Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WTF is Golf Etiquette?

 Simply put, golf etiquette has to do with manners or knowing how to act. It is through good manners we confirm to other golfers that we convey our respect for them and display how important we think they are. Golf requires a lot of focus. If you are ready to putt or place a tee shot over a water hazard, it will be way more difficult if someone is talking, laughing, rattling coins, and tees in their pocket, or placing their shadow in your line of sight.

Greg D'Andrea, of From the Rough blog left this comment on a previous post of mine:

"You know, for new players, I think the idea of teaching etiquette before teaching all the rules is a good start. Explain to them about "ready golf" before you teach them they have to walk back to re-tee if they hit one OB. If they end up liking golf, they will learn the other rules on their own, but first and foremost should be etiquette. Of course, the teachers may be slow pokes themselves, in which case you're screwed"   Well said, don't your think?
 I guess it could boil down to 2 areas: Golfers who honestly do not know the expected behaviors and golfers who know the etiquette principals and still commit these egregious faux pas just to get under your skin or make us miss a shot. There is no room for these folks in my foursome. What are some of the etiquette violations that bother you the most? Leave your answers in the comment section below.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Your Cheatin' Heart Will Make You Weep

No, this is not about Tiger or those who stray from the nest. It is about  golfers who do not play by the rules. The ones who cheat. The ones who see no fault in improving their lie or score. This sort of thing irritates the hell out me.

My bite is worse than my bark. That is, when I encounter someone cheating the game of golf while playing with me. Now, do not get me wrong, there is a place for a mulligan in a friendly, no wager, no score golf outing. Just not when playing in club tournaments or even a $5 Nassau. Actually, it should never be permitted or tolerated. In a tournament or a round with a wager, I do call out someone who improves their position or score by being less than honest. Tough to do, but for the golfer who plays the game the honorable way, it is a must. If not, we enable the cheater to disregard us and the game.

Usually a friendly, cordial, and non threatening reminder will re-focus someone to their correct score. No problem with these types. It's the repeat offenders that get me going. The ones who must win at all costs. No room for them with me, and excluded from any type of wagering with me.  A lot of golf friendships have been ruined or terminated when the go-by-the-rules player calls out another golfer for certain misdeeds and rules infractions.

Two of my favorite all time golfers are my son, Tucker (left), and my son-in-law, Billy. Both whom have broken 100 just once. They count every stroke, relish every par, respect the game, and it's legacy. No one was more excited than me, when they shared their record breaking scores. I just knew in my heart these benchmark scores were valid and helped make golf the special game it is. Milestone scores can only be celebrated by those who play the right way.

So, I ask, which is more meaningful: Someone who shoots 79 including a couple of foot wedges, or the golfer who breaks 100 for the first time and counts all the strokes, including whiffs? Give me the whiffer who counts them all.

Please comment on how you handle the cheatin' wannabe golfers you face from time to time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Golfer's Number One MELTDOWN

Let me spit it out right now. S-L-O-W play is the number one reason golfers go ballistic and meltdown on the course. At least, according to a discussion group I initiated and moderated on LinkedIn last fall. Hundreds of golfers worldwide opined on the reasons and remedies.

Here are the top four reasons this nasty behavior manifests on some of the most beautiful places on the planet:

1) Slow play       2) Cheating         3) Lack of etiquette          4) Getting hit into

Slow play accounted for 51% of all votes. The other three pulled about equal respones, each accounting for another 15-18% of the responses. Clearly, slow play was the biggest winner, or should I say biggest looser. I will comment further on the last 3 in future posts. But for now, here are some of the offered remedies from the study:
 Understand how to play ready golf. Each player needs to be responsible for getting to their ball and ready to execute their shot, even if it's not their turn. If you are ready to hit your ball, go ahead. As long as no one is in front of you, grip it and rip it.

Pick up you ball when your score on any hole is becoming embarrassing. It is good for clearing your mind and provides you with a fresh start.

In match play, when you are hopelessly out of the hole, take the high road and concede the hole.

Give up the "Pro Golfer" approach to reading putts by looking at it from five angles.

Add your score on the NEXT TEE, not the green just finished.

Upon reaching the green, position your cart or golf bag in the walk off area toward the next tee. Never go backwards to get your cart or bag.

Here is one I contributed: When playing with your little and inexperienced youngsters, have them tee off from 50 -100 yards off the green, instead of the tee. This way you do not hold up players behind you waiting for your youngster to chase their ball down the fairway. The kids like this too and they do not have to compete with your tee shot.

A sage course marshal told me the first 6 holes of every course set the tone for pace of play for the remaining 12 holes. If the course is clogged on these holes, it is going to be a very long day. Be ready to play at a good pace on your first 6 holes to keep it all moving.

 I am sure you also have some valuable advice on how to ameliorate slow play. Please offer your remedies for slow play by adding your comments to this post.

Thanks for playing your round in no more than 4:10.