Proper Golf Etiquette
By Kickntrue on 8/19/10
I'm on vacation this week, but I'd never just leave you hanging (or in the sole custody of Nathan). Whether you're new or old to oob- I hope you'll enjoy some posts from our past! Some of them are still relevant today, others, will sound ridiculous (you'll know when you get there!). At any rate- they are what they are- and we put good time into them "back in the day" so now that we're a lot bigger we figure we'll re-share. Thanks and I'll be back for all of oob's ridiculousness next Monday!

By Andrew Brown, oobgolf contributor
Originally posted 10/3/2007

Golf has long been dubbed a gentleman's game, but is it really? Maybe it depends who you ask, but I know one thing for sure, what I've seen from golf fans on tv lately sure hasn't boded well for the notion. Maybe it just took 10 years for the Billy Madison generation (wow- I can't believe that's been 10 years already) to be old enough and affluent enough to get themselves into professional golf events, but something has certainly changed in the past few years.

At the British Open last year Tiger Wood's final round played with Sergio Garcia was marred by a continuous stream of never ending clicks from camera phones and annoying ring tones, even though cell phones were clearly banned from the event. The rule was unenforceable because the R& A decided they didn't want lines for checkpoints like in America. Wonder if they'll reconsider next year?

In a sport predicated on enforcing your own penalties and reporting your own score, are we still playing a gentleman's game?
Last year, at The Buick Open, we saw a clear display of 21st century golf hooliganism at Warwick Hills' number 17. The unique par three that allows over 15,000 people to crowd around a single hole certainly provides some spectacular awe inspiring moments of brilliance. A roaring crowd, chanting a golfers name after he sticks one within inches of the hole can give even the casual fan goosebumps, but the raw displays of emotion can also cause some pains for the pros... you know- the ones we pay to see perform?

Even so, I think we can dismiss these displays of public over-affection as results of the game's increasing popularity and as a small negative sidebar to what has been a true evolution of the pro game, from purse size, to the level of competition, to the number of people playing worldwide.

But what happens when you move away from the professional world and look in-depth at us regular hacks, going out and doing our best to master even a small part of this frustrating tease of a game? In a sport predicated on enforcing your own penalties and reporting your own score, are we still playing a gentleman's game?

Leave it to the Canadians to be ahead of the curve with this one. If you have a moment, you must check out this clip from a radio broadcast recorded in 1957. If you are any kind of golf fan at all, you will get a real kick out of this short clip from the CBA Archives. I wish I could find the rest of it. His description of cheating and the way golfers think- is still dead-on today. I guess that means Canada is either ahead of its time, or just proof that integrity hasn't really left the game, just that it never existed.

It's kind of like trying to lose weight, but lying to yourself and others about your starting point.
Us American's can just place blame on our nation's leaders. Thirteen of the past sixteen Presidents have played, many to the level some would call addictive. Most notably, people point to President Bill Clinton and his exploits on the golf course. He was known to take as many mulligans as it took to get it right, and expected nobody to question his final results. The phenomenon certainly did not begin with him though. Presidential Lies, a book written by Shep Campbell and Peter Landau outlines and reviews how our leaders have played the game and how their skill and respect of the rules reflects in their political policy. More recently, First Off The Tee hit the shelves. I've even read this one cover to cover and highly recommend it as a good leisure read.

So what does all this rambling mean? Should we feel bad about nudging the ball out of a divot after hitting our first good ball down the middle of the fairway all day? Should we feel sleazy when we misinterpret or ignore the rules when it comes to penalty strokes to improve our scores by a couple stokes? Should we be appalled when our buddy uses 3 mulligans per side?

Probably, but many of us don't. That's why the advancement of the internet and sites like can be so useful. If you play by all the rules, you can get a true idea of where your golf game is at and where you are really losing strokes. After looking at your stats from a few rounds, you may quickly realize you don't need to be using those mulligans off the tee, because the real reason you are shooting 105 and not breaking that magic round number is because of your ridiculously high number of putts. It's kind of like trying to lose weight, but lying to yourself and others about your starting point. You would gain a lot more pleasure seeing the true results of your practice if you are honest about what your handicap really is.

For me, it's time to come off my soapbox, and back to reality. I have certainly been known to fudge a score or two, or claim double par on a disaster hole instead of putting out, but I'm trying to get better with it. There's a reason I shoot the same score now, as I did 3 years ago. I'm a much better golfer now, but I'm counting everything. Maybe some of the aura of "the gentleman's game" lies within the bending of the rules, but I dare you to try it without for a couple rounds.

retro week image source

[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
Wasn't this posted already? Re RE post??
birdieXris says:
OOPS. maybe not. I need more coffee or something.
birdieXris says:
Great read. I can't believe i almost missed this. I can't get the radio broadcast though. It says i don't have a plugin for it. Maybe i should ask Tiger, he's apparently good with plugins. ZIINGGG. coffee.
wrhall02 says:
I want the coffee you drink @birdieXris!

Between you and Kurt (and others), I get my fill of laughs. who needs Comedy Central? OOB has it all!
Banker85 says:
the clip is good, here are 4 major types of cheaters "Ignormaniac, liftocrit, balldozer, and scorpion." I played yesterday and after all these ettique, cheating, rules posts i was so strict with my scoring. I shot a great 79 +9, with one penalty, no fluffed lies, no mulligans. I get more satisfaction of recovering fomr a horrible shot than taking a mulligan. example, i hit a dinker left off the tee, had about 300 yds tothe hole (par4) and instead of rehitting tee shot i smoked a 3wood about 250 and got up and down for my par. much more satisfing.
shift says:
"There's a reason I shoot the same score now, as I did 3 years ago. I'm a much better golfer now, but I'm counting everything."

great quote. so true. it's rather sad that unless I personally have seen a golfer play, whatever score he says he shoots I doubt because very few people count all their strokes and penalties.
Sheldonlee says:
When I first started we used mulligans. Then we realized that we were only cheating ourselves. Then we started betting. That's when everything counted, however, we would never give over a double par. Now that I play with a new group of guys, we count everything and play by the rule book. No rolling your ball, no mulligans and OB means you hit again and count the strokes. I have improved my gambe tremendously. Why? Becuase I am competitive and hate losing to losers. My handicapp went from a 20 - 24 to 12. I think the money motivates me.
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