“Golf is a game of ego, but it is also a game of integrity. The most important thing is you do what is right when no one is looking.” — Tom Watson, pro golfer.
A couple of years ago, there was a picture of President Donald Trump driving a golf cart over a green on one of his courses. The president took a lot of heat for this faux pas. Everyone knows that the green should be protected from any type of abuse: ball marks, metal spikes, clubs slammed on the putting surface or any action that would incur damage to the green.
Golfers know that these types of indiscretions will not be tolerated. Anyone who has played golf for any amount of time knows there are rules of etiquette that should be observed. Examples would be: repair divots and replace the flag stick if you are the first to complete a hole; don’t stand behind players when they are hitting; rake the bunker after your shot; keep quiet while another player is hitting; dress appropriately and don't hold up the play of others.
With a focus of introducing golf to a new generation of players, a different set of etiquette rules must be addressed.
At a tournament recently, a foursome ahead of us thought they were preparing for a frat party. They had placed speakers on their cart and felt that everyone within 200 yards would appreciate some music. (I blame Rodney Dangerfield's character in "Caddy Shack" for this). If you need music to play golf, use ear plugs and play to your heart's content. Not everyone on the course wants music blaring while they are playing. And rap isn't music!
Talking on your phone and texting while playing should be at least a two-stroke penalty. Yes, there are circumstances where a player needs to be available to receive a call. But the considerate player informs his playing partners of this need in advance. The guy whose phone continues to go off during a round or feels the need to text continually should stay home or go to the office.
Tournament officials should emphasize that phones and texting are not part of the competitive round. Yes, there are times when having a phone available is the right thing to do. But when playing golf, your focus should be on the game. Have some consideration for the other players in your group.
Rangefinders (GPS devices) should be used only when a player is out practicing when the course has very few players to hold up. One aspect of the game that is disappearing is a player trying to estimate a shot to be played. Most courses have markers at the 200-, 150- and 100-yard distances. Many courses have distances to the green from sprinkler heads. How difficult is it to figure out how far is it to the hole?
I have observed players 10 yards from the green trying to get the precise distance to the pin. There is one guy who takes his rangefinder into the sand bunker to get the exact distance he needs to hit the ball.
Then you have the player who will walk to his ball, measure the distance and walk back to his cart to get a club. Please take a couple of clubs with you and then, hit the ball! It wouldn't surprise me if players use their rangefinder to measure the distance to the porta-potty! Please don’t lengthen the time it takes to play golf.
There was a time when golf’s “bad habits” were limited to excessive swearing, throwing of clubs, walking in another player’s line, giving swing advice during a round or telling your group how great you played last week while you are having difficulty breaking a hundred.
With the introduction of technology and a generation that relies upon it, parameters need to be established so it does not interfere with the play of others. Players need to think for themselves. Technology is not a bad thing; just don’t be dependent on it.
North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The Monday Night Ledgeview League (Thursday Night was rained out) played a quota in week 5 action. Taking first gross was the Golfaholic team. First net were the Drinking Tucks. Closest to the pin for the men was Keith Osborne. The ladies have a carry over. Sunday, the NHWGA will play their Spring Fling. This is a mixed event for players around the state. Monday, the Ladies’ One Day Member/Guest will be played. June 28, 29 and 30, NCCC players will compete for June Champ of the Month honors and the coveted parking spot. The Junior Program season begins July 2. Call the pro shop for more information and to sign up.
Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: A Bramble format was played in this week’s Red Fox League. Taking the top spot was the Shanks-A-Lot team. The Stan & Dan's team was second and the Pin Seekers were one stroke behind for the third spot. Chris Bates got closest to the pin while Amy Russo and Marty Killourie won the longest putt contest. The Spring 4-Ball is scheduled for June 30. Starting on Tuesday evening, June 25, at 5:30 p.m., Wentworth will be offering Family Golf Clinics for juniors ages 6-13 and their parents. Instruction will be followed with a chance to play a few holes. The basic fundamentals and etiquette will be covered. The fee is $10 per session per child. Discounted green fees will be offered for Kennett students this summer. When their Kennett ID is shown, they will have the opportunity to play for $10 after 1 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Parents are welcome to join their student for the same fee. For more information contact Bob McGraw at email@example.com.
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: Week 5 of Don Ho saw the Pin High team tie with the Bud Buggy team. Second place went to the Ball Draggers. Closest to the pin honors went to Steff Manson. Long drive winners were Ann Bennett and Tyrone Wakefield. The Thursday Night Eagle League was rained out.
Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: There was a great turnout for the Jim Hadlock Tournament. Prior to teeing off, Fryeburg Academy senior Tyler Buzzell was named the recipient of the Hadlock scholarship. Tyler also received an engraved plaque. As for golf, the winning team of Bob Prescott, Nick Whitney, Dave Stone and Brian Knipp posted a score of 60 to take first prize. The tournament prizes were presented by Brad Littlefield, and there was plenty of beef and pork handed out. The entries for the Presidents’ Cup have closed. The Men's and Ladies’ match play will begin next week.
Omni Mount Washington, Route 302, Bretton Woods, (603) 278-4653: The Annual Bretton Woods Golf Tournament will be played on Sunday, June 23. This 18-hole Scramble benefits the Omni Hotels & Resorts “Say Goodnight to Hunger” campaign. Beginning in 2016, this event has grown into a large community fundraiser. Register as an individual or a four-person team and have a great day of golf. For more information or to register call the clubhouse at (603) 278-4653 or go to brettonwoods.com/golfopen. After 4 p.m. locals can take advantage of a Twilight Special. Sunday through Thursday, locals can play 18 holes, with a cart, for $25. On Thursdays, Ladies can play in a 9 and Wine event. This is a fun social event of golf. Call the pro shop for more information or go to brettonwoods.com.
Indian Mound Golf Club, Route 16B, Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: Player-friendly 18-hole golf course with a relatively level front 9 and gentle rolling terrain back 9. They have one of the largest selection of golf equipment in the Mount Washington Valley. Their selection of drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, wedges and putters features brands that include Ping, Titleist, Cobra, Callaway, Cleveland, to name a few. You can even demo equipment or visit them during one of the several demo days we host. Indian Mound Golf Club offers instruction for all levels of the game. Whether you are an accomplished player or new to the game, the professional staff will 2assist you at accomplishing your golfing goals. Our staff takes pride in offering a personal touch to their lessons. They will also tailor any individual lesson, playing lesson, or group lesson to meet the needs of their guests. Indian Mound also offers a selection of group clinics.
In 1773, The Royal Burgess Golf Society in Edinburgh had a rule: “No member of the society pay the caddies more than one penny per round.” Gary Woodland, winner of the 2019 U.S. Open, won about $2.5 million. Most professional caddies get about 10 percent of the winnings. Not knowing the agreement between golfer and caddy, we can only guess that Brennan Little made at least $250,000. Not bad for a week of work. For those who like to handicap the tournaments, Little is from Northern Ireland, site of this year's Open Championship. Have a great weekend!