Isn’t golf great! You get to spend four hours with your buddies, in the great outdoors, just having fun. And some of us are lucky enough to play in groups with lots of players, which gives us a chance to play with a variety of players and personalities. But sometimes we run into a few that, shall we say, could use a little course correction. You know the ones; they are never ready when it is their turn to hit; or they only post certain scores; and then there are the sweepers. They just nonchalantly sweep that easy putt toward the hole not caring if it goes in or not because everyone can easily see that putt was good.
We would all agree there is no excuse for bad golf behavior. So what’s a buddy to do when confronted with these situations? Well, the natural thing to do is complain. But this usually takes the form of complaining to everyone else except the alleged culprit. If you have a golf captain, then they get the brunt of all the complaints. Of course you can always discretely tell the captain to not pair you with that person, and just make it everybody else’s problem.
What about setting up committees? You could establish a handicap committee to collect all the cards and make sure all the correct scores are posted, and there are many groups that do just that. As for the other types of infractions, you could setup a group-rules-committee that emails everyone to let them know the do’s and don’ts within your group. But invariably, and over time, things just go back to the way they were because most golfers just don’t want to get involved.
At the end of the day we are all out to have fun and the last thing any of us wants to deal with on the golf course is confrontation. Or at least there is the possibility of confrontation if someone takes offense. However, in my experience, when you tell someone that the things they are doing are not good for the group, nine times out of ten they will comply. Some may not even be aware that what they are doing is perceived by others as a problem.
Yeah, there is always someone who will take offense but sometimes it is worth it to take the risk. Just like golf etiquette is an accepted part of the game so should protecting the field, by gently keeping each other honest, be a part of the game – it is everyone’s responsibility. This is not to say that you go over board and turn it into a golf police state. You instinctively know the things that need to be addressed, and if everyone participates then they know that they too may be called out by the group if they cross the line.