The 3 Things That Most Annoy Golfers
When Mark Twain stated: “Golf is a good walk spoiled,” he did not specify what particularly spoiled the experience.
Yes, it could have been the endless shanks or the constant frustration at three off the tee; or maybe it was in regard to duff chips or multiple three putts.
Or, however, he could be alluding to the constant unreplaced divots or the multiple pitch marks that are left on the green.
Perhaps he’s speaking about the unraked bunkers on the course, which are undoubtedly ruining the experience for other golfers.
The game of golf is truly sensational: the handicap system allowing an 80-year-old to face off against a 16-year-old, the substantial amount of time you get to spend outside or even just bettering your previous score by a single stroke.
These are all positive connotations we hold with the game of golf, but for every encouraging encounter or memory, there’s a bad story that’s been told twice as much.
Footballers rely on a groundsman to keep their pitch in tip-top order, and the same can be said for cricket, with the groundsman ensuring the wicket is prepared efficiently.
Yes, we have greenkeepers but their job is considerably more difficult purely because of one important aspect: they rely on golfers.
The best greenkeeper in the world could prepare a world-class course but without visitors replacing their divots or repairing their pitch marks, all of that hard work is rapidly undone.
Our latest Golfshake Survey tasked golfers with listing their most irritating frustrations on the course and we now have our top 3, as voted by the community.
Spoiler: take care of your golf course!
The bane of every golfer's life, slow play can be outright demoralising if you’re in perfect rhythm and seemingly cannot miss a 200-yard approach.
In 2015, The R&A concluded that, following a six-month study, the average time for a completed round of golf should take three hours and 44 minutes.
However, we must remember that this data is now dated, and you must also consider the golf boom that took place after the report was published.
Obviously, it’s dependent on the season, but the universally accepted time of four hours - providing you are teeing off during a busy period - is the accepted standard of time you’ll be hacking the ball about.
It’s also vitally important that we realise every golfer plays at their own pace, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that if it falls within the accepted time.
For example, you can’t expect a four-ball to keep up with a one-ball and thus, the group behind the larger party will likely be waiting from time to time.
If this is the case, the four-ball should call through the group behind them at their earliest convenience.
No, we don’t mean finish the next three holes, allowing the one-ball to create a three-hole gap, we mean waiting on the next tee to prevent a serious build-up from materialising.
Golfshake Survey Responses - Slow Play
"Groups who make no effort to move about the course at a reasonable pace, thus holding up others."
Again, an issue that we have discussed above. It is so important to understand if you are holding people up and if you are, you must allow them through to ease the congestion of the golf course.
"Four-balls going off every eight minutes in competitions, and then taking five hours to get around."
This is a combination of two problems: poor scheduling and an evident lack of care for others. Four balls going out every eight minutes is asking for trouble, so the club in question can definitely ease this issue. However, once on the course, it is down to the responsibility of the golfer and they must make their own reflection: am I too far behind the group in front? Are golfers waiting at every tee for our group? Accountability must be taken.
"Clubs not following or monitoring slow play."
This is really interesting and it is partly linked to the previous statement, but if golf clubs are allowing their members or visitors to play slowly, then the golfers in question are unlikely to correct their attitude. There appears to be a humungous lack of marshals at courses recently, which is allowing these frustrations to take place so frequently.
Etiquette is fascinating because it really means a collection of all the annoying habits that your playing partners seemingly exhibit every single round.
Talking when someone is addressing the ball, not understanding where to position yourself if someone’s hitting their shot, refusing to take care of the course and even letting quicker golfers through - it all falls under etiquette.
Of course, we cannot expect every newcomer to golf to completely understand the required etiquette that is expected for a round of golf.
It definitely takes time to understand how you should rightfully behave and playing in larger groups can definitely help speed up that process.
However, we are talking in relation to the guy who has booked the same Thursday morning tee time for the last 30 years.
Or the golfer who’s always at the first tee, offering advice and unveiling the secret to getting your handicap below 20…
A relaxed atmosphere should be exuded on the course - it will certainly help you score better - but you must be aware of your surroundings or you run the risk of ruining the experience for everyone.
And another spoiler: you won’t be invited back!
Golfshake Survey Responses - Poor Etiquette
"Players who regularly leave bags or trolleys at the entrance to greens."
Something as small as where to position your golf bag can seriously shave minutes off of your round. And if everyone is trimming a few minutes off their afternoon, the golf course will be more open as a result.
"Golf club members thinking they own the golf course."
A new debate has recently sprung up: do golf clubs need visiting golfers with sold out memberships? Surely, they must do. Why would clubs not want to continue to hone their product, considering increased revenue results in enhanced facilities? However, this is certainly a common problem and this level of entitlement is what prevents some clubs from growing further.
"Golfers who ignore the intervals between tee times and thus, will catch you up in a few holes.”
Tee time allocation has been created for a reason: to prevent congestion. We have already discussed how eight minutes between four balls is evidently not long enough, so golfers who are eager to play are worsening an already dire problem.
You’ve just hit a magnificent drive that may have peaked out at 300 yards and you have 200 left in for a potential eagle putt.
You strike your 5-iron purely and you are left with an 8-foot putt for eagle. As you stroll to the green you notice not one, not two, but three pitch marks that are painfully located on the line of your putt.
A nice smooth stroke has resulted in your putt starting on line and as it bobbles over the first pitch mark it stays true to its line but the second and third has completely thrown it off, and you’re left with 4-foot for birdie - not ideal.
Without sounding too harsh, but if you’re playing golf without a pitch marker, you are contributing to an already highly frustrating issue.
Our approach shots will project highly and everything that goes up must come back down.
Therefore, we will be leaving marks on the soft greens and if they are not repaired, they could remain that way for quite some time.
If done correctly, the process should not take any longer than 20 seconds and you’ll be contributing to the course’s wellbeing.
Were you aware that a poorly repaired pitch mark can take weeks to heal? If you’re unsure on how to repair them, that’s fine - check out this guide here.
Golfshake Survey Responses - Pitch Marks
"My biggest frustrations are unrepaired pitch marks and divots that are not replaced."
Both of these frustrations are linked to one another, and if your drive finds an unreplaced divot to then be obstructed by a pitch mark on the green, then you’ll know exactly how frustrating this issue is.
"Golfers not taking responsibility for repairing their own damage: repairing pitch marks, replacing divots and raking bunkers."
Probably the three most contentious issues on the golf course, if you’re not taking responsibility for looking after any golf course you visit - not just the one you’re a member of - the experience is ruined for other golfers. These issues take a matter of seconds to remedy and they are significantly important to the upkeep of any golf course.
"Golfers not replacing divots or repairing pitch marks - it takes 10 seconds!!!"
The perfect quote to end on, these highly frustrating matters take mere seconds to resolve. A lot of golfers complain about pitch marks and rightly so, but everyone needs to be repairing the damage they’ve left. We know it’s not your responsibility, but we also advise repairing another pitch mark when on the green as you’ll be helping both golfers and greenkeepers alike.
When Mark Twain referred to golf as a good walk spoiled, we all know he was talking about the sheer frustration that is associated with getting this little white ball into a hole that is situated 500 yards away.
As if golf was not hard enough, we also have to contend with large groups refusing to let two balls through, unreplaced divots that are punishing excellent drives and poorly repaired pitch marks that hold the potential of diverting your approach off the green.
These are the three universal frustrations that golfers are experiencing throughout the world but if we all take responsibility for our actions - and can part with 15 seconds every 10 minutes - the game of golf may just be a little less frustrating.
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