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How to Lose Friends on the Golf Course

A round of golf is a tonne of fun. Eighteen holes on a sunny day is arguably the best way to while away four or five hours, but if you end up spending that time with an irritating playing partner, it can be a hard slog.

How do you make sure you're not 'that' guy? Well, if you can avoid these annoying habits, you'll be on the right track.

Talking too much

Friendly conversation is part and parcel of a day on the links, but try not to talk about yourself too much.

It's also poor form to ask your playing partners 101 questions about their own lives. It can be mentally exhausting to be interrogated during what was supposed to be a relaxing round of golf.

Also, as the round progresses, no one wants to hear you dissect every single golf swing and where it went wrong. Let the chat flow naturally and give others the space to enjoy their own round.

Oh, and before we forget, whatever you do, don't ever talk during another golfer's swing. The poorest of poor form.

Playing too slowly

To help maintain the pace of play, while others are playing their shot, you can be preparing for yours. Decide on the best club for the job and survey the scene ahead. Not only will this help keep things moving along, but you'll also feel more zoned in on your target when it's your turn to hit.

Employ your pre-shot routine but try to keep it short. Follow your own process, include no more than a couple of practice swings, and then you should be addressing the golf ball ready to hit.

If you're ill-prepared for your shot, or if you have a lengthy pre-shot routine that leaves your buddies impatiently waiting their turn, your circle of playing partners could quickly dwindle.

Losing your temper

Golf is a bamboozling game at times, but becoming Mr Angry on the golf course will only wreck your scorecard further and endear you to absolutely no one. Throwing clubs, cussing after every shot and god-awful temper tantrums are all a sure-fire way to alienate yourself from your playing partners.

Everyone is out there for a fun round away from the stresses of everyday life. During those four hours at the weekend, golf is all that matters. Don't kill your group's vibe by cursing every shot and moaning about how you 'never play this badly'.

Giving unsolicited swing tips

You might see one of your buddies struggling with their game and feel they could be better enjoying their round if they make one simple tweak.

Before you go ahead and give them the benefit of your experience, we have a straightforward suggestion... don't. If they want your help, they'll ask for it. Even then, keep things general. Unsolicited swing advice is usually unwelcome.

What's more, none of us are golf coaches. There's every chance that 'simple tip' you offer up won't stop your partner from stinking the place out. They could end up more frustrated.

Not shouting 'FORE'

Golfers take a verbal battering for this in the professional game, and rightly so. A golf ball can do serious damage if it hits a fellow golfer, and regardless of whether it does cause injury, if you haven't yelled 'fore', you can expect some sort of hostile reaction.

In reality, it's a drama that you can easily avoid. If your ball slices or hooks in the general direction of another group, yell FORE as loudly as possible. Even if you're unsure whether there's anyone on the other fairway, give a quick, loud yell.

It costs you nothing - and could save you from a few glares, colourful expletives, or worse when your paths inevitably cross.

Hitting up on other groups

If there's a group up ahead and they're reachable with your best strike, it's best to give them the time to play their shots and move on up the fairway or towards the next tee. Hitting your ball toward fellow golfers is both dangerous and disrespectful.

When you have a particularly slow group ahead, and the general pace of play isn't holding them up, they should let you play through. If they don't make way after a few holes and the pace of play is becoming unacceptably slow, have a respectful word on the next tee, and that should get you moving along.

Standing in the wrong place

On the tee, it can be off-putting when a playing partner is standing out of sight or in your peripheral vision. It's best to avoid standing behind any golfer who is teeing off or directly behind their ball.

If you stand well back and in line with their chest, they will see you and know you're well outside their swing path.

Keep an eye on where you're standing on the green in relation to any player who's getting ready to putt. On early mornings and late afternoons, when the sun is lowest in the sky, you cast long shadows that can stray into your playing partner's line.

Not helping partners look for their ball

When you've found your ball (hopefully bang centre of the fairway), it's good etiquette to help your wayward playing partner find theirs. These days a golfball hunt is limited to three minutes, but you can make yourself the hero of the hour by helping locate a ball buried in deep rough.

Not only is it good etiquette, but when your tee shot heads towards a jungle-like spot later in the round, you'll have a guy on your side who wants to reciprocate and recover your ball.

Stepping on someone's line

Pretty obvious this one. Even if you've only been playing for a while, you'll know that stepping on a playing partner's line on the green is one of the cardinal sins in golf.

You should avoid stepping anywhere on the likely line between each ball marker and the hole. Whether stepping on that line makes a visible indentation isn't really the point. It's still possible that your footprint will have altered the ball's path to the hole.

And besides that, it's just a matter of golf etiquette and basic respect.

If you're with a group of friends and none of you mind, that's great. But when you're playing competitive golf and step on someone's line - perhaps even more than once - you could be in for an earful.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at our recent list of golf equipment mistakes everyone can fix. You can read it here.


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