“Achievements on the golf course are not what matters. Decency and honesty are what matter.”
– Tiger Woods
When you don’t come with a foursome, who you get paired up to golf with can greatly affect how enjoyable your round is. Golf is a social sport, and courses will pair you with others depending on availability. Some golfers, especially beginners, don’t like getting paired with random people for a number of reasons. Don’t be embarrassed or nervous, just be mindful to the others in the group and you will have an enjoyable round. The other parties are coming to the course knowing they might get paired with others also, so you will all be in the same boat. They don’t care about your level of talent, and as long as you are not negatively affecting their round, you will be a good partner. Regardless of handicap or level of seriousness about golfing, here are a couple of things to do during your round that will go a long way with the other golfers.
1. Don’t Slow the Group Up
Try to always keep up with the group ahead of you. Golf is already a long activity, and we want to try to avoid the 5-hour round if possible. Don’t rush, but try to keep up with the group. If you’re at double par, pick your ball up. If you feel yourself slowing everyone up, feel free to get your ball and drop one up with your playing partner.
2. Limit Your Mulligans
When you are first beginning or in the first couple years of golfing, you are going to lose balls – and probably a lot of them. Keeping the tee shot in play is always the hardest out of all the shots as you are generally using a driver. In terms of practice, you are always going to want to hit additional shots to practice on the course. It is fine to hit another tee shot throughout the round, but avoid taking 2-3 tee shots on each hole. This can not only affect the partners that you play with, but also the group behind you if they are continuously waiting.
3. Don’t Be the Golfer With the “Big Foot”
When on the green, be mindful where the other balls are. Try not to walk in between any of the golf balls and the hole. While you may not think it is a big deal, this is one of the biggest things that can annoy the other golfers. Some golfers won’t care, but it is easy enough to prevent. Just get in a habit of avoiding walking in other golfers’ lines.
4. Be Respectful When Other Players Are Taking Their Shots
Golf is a very social sport, and you are bound to have great conversation throughout the round. However, when players are about to hit, don’t talk or do anything that would distract them. Golfers have a lot of bad shots, and talking in a backswing will be the golfer’s first excuse. Try to avoid giving them a reason to blame you for their mistakes, and try not to be the tee box chatterbox.
5. Have Basic Golf Course Etiquette
Rake bunkers, replace divots, and follow cart and course rules. Maintaining the golf course is important to keep the conditions good throughout the day. Do your part to help the course keep its great condition for the rest of the golfers to enjoy.
6. Don’t Kill Anyone With Your Shanks
Everyone hits bad shots here and there. Just make sure the other golfers in your group, especially if they are in front of you, are aware you are about to go. If it does go in someone’s direction, make sure to yell FORE!
7. Don’t Play Music Without Asking the Others
Many golfers enjoy playing with music in the background, but not everyone. Before you put any tunes on, be sure to ask if any of the others in your group would mind.
8. Mark Your Ball On the Greens & Watch Your Shadows
Make sure to carry a ball marker in your bag so you can be prepared to mark your ball when it’s on the green. If you forgot your ball marker, a coin such as a dime or nickel will work just fine. Additionally, be sure to keep your shadow out the other golfers’ views while they are putting.
9. Know When It’s Your Responsibility to Remove Or Replace the Flag
The golfer with the closest ball on the green is the one who should take out the flagstick. The first golfer to finish the hole should replace the flagstick when all other golfers have finished putting.
10. After the Round, Shake Hands With All Golfers
Golf is gentleman’s game, so be sure to show your appreciation for playing with the others in your group when the round is complete. A proper handshake goes a long way. (**Please Note: This tip is not currently recommended as we all need to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. Please remain at least six-feet away from all golfers while playing.)