By Stefan Gestwicki
Star Contributing Writer
While the season for actually getting outside and hitting golf balls might be over here in Western New York, there’s always time to talk about the sport we love.
If you’ve played golf even once, you’ve almost certainly encountered someone and thought, “Are they supposed to be doing that?” Or perhaps something like, “I sure wish they would stop that.”
If you haven’t ever thought that while out on the golf course, well…I have news for you: you probably are that guy that people are talking about.
So I’m here to help you to not be “that” guy on the golf course. Here are some behaviors to avoid in the future.
- The Chronically Late Guy — Oh man, we’re starting out with one that really irritates me. If you’re playing at a course that requires tee times, being late is nothing short of a mortal sin. If you’re just playing at a public course, however, this can still be infuriating. Your group doesn’t want to sit in the parking lot and wait for you while watching that foursome of walkers meander its way to the first tee box ahead of your group. And if something unavoidable makes you late, whatever you do, be ready to go once you finally get there. Don’t take forever to change your shoes and poke around the pro shop, etc.
- The Unprepared Guy — Here’s a helpful hint: If you’re going to play golf, you probably need tees and golf balls. A bag of 200 tees is less than five bucks. You can get a dozen refurbished balls for about $10. Yes, your group almost certainly has plenty to share, but come on.
- The Pro VI Guy — Listen, I’m sure Phil Mickelson or Jordan Spieth can tell the difference between the top tier golf balls and just some random Top Flight you find at the bottom of your bag, but I’m willing to bet that it makes no difference in your game. I’m hesitant to tell you to stop because it’s fun for us guys playing behind you to find a nice new Callaway Chromesoft or Titleist Pro VI ball that you lost in the rough, but if you’re shooting a 110, the type of ball you’re using is the least of your worries.
- The Foot Wedge Guy — We’ve all been guilty of improving our lie a little bit with the old foot wedge. I’ve done it when I physically can’t reach my ball from under a tree, etc. Dire times call for it sometimes. This is more aimed at the players that will give their ball a boot from the rough onto the fairway. Or the guy who kicks his ball 10 feet to the right so he doesn’t have to punch around a tree. I’m far from Mr. Play It As It Lies, but at some point you have to have some respect for the game.
- The Never Shuts Up Guy — I get it. You haven’t been together with your buddies in a few months and you want to catch up on the golf course. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when you choose the middle of someone’s backswing to ask about their daughter’s spelling bee. Com’on, man. Just let me hit my drive. Truth be told, I’m personally not all that distracted by people talking during my swing, but some people liken that to slapping their mother.
- The Can’t Keep Score Guy — “This putt is for birdie.” Oh, so we’re just going to forget about those two flubs you had coming down the fairway? Again, I don’t take golf too seriously. I want to get better and play well any time I go out there, but I’ve never once directly competed with anyone. If you want to take a par when you probably got a double-bogey, that’s up to you. If you’re playing with my group, however, you’ll probably get hit with a “that’s a bold move.”
There are so many types of people NOT to be while playing golf. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface with these six. I’ll be back next week with another slate of stereotypes to avoid.
Until then, golf is great. Go get some.