Golf is more than just a game. It’s also a great way to meet and get to know a wide variety of people. Some of the people you meet through golf will end up being great friends. Others will be people you generally try to avoid—people whose attitude towards the game poisons any chance they have of a positive relationship with other players. If you love the game of golf and would like to use it to get to know other people better, here are some things you should avoid doing when you hit the links:
1) Don’t be the guy who blames his bad shot on everything but his swing. This guy blames his score on everything—the wind, the sun in his eyes, the length of grass, his new putter, etc. He’ll do everything humanly possible to avoid taking responsible for his terrible swing. This is frustrating for two reasons. First, it frames golf as a game of luck which, as we all know, simply isn’t true. Second, it prevents that person from improving as a golfer. It’s impossible to fix the problem with your swing if you refuse to admit there’s a problem in the first place. Besides, I came to play golf—not the blame game.
2) Don’t be the guy who needs anger management classes. I have a hard time believing that a person actually enjoys golf when they curse or kick something every time they miss a shot. Playing golf is supposed to be a way to reduce stress. If you’re throwing a Happy Gilmore temper tantrum every time you miss a putt, it might be time to find a more relaxing hobby.
3) Don’t be the guy who excessively celebrates. There should be a federal law that bans dancing on the golf course. Don’t get me wrong—it’s okay to congratulate yourself or pat your partner on the back, but if you’re doing a full-on victory dance every time you sink a shot, you’re probably someone people avoid golfing with. The only exception to this rule is your first hole in one—that’s your only free pass.
4) Don’t be the guy who sulks when he has a bad game. If you had a bad game, do what every other responsible adult in your situation does: shake it off. Why bother getting upset? The great thing about golf is that there’s always another game. One bad day on the course doesn’t mean you get to ruin everybody else’s day with your negative attitude. Fake a smile, grab a beer and set aside some time later in the week to work on your swing.
5) Don’t be the guy who can’t put down his cellphone. I don’t know about you, but golfing is something I do to take my mind off of things. This means that I keep my phone on silent, and don’t return calls until I’m finished with my game. There’s nothing more annoying than someone who talks into his Bluetooth while he takes practice swings or updates his Facebook status after every shot. Put away your cellphone and try and enjoy the game! As Bobby Jones once said, “You swing best when you have fewer things to think about.”
If you’re someone who finds yourself doing one or more of these things on a regular basis, consider this a warning—you’re probably not very fun to go golfing with. It won’t be long before your pairs partner is ducking your calls and feeding you silly excuses. In the words of Hale Irwin, golf “brings out your assets and liabilities as a person. The longer you play, the more certain you are that a man’s performance is the outward manifestation of who, in his heart, he really thinks he is.”
David Bryce is a travel and sports blogger who frequently writes about golf, vacationing at the Branson Cabins and people who are jerks. He concedes that he’s been a few of these obnoxious golfers on one occasion or another, but still swears he got a hole-in-one 14 years ago…