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Is Golf Etiquette on the Decline?


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During the pandemic our club has a strict walk and carry policy. The fact that there are no carts has been refreshing in that there's no loud music being played or coolers full of beer on the course. However, many people still do not practice proper etiquette while playing. Balls mark are not repaired and since there are no rakes bunkers are not even foot smoothed. Some players insist on walking ahead in some groups with which I've played. Which is both distracting and dangerous. Some people continually leave their bags on the front of the greens which means they have to walk back to retrieve them adding a couple of minutes to each hole. I'm all for ready golf, but playing or putting out of turn has become the norm. Also, I guess some think wearing soft spikes means you can now walk on someone's putting line . Maybe I'm a golf snob or just a grumpy old man, but these things irritate me. Please feel free to respond with what irritates you or "OK, Boomer"; whichever fits.

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Hogan 9: "Some players insist on walking ahead in some groups with which I've played. Which is both distracting and dangerous. I'm all for ready golf, but playing or putting out of turn has become th

I’ve been playing golf for 30 years and I have to ask, when was golf etiquette ever followed? People love to complain about the current character of golfers, but I’ve been fixing other people’s marks

within the last 3 years, I've survived prostate cancer and a heart attack. Now, I'm doing all I can to avoid a stupid virus. If I get upset over something as minor as an unfixed ball mark, and unraked

It was refreshing to have a no motorized cart policy when golf reopened in my state. That meant no blaring music, no coolers of beer, and generally much better behavior from the golfers--probably because the people who want to get drunk on a course are not playing if there are no motorized carts.

 

But alas, carts are allowed again and last Saturday I was once again subjected to blaring music and people screaming on the greens or tee boxes as if no one else was on the course. Sad!

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I haven't noticed much difference in the past 10-15yrs but i have been playing at private clubs this whole time. There are definitely people who don't fix ball marks or rake traps, but i am guessing this has always existed.

I think "golf etiquette" is a pretty overblown thing, almost like golfers are supposed to be better than everyone else, i think this is mostly an illusion. I have played in Men's basketball and Flag Football leagues, and 98% of the people in those are as good a dudes as you'll meet in golf. And just like the golf sometimes the 2% ruin it

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Mostly gone, just like most formerly accepted general etiquette throughout society. Solution, join a club who upholds 'tradition' of the game, or just get used to it. Set an example is about all one can do.

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I don't think it was that great 25 years ago.... same intellect will do the same no matter what time frame. There's a sharp difference on location (type of course) concerning etiquette. I work at a public course that struggles with this ..... ball marks left unattended, bunkers left with footprints, etc. The same guys who complain are some of the biggest violators. Because they play 3-4 times a week, there's a sense of entitlement... do as I say not as I do. Turning dollars is the main objective, thus these guys get a pass usually. At a private club, membership has (in theory) control over actions of its members. While there's always the exception, it's comply or leave. It's a matter of perception.... would I stay at a Motel 6 and expect Ritz conditions, well no.

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Agree with that for sure as my Dad and grampy taught me the game and how to behave on the course. So a few years ago when my pal wanted to get into the game, I showed him the basics and taught him about etiquette. So I would agree that whoever introduces you to the game kinda has the obligation to teach the newcomers these basic "rules". But to echo those above, these yahoos getting wasted crashing carts and running each other over are likely pr*cks in many other aspects of life not just on the golf course.

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I think etiquette is one of those things that we will look at now and think it’s not as good as it was before. That said, in 20 years we will look at it and say, back in my day, etc, etc.

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I’ve been playing golf for 30 years and I have to ask, when was golf etiquette ever followed? People love to complain about the current character of golfers, but I’ve been fixing other people’s marks for 30 years. I’ve been replacing other’s divots and watching people walk through my line for just as long.

The truth is golfers have never, by majority, been courteous, respectful, or unselfish when it comes to the game, the course, or the people around them.

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Good comments. I'm glad to hear that so many of you agree. Frankly, I thought I'd get a lot more criticism for broaching the subject. I guess it is the downside of "growing the game". Interestingly, I DO belong to a private club. I imagine what I outlined is even more prevalent at public courses if it's happening at our club. I do wish our golf professionals would at least attempt to educate our newer younger members. Many are new to the game and just don't know any better. I think the pros do work with our juniors in camps etc. Some of our juniors are better behaved than their parents. Maybe I should just learn to accept things as they are now. I fear the oncoming recession is going to affect the game as it did back in '08. The golf industry was still recovering when COVID-19 reared it's ugly head. Who knows what another round of course and golf store closings would do to our beloved sport.

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I don’t know how anyone can complain about people not fixing ball marks on the green. If a ball mark is in your way, fix it.

Plus, most WRXers fix their ball mark AND at least two dozen others on every green, so I don’t see how there could be many un-repaired ball marks.

With 548 million members and growing daily, chances are there will be a WRXer coming through in the next group or two to clean things up in case anyone missed one.

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I started working at golf courses 30 years ago, and very little has changed. Always have been a bunch of slow players, ball marks, and unraked bunkers. It isn't going to change, so I wouldn't worry about it. Just take care of yourself, and set a good example. Also, private or public didn't really matter.

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Why do we equate poor behavior with "growing the game"? There is ample evidence the game has not grown . The boom Tiger caused in the early 2000's has been lost and the amount of people golfing is the same as it was during the glory days of "etiquette".

Whatever we want to call it, the people we are playing with ARE the "golfers".

I also feel bad for some of you guys, the places you play sound terrible. 99% of my golf experiences, including those at public courses , have been good. But as i mentioned earlier this is also typically the case for people you meet playing football or basketball, or running...or whatever.

People are mostly nice, unless there is a toilet paper shortage during a pandemic

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I'm really going to try not to write a novel here...

Music... I'm not a fan of music on the course. I have an inner metronome that helps me play and swing and when a cart buddy is playing music it can really mess with my head. That being said, I've also played solo rounds with ear buds in and been fine. I was horrified this past week when a played a very public course with new carts... and get this, they had built in speakers and Bluetooth connections for you to play either your or their music from the cart.

Bunkers.. meh... unpopular opinion but I never thought bunkers should be raked. They're a hazard and should be treated as such. A quick foot swipe to even out the gaping divot is fine, but clean fresh perfect surface isn't in the spirit of golf. But that's just my opinion.

Greens... I've honestly not noticed bad greens. Growing up on muni's with steel spikes I got used to a little damage. 75% of my current playing partners tend to pop every ball mark they see on a green. The other 25% never really did, and would probably do more damage trying. Given my head space while golfing, I'm in the corner like Bruce Banner just looking for ball marks while everyone else is doing their routines.

Divots and fairways.... The new norm is hurting golf a little and a solution is needed. a few of the guys I play with will rip full pelts out of the fairways, They're all high end guys and always replace them. But.. now that we're almost all walking, or due to contact rules they've stopped putting the store-n-pours of dirt/seed on the carts, the little smash tears that I and others leave aren't being addressed. Personally my shallow swing tends to leave a puddle VS the Grand Canyon my partners leave. I can't fix that bruise I left any more. We need to come up with a solution for this.

General attitude.... Still the same. I have a thread going in the Membership Forums. Cliffs Notes is that I'm a normal guy who has friends that have a lot of contacts. This allows me and my partners to explore a lot of courses as guests. A lot of them are public, some of them are semi private, and few of them are super private. Trump National in VA is a once or twice a year course for me. But a lot of times I'm on public courses and they all have their challenges. People are people. I've played a private course where a member jumped our group, which is fine, driving all over the fairways on a path only day. Our contact shrugged it off as that's just "Steve being Steve". He pays his membership and he thinks he can do what he wants. Drives up to the greens, leaves flags out, doesn't repair his marks anywhere. Why would he, thats what he pays the staff for, right? In one case, the only time as a guest we got negative attention, my cart buddy managed to remove his base layer without taking his polo off while I set up and took my shot. As I got back to the cart a member drove across the fairway to us in the joint rough to tell my partner that his shirt needs to be tucked in. Dude,,, he's getting there. We just said sorry and moved on.

In all I would say the norm is still the norm and the fringe is still the fringe. Private clubs aren't exempt 4 dudes cheering on the green or 4 ladies with pull carts straight lining their 2 foot triple bogey putts. My view of the world is that people suck and the more you're around the more you'll notice it. If you're a FOG golfer, you'll tend not to see the same crap as a nooner or twilight golfer.

TL;DR, people suck.

 

 

 

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I was grousing about etiquette yesterday in league play. Some guy from the group behind us sliced into our fairway and rather than wait for us to tee off he walked to his ball, back to his cart to get a rangefinder, got the yardage and then back to the cart to get a club then back to the ball to hit. All the while we're on an elevated tee box about 150 yards from him watching the show. Clueless.

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Whining about "young people today" has been going on for centuries and probably even before the written word, in all cultures in every country. So, whingers . . . just soldier on in your cotton polo and pleated khakis. ?

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Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play a round of competitive golf.

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I started playing about 20 years ago (in my late 20s) with a few friends that hadn't bee playing very long themselves. One friend was sort of our leader on the course, teaching us about raking bunkers, not stepping in other players' lines, fixing ball marks, etc. He learned all of these things from his father who played golf. I was raised to be respectful to others and taught the proper etiquette of life in general. However, never playing a round of golf until my late 20s, I had no idea what golf etiquette was until my friend took the time to teach me.

Even with as much as he knew, we were "spoken to" by a marshal one day about our pace. This was another concept that was foreign to me; I had no idea what proper pace of play was, nor did my friend. We were surprised to learn we were playing to slow and that there was a time limit. My friend grew up playing minimal rounds at private courses so I think that's where the disconnect was with him.

Over the last 20 years not much has changed in terms of course etiquette, IMO. I see the same things today I saw 20 years ago. The only difference is there were no bluetooth speakers back then, but if there were, I can guarantee my friend would've had one - he loves music.

I played yesterday and there was a young single walking behind us. As we passed him on an adjacent hole, I could hear music coming from his golf bag. He was easily 30-40 yards away. It wasn't loud enough for me to make out exactly what he was listening to, but it was loud enough for me to recognize it was music. 20 years ago this wouldn't have been an issue as there were no smart phones or bluetooth speakers.

 


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Hogan 9: "Some players insist on walking ahead in some groups with which I've played. Which is both distracting and dangerous. I'm all for ready golf, but playing or putting out of turn has become the norm."

I'll disagree with you on these two. I would consider not walking ahead to be a violation of etiquette by unduly delaying play. There is no reason a person shouldn't walk ahead. Just be aware of your playing partners and keep an eye on their ball. Same with playing out of turn. Play when you are ready. It can be fun to play in a "serious" match like a club championship where order of play matters in match play, but otherwise, play when ready. Someone who won't do that won't get invited back to any groups I've played in in years.

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Sadly, having money never stops someone from being a jerk, and sometimes even encourages the behavior. The guys at your private club who are jerks would still be jerks if they were homeless.

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