Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The First Annual DTCC Guide To Conducting Yourself on a Golf Course


It kills me. Absolutely tears my little soul apart. You get to the first tee, you're excited to play 18 holes and get away from work, the Blackberry and the real world for a few hours. You drive your little E-Z-Go up to the first hole and get paired with a dickhead. Or a jerk. Or one of those guys with a golf gizmo already attached to their arm, a la Rene Russo.

The first thought hits you -- "Man, I'd rather be in the office than paired with this loony." Well, it has happened to me enough times. I'm throwing down the Gauntlet. This is my first annual "Dogs That Chase Cars Guide to Conducting Yourself On a Golf Course." It has nothing to do with your game. It has everything to do with the other people in your group. I will admit before diving in that I have broken some of my own rules, so I'm not above the law, but as I grow older I try and avoid any, if not all, of these things and I hope you do as well. So, here goes, in no particular order ...

1. Don't Play From the Wrong Tees -- I'm not a bad golfer. I enjoy my driver and have had a decent relationship with it over the years and find myself, at times, creeping past the 300-yard mark. Because of these things I was lucky enough to be gifted with, I always play the tips. It's what I do. I play the tips because they suit my game the best. (For instance: Shorter tees might take driver out of my hand and I don't want that ... I like the option. If it didn't matter, I might play up. Who knows.)

That being said, understand this -- just because someone is playing back, does not mean you have to. It doesn't. Play the tees you were planning on playing when you arrived at the golf course. Play the tees that will make it the most enjoyable for number one (Read: You). Play the tees that will make it the most enjoyable for EVERYONE AROUND YOU. Hitting a 200-yard banana off every tee isn't going to be fun for ANYONE if the tees you're playing from are north of about 6,500 yards.

It's your day. Pick your tees. I promise you the people playing the backs don't mind. We actually endorse it.

2. It Isn't a Tournament -- I get frustrated, you get frustrated, we all get frustrated. It's golf. The damn game is near impossible. On any given day you could go out and fire a number that would make your handicap look like a pipe dream. It happens.

That being said, just enjoy the day. You aren't at the office. Your kid isn't crying or throwing up on your new tie. Your wife isn't bitching at you (currently). It's a break from life. It is very, very rare that people get paired up with the same abilities, so if you aren't as good as someone, don't worry about it. Play your game, have some fun, and try to remember that it ain't the Masters.

3. NO GOLF CLICHES -- I'm left-handed. I have no idea why. I wish I wasn't. No, it isn't because it's tougher to find equipment, it's because it would save me the god-awful expression, "Hey, you're hitting from the wrong side of the ball" "jokes" I get EVERY TIME I TEE IT UP! How is that even funny? No, I'm hitting from the RIGHT side of the ball, ZING!

Jeez. These are the types of things that make me wish I could play alone. Avoid anything that you've heard before. No "never up never in." Don't ever say, "I'd rather be lucky than good." Please avoid both, "nice putt, Alice" or "Wow, does your husband play." They aren't funny. At all. They're the opposite of funny. Complete opposite.

If you insist on saying something that you find funny, at least be original. Trust me, if you have a golf cliche you think is clever, we've all heard it ... a lot. Just talk like a normal person and things will go a lot smoother.

4. Be a Good-Bad Golfer, not a Bad-Bad Golfer -- You know what one of my favorite things is when I go play randomly? When I get paired with someone who sucks but gets it.

It's fun, because you can help them out and possibly give them some tips and maybe it will make a difference.

What is the difference between a good-bad golfer and a bad-bad golfer? A good-bad golfer gets that their not great but enjoys the game and wants to improve. They also have some respect for others around them, and understand when it's time to pick up on the hole and just be a passenger. It's a courtesy that allows others to finish the hole without being interrupted, and it's a nice gesture.

A bad-bad golfer is the guy that takes it too seriously even though they're horrible. They play out every shot, no matter if it's their eighth of 11th. They search for lost balls way to long, and trust me, they have a lot of lost balls. They bitch about their game even though they don't really have much of one. Basically, they make the round miserable for everyone in the group.

The way to change is just to be aware of your surroundings. If you've hit two out-of-bounds, another in the water and everyone is still waiting on you to play up, maybe it's time to sit this one out. You can get 'em next hole. That, or you can just drop up by the green, chip up and work on the short game. If you have a shot you can't pull off, don't try it. It ain't happening. One of my best friends in the world insists he can hit a 3-wood longer than he actually can, and always tries is no matter the carnage ahead.

5. Don't Hit on the Cart Girl ... Just Don't -- They've heard it all. They've heard it ALL! I promise you they have. No matter how attractive you are or how much money you've got or what your handicap is or if your visor is hot magenta, it isn't working.

Cart Girls are basically like clothed strippers -- they're going to tell you what you want to hear, they're going to be cute and flirty, but they don't give a shit about you, and most likely, probably hate you. They are driving around, hoping the next group buys hard alcohol so either, A.) You get drunker and spend more or B.) Tip more because the bill is higher.

That's IT! Being a cart girl isn't their dream job, they just make decent to good money and it's something to do. Be nice, chat with them if you'd like, but hitting on them isn't going to work and you will absolutely be talked about in the cart barn when they go to refill their beer supply. 100 percent.

6. Rake The Bunkers -- I can't believe I have to say this, but it's become such a problem at courses I feel it's worth bringing up again. Rake the damn bunkers. Just do it. It takes 20 seconds. Seriously.

7. Be Attentive -- Here are some things you need to make sure you're doing on the course ...

-- Keeping your cart out of the line of the people you're playing with
-- Not parking too close to someone's ball
-- Not pulling the pin when someone is too far away to see the hole
-- Making a note of where everyone is on the green so you don't step in their line
-- When tending the flag, don't have your shadow cover the hole
-- Speaking of shadows, make sure yours isn't in your playing partners line
-- If you are first to putt out, grab the flag
-- If you're playing with someone older than you, and you already putted out, grab their other clubs for them

8. Girlfriends -- There is no problem with bringing your significant other out to play 18 holes with you. It's actually a pretty cute activity if the girl doesn't mind it. That being said, give her the basic rules. Don't talk when someone is hitting. Don't drive the cart when someone is hitting. Avoid areas restricting golf carts. Turn your ringer on silent. No lovey-dovey shit all day long (sigh). Explain to her that men will be peeing in front of her, most likely. Also, if play is slow, there is absolutely no problem with letting the girl hit a shot, but don't do it on every hole. Actually, twice is the limit. Unless she brought her clubs, obviously.

9. Keep Personal Golf Stories to a Minimum -- Golfers love to tell their stories, and that is part of the game, but a few throughout the round should suffice. Most people aren't going to care about how your friend made a birdie off the cart girl's tire or how you once almost had an eagle from 140-yards. Again, some are fine, but don't tell everyone you got. People are going to start parking their golf carts further and further away.

10. Tip the Cart Guys -- Five bucks a cart (per two people).

If you have anything I missed, please add it in the comments.

18 comments:

Mr Business Golf said...

Tip: 11..Just because you saw Sergio do it, don't try it. Play your game and not try a shot that Tiger would shack off. Forget about the fifteen regrippings Sergio does on TV..it does not make your shot any better and there is no telling why Sergio does that..just HIT THE BALL DUDE. Ya got people waiting behind ya.

John said...

WTF is a cart girl? Is that a southwest thing?

Shane B. said...

I'm hoping you can figure it out. Beverage cart = cart girl. TomAto, tomato.

Hernandez Jones said...

Tip 12: If you're going to 'yell fore'... YELL "FORE!". If the rest of the players in your group didn't hear you, the guy about to get beaned 190 yards up and three fairways over sure didn't. If someone is in danger, YELL. Let them know!

Matt said...

Tip 13: If you're an ace (or especially if you're not), don't give unsolicited advice. I'm a hack. What Shane might call "Good-bad." I know it. I don't need you to tell me how to hit a chip & run or how to line up a putt on every green.

Part of being a "good-bad golfer" is never being able to hit a green in reg. That means our greenside-game is typically in pretty decent shape.

SHOW said...

I'll take pride in being a good-bad golfer. In fact, I'm a great-horrifyingly awful golfer. If I played everything out and made everyone wait on me, I'd be shooting 120 every time out.

I definitely pretty much follow these rules to a T, but I have to take exception with the cart-girl flirting. Just b/c you flirt with a hot chick doesn't mean you are trying to pick her up. Sometimes it's fun to just flirt with a hot girl. Nothing wrong with that. I would be in a foursome that flirts with the cart-girl big-time. None of us is planning to ask her out, nor do we think she's doing more than working on a tip. That being said, she's gonna keep visiting our cart with beers for us because she knows we're tipping and she thinks she's working us. We're really working her just as much, so we can get as many drinks as we want throughout the round. (which combines with my baseball swing to ensure my continuing to be an awful golfer)

SHOW said...

Oh, and I'll agree with Matt. I'm not out there to get better. I'm out there to play a round and have fun. I don't want advice.

Trent N. Roberts said...

If you slowing down everybody behind you. Pick up your damn ball and carry it to the green. Just because you r new does not give you an excuse to slow everybody down

Shane B. said...

From Facebook, my buddy Cameron suggested this -- ""Shane, great rules. One to add. Don't be a f**king "Show Pony" and we all know who am talking about. The guy with $200 Oakley's on his hat/visor and it is raining out. Or telling you about how he only plays Pro V's because of spin rate (he heard the term on Golf Channel) and proceeds to fire a 108 for the day! I could go on and on but you get the idea!"

Patricia Hannigan said...

Excellent set of rules, should be printed and posted for sure.

One more: If you get paired with a good-bad golfer don't try to stop her from picking up her ball. Like: "you don't need to pick up your ball honey, just play it. If those people behind us have a problem they can talk to me."

I mean, I appreciate the chivalry and all, but I hate getting caught in the middle of testosterone-fuled slow-play skirmish.

BTW Matt & SHOW sound like they'd be fun to play with.

Charles Boyer said...

A few more from someone that lives in a golf community and sees it ALL:

* Don't throw your clubs, hurl F-Bombs and act like a spoiled little girl who had her pony just because you are having a bad day. We. Don't. Effin. Care.

* Don't get bombed out on the course and get behind the wheel and drive out of a golf neighborhood like it was the interstate. That's MY wife walking with her friends, and if you run her over because you got tanked playing 18, the DUI will be the least of your worries.

* Don't hit your ball out of my backyard. There are three nice OB stakes letting you know that you are...out of bounds.

* Don't pee on a bush in my backyard. It's a neighborhood, not a forest.

LoneWolf said...

I like what you said about playing from the tees that suit you. Great advice.

Along the lines of raking the bunkers -- remember to repair your ball marks on the green (keeping the other players line in consideration as you do).

It doesn't hurt to fix up one or two others that have been left behind but don't over do it.

Heather said...

Excellent post! I agree with all the above. I would add, don't toss your cigarette butts or cigars in the bunkers. They are not giant ashtrays people!

Also, men don't assume all women play slow. Many do not. And if you are playing in a slow foursome let a twosome through (assuming it's appropriate)--men, women, or aliens.

Definitely fill an extra divot or too and don't bitch about how no one else does it. Just do it.

I could go on and on. But I think you have most of the bases covered. Well done!

Vince Spence said...

Shane,

A little off topic, but a good friend of mine is a champion left-handed golfer. He has won numerous national LH events and has played overseas.

http://golfsp.in/4rmp

Kind of funny. He moved to Florida a few years ago. In 20 years as a member of our club, he never won the club championship or qualified on our 12-man state team...

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UglyPar said...

Get off the green as soon as you've all putted out. Don't slowly amble off discussing the putt you almost made or adding up everyone's shots.

Shane B. said...

A couple to add ...

With Heather's point, also don't spit sunflower seeds on the green. I really, really don't want to move your nasty seed out of my line with my hand.

And to add with what UglyPar said, on the 18th green, do all the handshaking/taking off hats/patting on the backs when you park your carts. Don't do it on the green there. This isn't Bay Hill. No camera is watching you high five your buddies.

Rex B. Sampilo said...

Oh and pace of play, and im not talking about just slow play. We all know slow play bites. But super fast play is just as bad. People rushing thru every shot, picking up ten footers, and then breathing down the necks of the group in front just to say hurry up. Its pace of play people, dont pickup every single putt so you can complain how slow it is just cause you think thats what good golfers do.

Oh and the comment about taking off your hat and thanking or congratulating your playing partner a good round, i think is proper etiqutte even if your on the 18th green. I do it all the time and think its very respectful not because they do it on tv. I dont make it a 10 minute makeout session, maybe if it was the golfer girl...but what im saying is i think its nice to do and very respectful etiquette. as long as its not drawn out.