Why bother learning golf etiquette – part two?

putting

“I’m about five inches from being an outstanding golfer. That’s the distance my left ear is from my right.”Ben Crenshaw

By Ian Hardie

In the post Why bother learning golf etiquette? I asked a question about golf etiquette that most golfers think but very few ever actually say out loud:

Aren’t they just a bunch of quaint traditions that don’t really make a lot of sense?

Now even though the majority of the facets of golf etiquette that you need to know about the game were developed back in the days when the golfers who played and society as a whole was somewhat different than it is now

When you take a close look as to exactly why those ideas of etiquette came about and the fact that they are there to help all golfers play the game as well as they can

The etiquette of the game of golf should start to make sense to you

As a result you will realise that it is actually a good idea to bother learning golf etiquette, regardless of how experienced a golfer you are or who you normally play the game with

Like I said in that first post, the simplest way to consider the etiquette that’s required for the game of golf is to consider what things could happen or that you might do during a round of golf

That would affect the result of any golf shot for anyone playing in your group

Regardless of whether it could be caused physically or mentally – which can then be extended out to include all of the other golfers on the course that day

To put that into a simpler idea – think about any sound or action that another golfer could produce that might interrupt your concentration while playing a golf shot – that as a result could end up influencing your ball to go in a direction other than the one you wanted it to go in and you pretty much can create a list of the required etiquette

By figuring out the opposite behaviour or just not doing it!

The first part of the game that I’m going to look at is of course the most important

As for most golfers it is where they play between 30 – 42% of their shots and every time you play one of those shots it counts for one on your scorecard – regardless of how short it is

I’m hoping that you realise I am talking about the shots you play on the putting green

Beginning with something that most golfers would refer to as ‘pace of play’ on the green

I have never seen any evidence that suggests that taking a long time to look at each and every angle of your putt, having a multitude of practice strokes and just taking a large amount of time to putt overall

Has any effect on your putting performance at all and in actual fact most of

The best putters in the world are fairly quick when they are on the putting green

Which is exactly what you need to be even though you do of course need to figure out the line of your putt and prepare yourself accordingly to putt well

The vast majority of that preparation though, can be done before it’s your turn to putt meaning that when you are up

It should take you no more than a minute in total for a long putt and around 30 seconds or less for a short putt

Take any longer than that and you will start to raise the ire of your playing partners

Something that doing the next things I’m about to discuss will almost certainly do as well;

Standing in such a way that your shadow is in some way easily visible to the golfer putting, moving around on the green or nearby the green as a golfer is about to putt and making noises while a golfer is about to putt – whether it is you or your mobile phone!

Each of these things has the effect of either directly or indirectly interrupting a golfer’s concentration and preparation sequence before they hit a putt

Which is something that a lot of golfers take extremely seriously for a good reason

As any golf shot has an extremely high ‘mental component’ which is more often than not, the determining factor that decides whether the result is good or bad

Read that bit again to make sure you have understood that!

So here is a list of the things that you need to be very careful not to do while someone else is either putting or preparing to putt;

  • Talking audibly (able to be heard) to another golfer that’s on the green or somewhere else on the course
  • Standing directly behind the golfer putting in line with the hole or standing directly on the other side of the hole that the golfer is putting to
  • Moving around at any point while a golfer is putting
  • Making a noise with something in your pocket, tapping your shoe with your putter or blowing your nose while another golfer is putting
  • Standing in such a way that your shadow is in anyway visible to the golfer putting of covering the ground between them and the hole
  • Talking on or using your mobile phone while another golfer is putting

There is one more important part of etiquette that needs to be understood when it comes to putting which like a lot of the other ones – may seem a bit pointless – but I can guarantee you it isn’t

It relates to how you walk around the green both before and after you have putted and more importantly – how you walk around near the direction that the other golfers who are in your group will be putting their golf ball in – this is otherwise known as ‘the line’ of the golfers putt

Now you are probably sitting there thinking

“Who cares whether I stand anywhere near where the other golfers are going to putt their golf ball?”

The answer to that is that the other golfer will – if they happen to miss their putt due to it being deflected off line by a slight indentation that your foot will have left in the green

Which unless you happen to playing golf on extremely hard greens

Is always there after you walk anywhere on each golf green that you play

Standing directly on or extremely close to the line that another golfer is about to putt on – is something that needs to be avoided at all costs

Which I’m going to talk more about in ‘Why bother learning golf etiquette – part three?’

Until then

Play well

 

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