Most if not all of us have experienced golf partners who are annoying. Some, it has to be said, can be so frustrating that they have an adverse effect on their playing partner’s score, as well as their sense of enjoyment. My “favourites:”
Slow Players and Time Wasters: “But my pre-shot routine is identical to Bob’s. He’s a 5-handicapper and no-one says he’s slow.” What some high-handicappers don’t appreciate is that Bob will take circa 20-30 shots less per round – a huge difference in aggregate time. Other annoying traits include those not “ready to go” when it’s their turn, elaborate putting routines, playing out every hole without a chance of a stableford, and cart users who don’t take more than one club when conditions dictate they walk to their ball.
Sandbagger: Amongst the most despised in Pattaya, and because of the USGA Handicapping System, it’s so easy to do. These are the types who “disappear” from competition golf for a few months, only to turn up at some prize-rich tournament with an inflated handicap. Sometimes they “hide” amongst similarly minded mates who then emerge to massacre the field in a four-ball scramble. Entering one’s own scores into a handicapping system, that includes social rounds, is akin to self-serving politicians placing their constituent’s welfare in front of their own.
Mathematically Challenged: Don’t expect these characters to falsely claim a par or birdie, as that is too obvious. They are more likely to claim a “five” or “six” when in fact they had one more. Often a seasoned campaigner, this character is most at home when partnered with a newbie, particularly one with a high handicap.
Pretentious Newbie: The undesirable who continually pleads innocent when he or his caddie infringes the Rules. Examples include allowing caddie to tap down spike marks on line of putt, through to not noticing caddie’s infringements every time she marks his ball. Understandable when happening during a golfer’s initial rounds in Thailand, but not after round number fifty! Believes Pattaya golf should be less rules-compliant than home club.
Oblivious Type: Concerned with own performance to the exclusion of everybody else. Makes no attempt to be part of the social interaction, and no, it’s not due to a language problem. Golfers in this category tend to be between one and nine handicap, and invariably treat every dropped shot as though it had just cost them the lead at the Masters. Their biggest problem is they have lost sight of what golf in Pattaya is really about. Winning a Green Jacket it is not.
Rageaholic: Includes the club-thrower, the earth-digger and the individual who continually shows his frustration by screaming abuse, long and loud. Expressing frustration is common enough – we all do it – but when it’s done in a manner that causes discomfort to other players, or has the caddies feeling threatened, that is when the line of acceptable behaviour is crossed. To those that get off using such antics – what gives you the right to “invade” other’s space? And realise this; you’re golf’s not good enough to justify such anger, and that specifically includes low-markers!
Preciousness Personified: Don’t for god’s sake move, cough, whisper or even breath if within 100 yards of this type when he’s about to play a shot – especially when he’s on the putting green. Watch for the hissy-fit when caddies move off to the next tee, just as his snaking, downhill, 30-footer misses the cup – by miles. His sensitivity is such that whenever it’s his shot, his personal space expands to embrace half the golf course. Toughen up, princess.
Gadget Gurus: With anything from rangefinders to GPS, these guys and their gizmos can be a source of slow play, as well as annoying. Yes it’s within the Rules to use an aid to determine distance, but why wait until the flag has been replaced until measurement is taken? Use one of the players putting-out then you’re good to go when it’s your turn. Offering the rangefinder’s capabilities to others at the start of the round is good, as is sharing distance information on par-threes, providing such activity doesn’t slow the pace of play. Ball-retrievers need not be used at every water hazard. Mobiles – enough said.
Delusional Type: Inflated view of own ability, particularly in regards to how far he hits a golf ball. Often lauds his own shots, alluding to their difficulty – his 250-yard drives are always into the wind. Enjoys striding out into the fairway, stopping by your ball with a pointed “good drive” compliment, knowing his is 10 yards further on. Infuriatingly delays playing his second to – for him – an unreachable par-5, thus losing your four-ball’s place in the field. Back at the bar, is only capable of talking about his shots, his game, his ego.