Play smart

2004-07-28 11:28
If you've played very much golf at all, then you're probably familiar with basic etiquette: you know, common-sense stuff like not walking in someone's putting line. However, did you know that unless your wedding ring slips off and falls into a creek, there's no good reason to use - or own - a ball retriever? And we mean ever.

Besides, everyone knows the most annoying player is in the group in front of you. If you don't want to become that guy at your course, follow our unofficial guide to golf etiquette.

Rule 1: Golf lessons. Unless your driver's license reads "David Leadbetter," never give an impromptu golf lesson during a round. First of all, you're not that good. Second, you're not that good.

Rule 2: Stay back. When a group is on the tee, don't pull up to that tee box in your cart and wait for everyone to hit. Clear the green you were just on, but hang back a little. This isn't Space Mountain. You're not going to lose your place in line.

Rule 3: Be ready to hit. Hey, you, lollygagging in the middle of the fairway! Unless the order of play is crucial to the outcome of the hole, play "ready" golf. Take two clubs, go to your ball and swing away.

Rule 4: Tend the flag. Some players get through an entire round without doing this. For shame.

Rule 5: Keep an extra ball in your pocket. Hate to break it to you, but at some point, you're going to lose that ball you're playing, and we don't want to wait while you go back to your bag to get another one.

Rule 6: Extra swings/putts. "Wait, let me hit another." Uh, how about, "No."

Rule 7: No plumb-bobbing. Can someone please tell us the purpose of plumb-bobbing? You're getting ready to putt, not surveying an I-beam. And while you're at it, read the green before it's your turn to putt.

Rule 8: Speaking of putting, putt out. If your putt stops within three feet of the cup, finish up. This is not the BC Open. There's no need to mark and re-read every putt.

Rule 9: Be sensitive. If a player in your group has a bad hole, wait until his next good shot to ask for his score.

Rule 10: One practice swing only. How many times have you seen a hacker take four practice swings and then stripe the ball down the middle? Anyone? Anyone?

Rule 11: Stop searching. The US Golf Association says you have five minutes to find a lost ball. We say you've got two, and if the ball is deep in the woods, move on.

Rule 12: Get to the punchline. If your joke about the rabbi, priest and St Peter holds up play, even for a second, save it for the clubhouse after the round.

Rule 13: Let the single through. We know, someone once told you that a person playing alone should not be allowed to play through. That's ridiculous. We've all been that guy. Let him through.

Rule 14: Leave our clubs alone. Unless you see a tarantula climb onto our 3-wood, keep your paws off our bag.

Rule 15: You're not Mario Andretti. Ever try to take a sip of something and the cart driver lurches forward? Those used to be nice pants. It's a cart, not an Aston Martin.

Rule 16: Stop talking. Some golfers feel the need to comment on every shot - theirs and ours. We don't care why you just shanked your shot over that house on the right. And we appreciate your concern, but it's not necessary to point out where the "trouble is" just as we are getting ready to hit. Do us a favour: Unless we hole out from the fairway, zip it.

Rule 17: Pay up. You lost. We don't care why. We just want our 10 bucks. - Golf Digest

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