Loading... Please wait...

Six Unforgivable Golf Sins

Posted on Apr/24/2012

In our recent blog post about the tradition of golf, and the tradition of classic golf apparel from Oxford Golf, we bulleted out what could be considered some of the top golf “no-nos.” Here, we’re going to break them out in more depth, because it’s worth knowing why.

1. Do not distract other players when they are about to hit the ball.

This rule seems like a no-brainer. Whether from the tee or setting up a putt, hitting a golf ball requires tremendous concentration and skill. Unless you want your buddies hooting and hollering while you line up your next birdie putt, don’t do the same. Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. So keep quiet.

2. Play your game as quickly as you can so as not to impede the game of others. (See Slow Play for what you can do to pass the time if you’re behind someone not following this guideline).

Let’s be honest, everyone wants to have the best shot, in the best wind conditions, at the best angle. However, waiting for this perfection not only delays your game, but delays those behind you. Try not to do things that intentionally slow others down. If you have to take a practice swing or two, that’s fine, but swinging and swinging will not only tire you out so you won’t hit the ball with accuracy, it will delay others. After you've hit your shot, don't dawdle, don't get angry and/or throw a tantrum. Also, try not to spend too much time looking for a missing ball. After five minutes of looking, it’s gone. Take the penalty and move on with the hole.

3. Be honest with your score and calling your own penalties.

Honesty is the best policy, especially in a self-policing game like golf. There are no referees watching you to call you out, but your own conscience should. If your friends notice that you have one too many “lucky shots” or your score just doesn’t seem to match up at the end of the day, they may not want to play with you anymore.

4. Be honest with where your ball falls.

This goes back to honesty. While you’re hitting, some of your foursome may be walking to their next shot, or back at the tee waiting for their turn. If you see your golf ball go into a bunker, or into the woods, or even at a less than desirable place on the fairway, don’t move it. Don’t tap your foot to slide the ball a little closer to the hole on the green, or put your ball marker down closer to the hole. You’re only cheating yourself by not attempting to improve your game, and trust us, your friends do notice it.

5. Do not drop your club on the green.

How annoying is it when you hit a great putt, and the ball is tracking perfectly, only to hit a sudden bump or divot and go astray? That’s right, very! Dropping your club on the green is a careless way to damage the grass that the greenskeepers work really hard on to keep flawless.  If you have a few extra clubs with you on the green, place them gently on the ground so they don't cause any damage.  

6. Concede a short putt to your opponent.

If you're playing match-play it's just you against your opponent.  So if he or she has a tiny putt left that you assume will go in, you can concede that putt by saying, "That's good," or "You can just pick that up."  There's no need to make your opponent tap in a 6-inch putt.  Not only is it good sportsmanship, but it also speeds up play as a bonus.  

The question, of course, is how short of a putt does it need to be before it's conceded?  This is a matter of judgment.  It's against the rules to set up a pre-arranged agreement with your opponent, so you just have to make the best decisions you can.  There's a phrase, "inside the leather," which is the distance from the putter's head to the leather of the putter's grip (about 18-inches).  Some people consider this the standard distance that less than which a putt should be given.  But it's nowhere in the rule book.  The rules just say that in match play, any shot can be conceded to your opponent at any time.

« Back to Main Blog Page