Although I love the game of golf, and really miss it when I can’t play, there are certain things about the game, highlighted below, which can drive me up the wall, especially during a particularly bad round. You may agree or disagree or have others of your own so let us know.

Crowd commentary

One of most enjoyable irritating traits of modern TV golf is the interesting thought-provoking things that crowds shout, like ‘In the Hole’ – on a 500yd tee shot – and the classic ‘mashed potato’. Even ‘cheeseburger’ and ‘meatloaf’ have been demanded from golf spectators. ‘Baba Booey’ is another weird shout. Apparently it’s the nickname of a chap called Gary Dell’ABate, an executive producer of the Howard Stern Radio Show – so the link to golf is obvious?  However, I really do enjoy the partisan singing and chanting on the first tee during the Solheim and Ryder Cup. I can’t wait for the new insightful yells from the galleries in the USA in September.

Prone caddies

Although I am sure that a pro-golfer needs a caddy, I can’t get excited when a caddy decides they need to lie full length on the green to look at the line of a putt. Fair enough to avoid a swarm of killer bees flying past, but not as standard practice. It’s just not cricket.

Time wasting!

I’m not usually wound up by slow rounds, particularly if I’m in a two ball behind a string of fourballs. You know it’s going be slower, so I just accept it. But I believe the real issue is being made to wait for bad practice. A recent example before lockdown was when the group ahead left bags on the wrong on the side of the green – chipped on and then walked back because they forgot their putters – clustered around the hole waiting in turn to tap in 2 inchers – started marking cards while still on the green and finally fetched their wayward luggage – slowly. Very frustrating.

Tee time protocol

My home course has two par 5s to start, which is good as it spreads us out a bit, early, or should do. But groups sometimes tee off as soon as the group in front has played their second, regardless of their starting time. On the first, we often see a group on the green, another group waiting for the green to clear and another waiting to play their second. Madness. So, by the time we get to the tricky par 3 third hole we’ve got queues that Disneyland would despair of.

Stands et al

I know pros are brilliant golfers and work hard to be so, but some free drop rules, are a bit daft. If a tour pro clatters a shot into the stand at the back of a green and the ball rebounds to land 6 ft from the pin, it’s a bonus. But if the ball comes to rest near the stand it suddenly becomes a free drop, usually from a drop zone a short clip from the pin. Now I always thought that you can’t have your cake and eat it but it appears I was wrong. It’s not like the stand is invisible, perhaps caddies need to lie on the ground to see it better. Grrrr. So I suggest a simple rule change – playing it where it lies in these situations would be greatly entertaining.

Muddy parking

After a round it’s great to shove your bag in the boot and go to the clubhouse for a sandwich and chat. But during COVID safe golf, when we couldn’t use changing rooms, it was astounding how many people cleaned their muddy golf shoes next to their car, so the next person to park in that spot stepped into a mud pile. Not nice. I prefer cleaning my shoes on the 6th Fraturday of every Julember or clean them at the car park edge.

Grumpy? Me?

I’m not as grumpy as this blog may make me seem and I’m willing to admit, that if I’m playing well, none of this bothers me in the slightest. Of course, a bad round is never my fault. I can always find a reason to blame someone or something else and I’m sure I’ve held somebody up at some point, usually after being let through on the next tee and then hitting my drive 30 yds left into the rough never to be seen again. Right now, with no golf during lockdown, I’d settle for a 30 yard drive from every tee.

Play well when you can

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Neil Hart is a co-inventor of the PuttBANDIT Ball Marker, set up PuttBANDIT Ltd with brother Paul, and plays off 13.3.

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