Golf Etiquette in 4 hours
No, it will not take you 4 hours to read this article nor will it take you more than 5 or 10 minutes to understand all points discussed below. Hopefully, sometime in your past, you have heard some of these helpful pointers and just need a little reminder. This article is for all golfers but beginners and high handicappers will benefit most from this information.
I love golf. I love playing golf. I love talking about golf. I love watching golf. I love golf. If you’re like me, and love golf like I do, you know how frustrating a game this is. We hate golf sometimes, don’t we?. We love it and hate it at the same time! How is that possible? Only golfers know the answer. Frustration is caused by miss hitting a ball, lawnmowers, hole location (“Why is the hole cut on a slope!), wind conditions, etc etc. We are not going to discuss any of that stuff. Go to Golf Magazine for helpful hints with those issues. In this article, we are going to discuss what we can all do to make playing golf even better and love this game even more. Let’s eliminate some of the frustration for everyone playing our game. Shall we?
Pace of Play
First, let’s talk about pace of play. Most golf courses want you to play a round in about 4 hours. That’s almost never enforced but a good round number to keep in mind. This converts to about 15 minutes per hole.
After you make your putt (Another snowman! Damn it to hell !!), proceed to the next hole. Before you tee up your next shot, record your score on that last hole (8). You have time because your playing partner got a 7 and has honors so you have to wait anyway. The golfers behind you will be able to hit to the green without waiting for you to take out your little pencil and write down your score. You may even feel good about being courteous to your fellow golfers. I am sure you can remember you hit 8 strokes because you are pretty hot under the collar for 3 putting. Take a deep breath, remember you are having fun and you would rather be on the golf course than any other place on God’s green Earth. Get to the next hole and record your score there!
Most likely, you are not playing in the Masters or the US Open. If you are playing one of these events, than skip this point. OK. Here it is. Play quickly. This is to say, play “ready golf”. If you are ready (prepared) to hit your shot and your playing partner is not even close to his/her ball, go ahead and hit your ball. There is no need to wait. There isn’t a $2 million dollar prize at stake. The first golfer to get to their ball should hit first. This tip can be discussed with your foursome before you start playing your round or anytime during your round. “Hey brother, let’s play Ready Golf, okay? Go ahead and hit if you’re ready.” No one likes to wait to hit anyway.
For the love of God, ditch the head covers on your irons. It takes way too long to remove and reinstall head covers on every shot. I know you paid $499 for those Callaway X2 Hot Irons but a little scratch in your 6 iron will not negatively impact your handicap. If you insist on having iron head covers, take them all off during your round and put them back on in the parking lot after the round.
Dude, Where’s my ball?
There will be times when you don’t know where your ball has landed. This may be due to the fact you missed the fairway and the rough is deep. Of course, by all means, look for your ball. Take up to 2 minutes looking and then if you cannot find it, just drop a ball somewhere near where you think the ball landed. I know balls can be expensive but you are probably playing OP’s anyway (Other People’s balls). Those OPs cost you nothing. Drop another OP and hit.
Speaking of OPs, I know it’s awesome when you find a Titleist Pro V1 on the course that was surely lost by another golfer. You put that “found” ball in your pocket to play another day. That is a $4 ball ! Woohoo! Score!! However, that ball did not cost you $4. That ball is FREE and not worth upsetting the golfers behind you while you spend 10 minutes looking for that FREE ball. Remember, you are only supposed to spend 15 minutes per hole! Even if you paid for your balls, like I do (mostly), take 2 minutes looking and if you cannot find your ball, consider it a gift to the Golf Gods and play another ball.
Remember you are playing golf and not scavenging. So please do not spend more than a minute or two scouring the wooded area for OPs. You don’t like to wait to hit and neither do your fellow golfers behind you.
One last tip that I will now always remember. Yell “FORE !” when your ball is going to come close to hitting someone or if you hit your ball into a blind area that might contain a fellow golfer. You could be saving a life. Show courtesy to your fellow golfers and the game will be less frustrating, I promise.