot. While this is true, it should not be elaborate or too time-consuming. Here’s an example of a set-up routine that is over the top. This golfer stands as stiff as a heron, staring down at the ball. He then raises his club in a prayer position and bows, holding the pose for several seconds. After he moves in for his address, he lifts up on his toes and slowly lowers the club. Now, just in case you think this is too much, he than proceeds to stand there, perfectly stiff, until his calf muscles quiver before finally begins his backswing. If this guy was a good golfer, it would be bad enough, but most of the time, he slices horribly.
Taking Too Long to Read Your Putt
Getting a read of the green is essential to success in putting. But, before you go through a complicated process of doing what you see the pros do, you better know what you’re doing. Squatting and staring at the green for more than a minute; walking all around your line, and holding up your club like a plumb bob can sometimes be forgiven if you make the putt. It will earn you curses if you miss by six feet, or putt it past the hole.
Not Being Ready to Hit Your Ball
Okay, so golf is partly social, and it’s nice to be able to chat with your playing partner as you walk down the green to your ball. This is not a good idea, though, if he’s on the right side of the fairway, and your ball is somewhere in the trees to the left.
Giving Golfing Lessons
Everyone who plays golf thinks he’s better than the guy who just hit a banana hook into the trees. Don’t, for goodness sake, tell him what he did wrong. Trying to get the ball to do what you want it to do is already hard enough. No one needs the added complication of instructions from some guy who has only been playing two weeks longer than he has. I once had a lady walk up to me on a tee box just as I was about to tee off and inform me that my foot position was all wrong. I didn’t hit her, but I did mishit my drive – Ar-r-rgh! Real pros and experienced golfers never critique during play. If they see something you did wrong, they save it for the clubhouse.
If you’re a doctor or emergency worker, or if your company insists that you be in constant contact, you might have no choice but to take your mobile phone with you to the course. Mercifully, many courses ban hand phones. If you have to do it, though, keep the dratted instrument in your bag, or discretely in your pocket. Set the ringer to buzz or at a low volume. Don’t make calls, and if you get a call, go off into the trees and answer it. Don’t answer the phone while your partner is setting up a putt or getting ready for a tee shot. Don’t talk at all when someone is addressing the ball. This is a gross violation of golf etiquette.
If you happen to encounter any of the above behavior in your foursome, here’s a good way to get even and make the offender pay for his transgressions. Wait until he takes a club out for a shot and innocently ask, “Do you breathe in or out on your back-swing?” I got this one from a PGA teaching pro friend, and have only had to use it twice, but boy, is it effective. The best thing to remember is that golf is supposed to be a game of courteous men and women. Be considerate of other golfers, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll return the favor.