CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Want to ensure you're never invited to play with the gals? Want to really annoy your golfing buddies? Here are some sure-fire methods to become the person no one wants to be paired with.
No. 1: Be late - If your tee time is for 1 p.m., arrive at exactly 1 p.m. Let your friends warming up on the range wonder if you've forgotten about them. The suspense only adds to the fun.
No. 2: Be slow - Ready golf is overrated! When it's your turn on the tee, rummage through your bag looking for a ball or a glove. If you putt last, wait until everyone else is finished before beginning to read your putt. Then plumb bob for a few minutes. If you're a beginner, be sure to putt out every ball, even if that means racking up a 12 or 13 on each hole. Lose a ball in the woods? Hey, golf balls are expensive! It's worth an exhaustive search so be sure you've checked under every leaf. Because you're female, everyone will assume you're slow; you might as well live up to expectations. Remember: If no one's played through you yet, you're rushing.
No. 3: Be loud - If someone's hitting, use that opportunity to ask a question, adjust the Velcro on your glove, whatever. Keep your cell phone with you and use it at will. When someone's putting, walk around on the green, preferably right out of the corner of their eye. Of course, if someone else pulls one of these shenanigans on you, fix them with a withering glare and refuse to hit until they've been silenced.
No. 4: Be cheap - If you followed Rule No. 1, your partner may have already paid your greens fee. You can conveniently forget about that to save a few bucks. Never carry small bills in your wallet; this way you can bow out of tips as well. And if you bet for money, don't pay up immediately; just explain to your friend that you'll get them back some other time.
No. 5: Be serious about your partner's score - If they tell you they carded a five, be sure to point out that actually, an OB requires a two-stroke penalty. Being a stickler for the rules will gain you lots of respect. Of course, being creative with your own score offers its own brand of entertainment. Did you score an eight? Shave off a stroke or two, give yourself a six - especially if you're betting.
No. 6: Be "helpful" - Is your partner lifting her head? Should she watch out for the water on her left? Maybe she's over-swinging. She might score better if she tees her ball up a little higher next time. You'd be doing her a disservice if you didn't point out ways she could improve her game.
No. 7: Be fashion-forward - Dress codes are for snobs, so why conform? Wear short shorts, T-shirts, even jeans if you can get away with it. At the very least, show some extra skin. Golf clubs are notoriously stuffy places, and it's up to you to buck tradition.
No. 8: Be grumpy when you're losing - Now is not the time to be ladylike. Curse a lot. Throw your clubs a few times. Offer lots of excuses, and just act generally angry to be there. For maximum effect, insinuate that your poor score is somehow your partner's fault (boyfriends and husbands are famous for this). Spread the tension around - if you're having a bad day, it's only fair your partner should have one too.
No. 9: Be proud when you win - Talk about the holes your partner choked on. Wish aloud that you'd bet some money on the round. Giggle if your partner makes a poor shot. Take pride in your victory - you never know when it'll happen again.
No. 10: Be unpredictable - Just for laughs, change your tune one day and be considerate, be ready, follow golf etiquette and maintain a good attitude throughout the round, whether you're doing well or poorly. But wait, aren't those the rules for being a good golf partner? Exactly. Think of it as an investment. Just one polite and friendly round almost certainly guarantees you two or more future rounds with the same partners where you can really let your evil twin out of her cage.
Now before I get in trouble with any of my own golfing buddies, I should add that I'm lucky - my golf partners tend to be very considerate and lots of fun. Maybe that's why they're my golfing buddies. And before I get in trouble with everyone else, I'll admit that very few golfers exhibit all these bad behaviors all at once and live to golf again. But be honest: Have you ever allowed yourself one or two? I know I have.
You can learn a lot about a person by playing golf with them. Ask yourself what your golf partners are learning about you. Assuming you don't actually enjoy being annoying, that one simple question is really all you need.
May 4, 2005
Jennifer Mario is a regular contributor to the TravelGolf Network and the author of "Michelle Wie: The Making of a Champion" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2006). A graduate of Duke University, she lives in the Triangle area of North Carolina with her family.
I've been slumming it out on cheap public courses my entire life. At one point, aren't I entitled as a lifelong golfer to finally enjoy the fruits of my suffering on a well conditioned, thoughtfully designed private course from one of the game's premier architects?
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