15 Annoying Things Amateur Golfers Do
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. As the year comes to an end and with a New Year around the corner in which everyone tries to better themselves, make sure you are not one of the people who exhibit any of these 15 behaviors.
Brag 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.
Play 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.
Don’t Yell 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.
Play The Wrong 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.
Spends Too Much Time Looking For 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.
Unnecessarily Long Pre-Shot Routine
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.
Take Phone Calls On The Course
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.
Make 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.
Give Unsolicited 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.
Hit On The Cart Girl
The drink cart girl cruises the course offering refreshments, her short skirt and friendly smile aimed to improve the golfers’ games. But for many hackers, her presence is an invitation for lame banter and leering looks rather than liquid libations. As she serves cold beers to sweaty out-of-shape men barely able to drag their bellies around the links, she endures cringey compliments about her tan lines, not-so-subtle innuendos, and drunken attempts to get her number. Her only consolation is that at least the pros respect her as the hardest working person on the course.
Don’t Fix Their Pitch Marks
As the weekend hack swings and misses, his inch-deep divot stands out like a sore thumb on the pristine putting surface. But does he bother to bend down and repair the green? Of course not. Oblivious to proper course etiquette, he just trudges on, leaving cratered turf and blemished lawn for the rest of the players. Before long, the green resembles a war zone, dotted with unfilled pits that can wreck even the most precise approach. But do the dilettantes care that they’ve ruined the hole? Don’t bet your birdie on it.
Don’t Let Faster Golfers Play Through
As soon as the last putt drops on the 17th, Chuck and his cronies rush up from the tee box, clubs in hand, shoes clomping, dying to play through. But do they wait near the fringe for the group ahead to clear before teeing off? Of course not. These oblivious amateurs post up 100 yards back, not allowing the quicker group even a moment to exit stage left before aggressively hitting their impatient practice swings. With an empty fairway ahead, the hackers have no excuse for their bad etiquette—but we know they don’t take golf lessons for their games or their manners.
Miraculously Find A Clearly Lost Golf Ball
After slicing his drive deep into the woods, Scott trudges towards the treeline, peering into the brush in search of his Titleist. Miraculously, he spots a pristine white ball nestled right on top of the leaves. “That’s weird,” he thinks, but hey, free ball! Scott happily plays on with his newly discovered treasure, oblivious to the fact he just snatched another golfer’s cigar from the ashtray of life. For duffers like Scott, every topped shot and water hazard brings an opportunity to scavenge the course like an Easter egg hunt, no matter how dubious the find. Ignorance is golf’s greatest mulligan.
Breaking Or Throwing Clubs
After the hacker’s tee shot veers wildly into the trees, an angry echo rings out across the course – the snap of a club shaft over a knee. Face reddening like a tomato, he hurls the remnants into the grass, cursing the golf gods for his mishit. But it’s not the clubs that need to get a grip – it’s the hot-headed player who lacks emotional control. Club tossing might feel justified in the moment, but it reflects poorly on the novice who can’t rein in their frustration. Perhaps better lessons rather than new equipment could cure this golfer’s angry outbursts. It would certainly save him money in the long run.