9 Pet Peeves on the Golf Course and How to Deal With It

Ah, a day at the golf course. Fresh air, sunshine, and camaraderie while chasing a little white ball. What could be better? It’s a great way to relax and reduce stress with a little exercise at the same time. Or is it a great way to relax? Sometimes you can finish a round more stressed than you began if you let little annoyances get to you. In fact, it can add strokes to your score. Golf is a sport where the phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff” is a prerequisite to an enjoyable day on the links.

9 Pet Peeves on the Golf Course

1. Slow Play

Yes, you’re out there to enjoy good weather, a walk in the park and camaraderie with your playing partners. But looking for your ball for ten minutes (five minutes is the rule – and even that’s too long) backs up the whole course. You don’t want to take a penalty stroke but either wave those behind you through or drop a ball.

Solution – Either wave those behind you through or drop a ball. (If you’re the in the group behind, ignore Pet Peeve 4…)

2. Divots

Golf is a sport of etiquette. When you take a divot, whether intentional or not, pick up the sod and put it back. This reduces the level of maintenance of the grounds crew, which ultimately keeps your greens fees at a reasonable price.

Solution – Don’t be a sod yourself – replace any fresh divots near your ball.

3. Ball marks on the greens

There’s nothing quite like sticking an approach shot a few feet from the flag – well, holing out is better – only to find an old ball mark on your putting line. You could move the ball and make the putt but it’s just not the same. There are these little tools that resemble a fork that you carry in your pocket. If you don’t have one, get one! Prying the grass inward to the indentation to seal up the hole and tapping softly with the bottom of your putter will make it look like you’ve never been there! Greens are made such that if you repair the pitch mark – the grass re-grows withing twenty-four hours.

Solution – Fix your ball mark and at least two more.

4. Dodging golf balls from the group behind

Whenever a golfer hits in to the group in front they always say the same thing; “Sorry, I didn’t think I could hit it that far.” Well, now you know you can so give the group in front time to clear the fairway or the green before you hit.

Solution – Wear a golf helmet! On second thought, no more ideas in our over-safety conscious world.

5. Bunkers that are not raked

If you never land the ball into a bunker, move on to point 6. But if you have, having it come to rest in someone’s footprint adds insult to injury!

Solution – Pick up the rake, smooth things over and leave it in the same shape for the next duffer who is as unlucky as you to find the sand. And leave the rake face down in the middle of the bunker parallel to the fairway– in that way, it will have the statistically lowest influence on the next shot.

6. Bad tempered players

Who wants to be looking over their shoulder for a flying club during your round? Or, walk eighteen holes with a guy who has a black cloud over his head? Remember, unless you are a pro, you paid to play.

Solution – Try to keep it all in proportion – it’s a privilege to play golf. Enjoy yourself!

7. Cheaters

For the most part I don’t care that some golfers can’t count or don’t remember half of their strokes. Write down what you want. You’re only cheating yourself. But, if you choose this road, don’t brag after the round. You will enjoy the game more by playing to your true handicap.

Solution – Keep your own score and know that you did the best that you could! And never bet with a cheater.

8. Golf maintenance machinery

Groundskeepers have a job to do and usually it’s done when the course is open. And a lot of superintendents make sure that their crews are respectful of the golfers and try to keep it quiet through play. But inevitably you have the gnat….the guy on the lawn tractor who cuts the rough around the greens, who is just half a fairway in front of you the whole day. But be careful of complaining… The same guy might have control over the sprinklers!

Solution – Don’t complain about those who hold the key to the sprinkler system.

9. Course Marshals

There is a need for marshals to ensure the pace of play and to enforce the local rules. What is not needed is for a marshal to ‘follow’ your group around a golf course and disrupt the whole day. Most are courteous and polite and check in on you once in a while. Others think they are taming the Wild West by hovering and intimidating. One might think that your group has been playing slow or has done something to encourage this babysitter.

Solution – Kindly approach the said marshal and ask them to direct their attention elsewhere. Usually, you’ll only see them sporadically after that. Or maybe you could follow them around for a while so they know what it feels like.

Please let the Gorilla know any of your own Pet Peeves…

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Matt Stugmeyer November 25, 2010

Great post. I hate slow play, cheaters and bad tempers the most. All three can ruin a round faster than thunder or lightning.


Tommy Priest November 27, 2010

We agree – but isn’t golf a wonderful game in any case?


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