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Golf is a funny thing. While it’s true golf is a game we can play alone, we very often do not. Whether it’s with our buddies or complete strangers, when the human element is introduced the game can change 2015_0607_curtin_brian_hedentirely.

I’m speaking about etiquette and those pet peeves we all have with other golfers while were out playing a round. You all know what I am talking about because you’ve complained in the pro shop about them to the staff on numerous occasions. Here’s a handy guide to identifying each one of them so you’ll be better at spotting them the next time you’re out for a round.

The Talker
The talker is pretty self-explanatory; they simply do not shut up. Literally, the entire round they can’t help themselves. In your backswing, over a putt, driving to the next shot and it goes on and on. I enjoy golf because it’s supposed to peaceful and relaxing. When The Talker is in your group the game is anything but. To alleviate your stresses with this golfer the best defense is to be brutally honest with them. Most “Talkers” don’t realize just how annoying they actually are so just tell them. Sure it might be awkward for a shot or two but they will get the idea and your score will thank you for it.

The “Pro”
This is the guy who hits one good shot for every 8 that he attempts and proceeds to give everyone else in the group swing tips following said good shot. It’s nothing but silence from him when he hits the bad ones but after he laces one down the middle 285 yards he’s suddenly all-knowing. Never give lessons while out on the course unless someone specifically asks you for one. Anyone possessing a handicap of 6 or higher shouldn’t be offering advice to anyone anyways. Play your own game and enjoy the company of others.

The Whiner
Here is my personal favorite. This is the guy who after every single errant shot has some reason or excuse as to why he didn’t hit it well. The grass was too short, the grass was too long, and the greens are too fast or too slow. Basically, it’s anything other than the fact that he stinks at golf and spends zero time practicing to get better. After about two holes of this it grows tiresome and it’s obvious to everyone in the group that you are officially, “The Whiner.” Correct this by taking ownership of your game and work at it by taking lessons or hitting that extra bucket on the range.

The Bloodhound
This guy is absolutely amazing. Hits driver 300 yards into the woods and always, and I mean always, finds his ball. It’s like he’s got a gps attached that helps him locate the tiny little ball buried in a patch of 4-foot tall fescue. This guy is super-annoying to play with and if you are playing for anything on the line, things can get ugly quick. Make sure everyone marks their ball with a unique marking and when anyone hits a provisional, make them announce the NEW ball on the tee. This should put a stop to the Bloodhound.

The Daydreamer
Obvious title here. This is the player who is doing anything and everything but thinking about playing the game of golf. This person is texting, checking emails, searching for golf balls and generally just aloof to the fact that he’s away. The group has to constantly remind him that it’s his turn and coincidentally has to help him add up his score after each hole. Play ready golf and always try to think one step ahead. There are few things more annoying than playing with someone slow. On your way to the next shot, look around for yardages, analyze your position and have a general idea of what club you want to hit next. Know your spot in the order and remember your own score.

There are so many more labels I could go on with but these are my top five and ones I see here at the club on a daily basis. The bottom line is being courteous to those around you and do all you can to help speed up your round. If you can identify with any of these above, consciously think about your behavior on the course and how it affects nearly all those playing around you.

Remember, it only takes one slow group to back up the entire course. Practice your game on the range or on the putting green, be courteous of those around you, develop a quick pre-shot routine and play the game the way it was meant to be played, with honesty and integrity. Most importantly, play golf!

Brian Curtin has been an avid golfer for 32 years. He’s been the club manager at Great Rock Golf Club since 2008 and is the current president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. He lives in Manorville with his wife Kerrilyn and their daughter Raegan.

Questions? Comments? Write to Brian:

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