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Posted March 19, 2010
Article of the Week
Taking a New Golfer Out to Play – an Article for Friends

 Why do friends play golf with friends?  Misery loves company.


If a friend asks you out to play golf is he really your friend?


One friend asks another “Do you play golf?”  The second friend responds, “No, I’m married, I have enough misery in my life.”


As exasperating as we find the game we still love to play golf.  And no matter how well we play there is always this sense that we could have done better.  Even the best professionals being interviewed after a spectacular round will say, “Yeah, I hit the ball really well today, I putted well too.  But that drive on 15 got away from me a little and my approach on 7 didn’t come off the club like I wanted.  It was a pretty good day overall.”


Pressman:  “Pretty good?  Joe, you just shot 62.  That’s a course record.  What on earth do you mean pretty good?”


Joe the Pro:  “Like I said that shot on 7…….”


So, just why do we play this game that always leaves us with some little irritation?  We play for a variety of reasons, but most of all we play to be with our friends.  I say most of all for a simple reason.  You never invite someone you don’t like to play golf.  Even if it is someone you have just met, if there is some chemistry (or biology for that matter) going to play golf becomes an option.  And a very good option at that.  An opportunity to spend several hours with someone whose company you enjoy.


Should one of our friends decide to take up the game, how quick we are to invite him or her to join us on the course.  They will often however react rather reluctantly.  Why?  Think what might be going on in their mind.  Mostly they are concerned with embarrassing themselves.


It is the experienced golfers obligation to make this first day on the golf course as enjoyable as possible for the new golfer and to help him understand things are not going to go his way.  That is not a function of him being a new golfer, but a simple truth about the game.


The first thing a new golfer must understand is that he wasn’t invited to play because he is expected to perform feats of great golfing prowess.  Quite the contrary.  Having experienced the humility of playing the game the experienced golfer knows quite well the new golfer is in for a long day.  He is in for a day of virtually nothing going as he has planned.  It is therefore a good thing for him to be among friends.  The obligation of the veteran is to help the novice become comfortable with this.  If not he has two choices; be miserable or do something else.

The new golfer on arriving at the golf course for the first time has no idea what to do.  Again, it is the veteran who has to step up.  So many things we take for granted when we go to play golf.  Going from the car to the first tee is a process we have done so many times we don’t think of all the steps it takes to get there.  Watch for the deer in the headlights look on your new golfing friend.  He is telling you he doesn’t know what to do or where to go next.


Once on the course the new golfer is not quite sure of the procedure.  Whose turn is it?  They need to learn something very simple.  Carry on as if it is always your turn.  Unless you can hit the group in front of you or if someone else in your group is hitting, it is your turn.  Help them understand this and help them to get in the habit of constantly preparing to hit their next shot.  They are going to be hitting a lot of shots so they better be ready when it is time for them to hit.  Even some experienced golfers need to learn this little trick to help to improve the pace of the game and even their own game as well.


One thing that can make playing with a new golfer most irritating is constantly apologizing for his shortcomings.  He needs to learn we were rather expecting that he wasn’t going to be very good.  He’s a new golfer.  New golfers are not very good.  It’s OK.  You don’t have to remind us by apologizing after every shot.  The blanket apology on the first tee is enough for the whole day.


New golfers must be taught the rules and etiquette of the game.  This does not mean he has to play by the rules, but to simply begin to learn them.  A new golfer playing by the rules would most likely cause mayhem on the golf course.  Imagine what would happen if they had to replay the shot every time they lost a ball.  Etiquette is another matter.  They should be taught and encouraged to adhere by the simple rules of behavior on the golf course.  The blanket rules of etiquette you want to teach them are to keep quiet, keep still, and keep moving.  Yes, still and moving are contradictions, they just apply to the circumstance.  That is keep still when someone else is playing and keep moving when no one is playing.


In all, be sure to make your new golfing friend understands he is your friend first and a golfer second.  You didn’t invite him to play golf due to his golfing abilities, but for his companionship.  Golf is a vehicle for friends to spend time together.  Tell a joke.  Share your experience.  Talk about the stuff you would talk about if you were just out for a beer.  Fresh air, sunshine, a little exercise and good companionship are why we enjoy golf.  Make sure your new golfing friend learns these most important things right from the start.


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