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My favorite player's words about golf etiquette: more important to know than actually playing.

My favorite player’s words about golf etiquette: more important to know than actually playing.

 

No doubt an important part of being a good golfer is, well, being a good player.  But the far more important part, in my opinion, is being a good playing partner.   That’s why I found this piece from Arnold Palmer worth reposting here:

10 Rules for Good Golf Etiquette

I. Don’t be the slowest player

In my casual games at Bay Hill, we get around in under four hours — and that’s in fivesomes. Evaluate your pace of play honestly and often, and if you’re consistently the slowest one in your group, you’re a slow player, period. Encourage everyone to move quickly enough so you find yourself right behind the group in front several times, both early and late in the round.

Remember the old staples of getting around in good time: Play “ready golf” (hit when ready, even if you aren’t away) until you reach the green, be prepared to play when it’s your turn on the tee and green, and never search for a lost ball for more than five minutes.

II. Keep your temper under control

In the final of the Western Pennsylvania Junior when I was 17, I let my putter fly over the gallery after missing a short putt. I won the match, but when I got in the car with my parents for the ride home, there were no congratulations, just dead silence. Eventually my father said, “If I ever see you throw a club again, you will never play in another golf tournament.” That wake-up call stayed with me. I haven’t thrown a club since.

Throwing clubs, sulking and barking profanity make everyone uneasy. We all have our moments of frustration, but the trick is to vent in an inoffensive way. For example, I often follow a bad hole by hitting the next tee shot a little harder — for better or worse.

III. Respect other people’s time

Because time is our most valuable commodity, there are few good reasons for breaking a golf date. Deciding last-minute to clean the garage on Saturday, or getting a call that the auto-repair shop can move up your appointment by a day, just doesn’t cut it.

Always make your tee times, and show up for your lesson with the pro a little early. Social functions are no exception.

IV. Repair the ground you play on

I have a penknife that’s my pet tool for fixing ball marks, but a tee or one of those two-pronged devices is fine. As for divots, replace them or use the seed mix packed on the side of your cart.

Rake bunkers like you mean it. Ever notice that the worse the bunker shot, the poorer the job a guy does raking the sand? Make the area nice and smooth — don’t leave deep furrows from the rake. Before you exit the bunker, ask yourself, Would I be upset if I had to play from that spot?

V. Be a silent partner

During one of my last tour events as a player, I noticed another pro making practice swings in my field of vision as I was getting ready to hit a shot. I stopped, walked over and reminded him (maybe too sternly) that it was my turn to play. The point is, stand still from the time a player sets himself until the ball has left the club.

Even with the advent of spikeless shoes, the etiquette rule of never walking in someone’s line of play on the putting green is an absolute. The area around the hole in particular is sacred ground. The first thing to note when you walk onto a green is the location of every ball in your group, then steer clear of their lines to the hole.

Know where to stand and when to keep quiet. Position yourself directly across or at a diagonal from a player setting up. Never stand on the line of play, either beyond the hole or directly behind the ball. When a player is about to hit a shot, think of the fairway as a cathedral, the green a library.

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This morning a link to one of these “regrets” lists appeared in my Facebook feed.  Most of it is worth remembering and, hence, reposting as a “Lessons for Kids” on the Jenkins Family Blog:

1. Not traveling when you had the chance. Traveling becomes infinitely harder the older you get, especially if you have a family and need to pay the way for three-plus people instead of just yourself.

2. Not learning another language.  You’ll kick yourself when you realize you took three years of language in high school and remember none of it.

3. Staying in a bad relationship.  No one who ever gets out of a bad relationship looks back without wishing they made the move sooner.

4. Forgoing sunscreen.  Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself.

5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.  “Nah, dude, I’ll catch Nirvana next time they come through town.” Facepalm.  NGJ: I don’t agree here.  I’ve seen the Rolling Stones and U2 live several times and I’m none the better for it.  

6. Being scared to do things.  Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of?

7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.  Too many of us spend the physical peak of our lives on the couch. When you hit 40, 50, 60, and beyond, you’ll dream of what you could have done.   NGJ: Agree with this one big time.  This is a regret I do not have, although I wish I could conquer the Dr. Pepper. 

8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.  Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then.”

9. Not quitting a terrible job.  Look, you gotta pay the bills. But if you don’t make a plan to improve your situation, you might wake up one day having spent 40 years in hell.

10. Not trying harder in school.  It’s not just that your grades play a role in determining where you end up in life. Eventually you’ll realize how neat it was to get to spend all day learning, and wish you’d paid more attention.

11. Not realizing how beautiful you were.  Too many of us spend our youth unhappy with the way we look, but the reality is, that’s when we’re our most beautiful.

12. Being afraid to say “I love you.”  When you’re old, you won’t care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt.

13. Not listening to your parents’ advice.  You don’t want to hear it when you’re young, but the infuriating truth is that most of what your parents say about life is true.

14. Spending your youth self-absorbed.  You’ll be embarrassed about it, frankly.

15. Caring too much about what other people think.  In 20 years you won’t give a darn about any of those people you once worried so much about.

16. Supporting others’ dreams over your own.  Supporting others is a beautiful thing, but not when it means you never get to shine.

17. Not moving on fast enough.  Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time.

18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.  What’s the point of re-living the anger over and over?

19. Not standing up for yourself.  Old people don’t take sh*t from anyone. Neither should you.

20. Not volunteering enough.  OK, so you probably won’t regret not volunteering Hunger Games style, but nearing the end of one’s life without having helped to make the world a better place is a great source of sadness for many.

21. Neglecting your teeth.  Brush. Floss. Get regular checkups. It will all seem so maddeningly easy when you have dentures.

22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die.  Most of us realize too late what an awesome resource grandparents are. They can explain everything you’ll ever wonder about where you came from, but only if you ask them in time.

23. Working too much.  No one looks back from their deathbed and wishes they spent more time at the office, but they do wish they spent more time with family, friends, and hobbies.

24. Not learning how to cook one awesome meal.  Knowing one drool-worthy meal will make all those dinner parties and celebrations that much more special.

25. Not stopping enough to appreciate the moment.  Young people are constantly on the go, but stopping to take it all in now and again is a good thing.

26. Failing to finish what you start.  “I had big dreams of becoming a nurse. I even signed up for the classes, but then…”

27. Never mastering one awesome party trick.  You will go to hundreds, if not thousands, of parties in your life. Wouldn’t it be cool to be the life of them all?

28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.  Don’t let them tell you, “We don’t do that.”

29. Refusing to let friendships run their course.  People grow apart. Clinging to what was, instead of acknowledging that things have changed, can be a source of ongoing agitation and sadness.

30. Not playing with your kids enough.  When you’re old, you’ll realize your kid went from wanting to play with you to wanting you out of their room in the blink of an eye.

31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love).  Knowing that you took a leap of faith at least once — even if you fell flat on your face — will be a great comfort when you’re old.

32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network.  Networking may seem like a bunch of crap when you’re young, but later on it becomes clear that it’s how so many jobs are won.

33. Worrying too much.  As Tom Petty sang, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”

34. Getting caught up in needless drama.  Who needs it?

35. Not spending enough time with loved ones.  Our time with our loved ones is finite. Make it count.

36. Never performing in front of others.  This isn’t a regret for everyone, but many elderly people wish they knew — just once — what it was like to stand in front of a crowd and show off their talents.

37. Not being grateful sooner.  It can be hard to see in the beginning, but eventually it becomes clear that every moment on this earth — from the mundane to the amazing — is a gift that we’re all so incredibly lucky to share.

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