“I wrote to Mr. McEnroe, Senior. I said: “Here is the sentence once written by the immortal Bobby Jones. I thought you might like to have it done in needlepoint and mounted in a suitable frame to hang over Little John’s bed.” It says, “The rewards of golf – and of life, too, I expect – are worth very little if you don’t play the game by the etiquette as well as by the rules.” I never heard from Mr. McEnroe, Senior. I can only conclude that the letter went astray.” – Alistair Cooke
By Ian Hardie
I talked about the fact, that one of the things that makes golf a game that is hard for people to learn – is that there are so many different skills and aspects to the game of golf that need to be not only learnt but also used at the right time during every game
Including all the etiquette, rules and social niceties that you need to know!
Which brings up the question I want to take a good look at today;
If you can master the other skills needed for the game – like hitting the ball every time in basically the direction that you are aiming and can play without holding up any of the golfers behind you – why bother learning golf etiquette?
Aren’t they just a bunch of quaint traditions that don’t really make a lot of sense?
Well, not really as 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 in the image at the start of the post were playing – and society was somewhat different!
When you take a closer look as to exactly why those ideas of etiquette came about and what they are actually all about
The etiquette of the game of golf will start to make sense to you
Now I’m aware that most golfers’ introduction to the etiquette of the game is normally delivered in a ‘less than ideal way’ as some ‘experienced golfer’
Did I put that nicely enough – in a politically correct fashion?
Spends a few minutes during your round of golf – telling you what “you should and shouldn’t be doing on the course”
Which to be fair can make a lot of golfers consider giving up the game of golf
After all – who wants to pay that much money – only to be told off like a school kid?
Isn’t golf a fun game that most people play for the purpose of relaxation?
Aren’t you an adult, who can achieve all sorts of amazing things in other parts of your life?
Who needs all that blah, blah, blah, blah……………….about stupid golf etiquette?
Well, actually – you and all the other golfers around the world – do!
So let’s take a look at what the word etiquette actually means before we go much further
According to Wiktionary – Etiquette means ‘The forms required by good breeding, or prescribed by authority, to be observed in social or official life; observance of the proprieties of rank and occasion; conventional decorum; ceremonial code of polite society’
Insert your own yawns or whatever else you use to describe something that dull here
As that didn’t really help my cause in the slightest – did it?
Here’s why you actually need to bother learning golf etiquette regardless of how experienced a golfer that you are or who you normally play the game with
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 playing or the result of any golf shot for anyone playing in your group – either physically or mentally
Which can then be extended out to include all of the other golfers on the course that day
Read that again as that was the important bit!
To think of that another way – consider anything that might interrupt your concentration while playing a golf shot or an action that could end up influencing your ball to go in a direction other than the one you expect it to go in
And you pretty much can create a list of the required etiquette by figuring out the opposite behaviour
I’m going to take a good look at the sorts of things that could appear on that list in ‘Why bother learning golf etiquette – part two’
Until then I’d like you to consider one more point when it comes to golf etiquette
It’s one of the factors that contribute towards making golf – the greatest game there is!