Biggest pet peeves on the golf course | A Quick Nine

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T.J. Auclair,
One pet peeve mentioned by a Facebook fan was following the rules of the course -- like riding the cart on the paths only after heavy rains. That's a rule that wasn't followed in this instance.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: A Quick Nine

Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 | 10:11 a.m.

No matter how long you've played golf -- a couple of months, or several decades -- surely you've come to find that there are certain things that downright annoy you on the course. Things like cellphone talkers, club throwers, bad scorekeepers and more.

They're golf pet peeves. We all have them.

Here's one of mine: the semi-regular, 20-handicap playing partner who has made millions as an insurance broker -- and must be great with numbers, right? -- but can't seem to count past five when it comes to tallying up his score on a given hole. Buddy, I literally just saw you hit at least eight shots -- not including however many you hit from the trees -- and you're telling me you made a five!

RELATED: Golf course stereotypes



We're not alone, folks. To prove it, we posed this question to the 191,000+ strong in Facebook Nation (Join the masses by liking here): Is there a specific and common behavior on the course you'd like to wish away?

As a matter of fact, it turns out, there are many. Here are your best responses.

9. The "Do you think I can hit yet?" guy. This is the person who is far from a long hitter. Next thing you know, he's got 300+ yards left for his second shot into a par 5 with the group ahead on the green. He declares to his playing partners, "I should probably wait until they're off the green." For what?

Facebook fan quotes:

"I love the guy that hits 200 yards off the tee... Then waits for the green (250 yards away) to clear before he takes hid next shot and jams up the entire course." -- Brett Mariner

"The old guys that wait 250+ out for the green at a par 5 to clear, KNOWING that they could never reach it. Worm-burn that 3-wood 140 yards like we all KNOW you will, and move on." -- Greyson Flowers

"The men who won't play it forward or who wait for the group ahead to get about 350 off the tee then hit it about 225. Park the egos, guys." -- Rita Aguilar

Want to improve your game? Find a PGA Professional here.

8. The "Where's the beverage cart?" guy. Let's cut to the chase here -- golf is meant to be fun and relaxing. In most cases, you're there to unwind. We get that. But is it necessary to down as many beers as holes you play? Feel free to have some drinks, but can you at least pay a little attention to your playing partners who are there for the golf?

Facebook fan quotes:

"People who concentrate on the beer more than the golf. I don't mind drinking and playing. But be ready to hit when it's your turn." -- Danny Teague

"The 'The beer cart is slow' guy." -- Rob MacNett

"Drinker who is drunk long before the front nine is even done." -- Rick Smith

7. The "Since I'm not playing well, I'm not talking to anybody in the group/or I'm going to complain about everything" guy. This is one of my personal favorite golf course pet peeves. It's not the end of the world that you're not going to shoot the course record in your Sunday morning league, pal. It's never happened before, so why did you think it would happen today? Relax.

Facebook fan quotes:

"The 'I'll shut down and stop talking to you when I'm playing bad' guy... Dude turns a casual, friendly round into four hours of silent awkwardness." -- Jason Newsome

"Aggressive golfers who expect every shot to be perfect. It effects your game poorly and kills the vibe for others. I know right away if I block, pull, etc. Just shake your head. Take a correct swing and get off the tee box. Nobody wants to hear about what you did wrong before they are teeing up." -- Thomas Lavin

"Any kind of childish temperamental behavior; club throwing, slamming the ground, excessive swearing, blaming, shutting down." -- Bill Coe

6. The "Leave the green messy" guy. This is the person who refuses to fix their ball mark on the green. The person who thinks spitting their sunflower seeds, tapping the ashes off their cigarettes or cigars, or expectorates their smokeless tobacco on the green is actually helping the superintendent with some special kind of fertilizer. It's gross. Even Jason Dufner wouldn't do that!

Facebook fan quotes:

"Fix your ball marks on the green! Geez!" -- Brian Hicks

"The 'sunflower seed on the green spitter' guy and the 'cigarette butts left all over the course' guy... pigs." -- John Boutet

"Sunflower seed shells on the green!" -- Linda Kawaguchi

"Spitting on the greens is a No No! Please don't spit where everyone's ball has to roll." -- Stephen Shreeve

"Not knocking sand off shoes after coming out if green side bunker. So there are foot prints across the green." -- Scott Fleischer

"'Golfers' who don't know how to walk on a green, leaving drag marks from their shoes because they are too lazy to pick up their feet, along with not repairing ball marks on the greens." -- Tom Groome

"Not fixing ball marks and people dragging their feet on the greens. Also the guy who complains about ball marks but never fixes any." -- Jason Borowski

RELATED: Check this out to brush up on your golf etiquette

5. The "Member who acts like he owns the course" guy. As you'll see, we even have a course superintendent weighing in on this one. The point we're getting at here is that your membership -- no matter how much you paid for it -- does not mean you have a free pass to follow your own set of rules. You spent $15,000 this year for a course membership? Business must be going well. Congratulations. But, you still have to follow the same rules as the person who just spent $100 on greens fees to play your course. Treat others the way you'd like to be treated and treat your golf course the way you'd like others to treat it.

Facebook fan quotes:

"I am a course superintendent and my beef is with the members who think they own the course and won't obey any rules. Such as: NO CARTS IN FAIRWAYS. Especially when they're wet from rain. And not repairing ball marks on my new greens! The public non-members obey all the above usually. Members of all courses -- have some respect." -- John Gwyn

"Those who don't fix ball marks, replace divots, or drive the cart wherever they want, including as close to the green as humanly possible. Yet these will be the first people to complain about course conditions." -- Seth Zipay

4. The "One second... let me count up my strokes" guy. I mentioned this one in the opening and I'm glad to see I'm not alone. Let's call it what it is -- cheating. New rule: If you've hit so many shots on a given hole that you've lost track, just pick it up and take an "X." 

Facebook fan quotes:

"The one that has to stand on the green and replay the hole to count his strokes." -- Doug Hart

"The behavior I dislike is cheating in High School golf! As one athlete said to my son when he questioned his score on a hole 'don't worry about it, everyone cheats.' SAD! My boys have worked hard to get to this level and then have to play with fake scorers. Parents should stop pushing their kids to win no matter the cost. Golf is a game of ethics!" -- Tammy Fones-Smock

"People who shave strokes with a straight face!" -- Robert de Venecia

"People who give themselves 3+ foot putts and the 'I had a 6' golfer who in reality had a 7 or 8." -- Dan Gilbert

RELATED: Your rules on gimme putts

3. The "Oblivious to the open holes in front of us and the people on our tail" guy. Why do people have such a hard time admitting to themselves that they're tedious or slow on the golf course? Has anyone ever had a good time knowing they're holding people up? I sure don't take any pleasure in it. In fact, when I'm stuck in a slow group, I'm downright antsy and I can't enjoy the golf. I always speak up. You should do the same. If your group is slow and behind, let the folks on your tail play through. Not only is it the right thing today, but also it likely says on your scorecard, "Let faster groups play through."

Facebook fan quotes:

"This is great! Mine would be the foursome of hackers that won't let you through even though there are two of you and you waited for them on every set of shots for like three holes!" -- Josh Ash

"Bad golfers can play easily in four hours (picking up if you have to). I have only been golfing 10 years and I am 69 years old. I walk the course carrying my bag. I have never held anyone up on the course (and I have never had to pick up). The very odd time that I am slower than the group in front, I have let people through (maybe a dozen times). Even as a new golfer I have had groups behind me walk up and thank me for our pace of play." -- Bill Coe

"Impatient players behind us or stallers in front of us." -- Peg Leslie

2. The "Cellphone talker" guy. Aren't you on the course for a little peace and quiet? You know, to get away from it all for a while? Why then must you constantly be on or checking your cellphone?

Facebook fan quotes:

"Cellphone talker. Are you playing golf, or making everyone else deal with your work?" -- Cary Hendrix

"Cell phones. If you think you're that important, go back to the office and spare us." -- Steve O. Campbell

"Definitely cell phone use." -- Phillip Werner

"Those annoying rich dads that talk on their ear piece during mine and everyone else's shots. And then the kid crying after a 7." -- Ryan Kent Jr.

READ: Most annoying golf partners

1. The "Good Lord, they're pairing a woman up with us" guy. The outrage! I think we've all been in a situation, where someone in your twosome or threesome sees that the starter has added a lady to fill out your group. You hear the groans, or at least feel the displeasure. Moments after tee off -- and it almost never fails -- while the tough guys are looking for their golf balls in the woods, the lady is kindly waiting to hit her shot from the middle of the fairway. Guys, let's get over ourselves, OK?

Facebook fan quotes:

"I'd like to be rid of the eye roll when men get paired with me. That 'crap, it's a girl' look. But I have to admit that I love the second look 'crap, it's a good girl!'" -- Shaun Albrektsen Eldridge

"A player with no respect or courtesy for his playing partners." -- Rhys Walton

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair. Follow PGA on Facebook.


T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.



we all have horror stories about slow play and other things, but i also dislike the guys who believe they can come out on the first nice weekend of the year and can play a round under 4 hours because they have to be someplace else. as the article suggests, golf is where you go to get away from it all. if you're playing on a packed munie, you'll certainly be away from it all that much longer. there's no sense in griping about it!

we were playing one father's day. 2 of us had duffed our tee shots on the 3rd hole and the other 2 had hooked them behind the pines on the hill. when i turned around the next 4-some was already on the tee, 3 women and an elderly man. they said they had to get back to the clubhouse to set up for a birthday party. i let them play through. (they looked like they were playing motorized polo). when we got to the 9th green, i found a matching ping 9- and 5-iron lying beside the bunker. on the 10th, i sliced one into a patch of tall grass that separated #10 from #12. as i was approaching my ball, a man coming down #12 asked me if i had seen a ping 9-iron. i told him it was at the clubhouse with his 5-iron. (he hadn't even missed it!) but what he said left me shaking my head. he said the women behind them kept hitting into them. they were driving them like cattle.

none of us like long days on the course. but those no need to make it any worse for others.


Players who give themselves 3+foot putts as 'gimmies"...
Not fixing pitch marks on greens or surrounds. These dolts are too stupid to realize this adds to the cost of maintenance and drives up the price of golf
Leaving trash on the course..."they have people who clean that up"..UGH
The guy that refuses to walk across the fairway to his ball, waits in cart.
"Who's away"...Hey dummy, it's a one yard difference. If you're ready, hit your shot.
"not taking more than one club then walking to ball. Then having to return to cart for more clubs.
Pow..Into the thickest of woods. Won't hit provisional. Says, "I can find that". Then wants to return to tee or back to where errant shot was hit.
Is closest to hole on green. Won't pull flag when all players are also on green.
Does not put cell phone on vibrate.
Is slowest player in the group who then says "hey let's pick it up, fellas"...


People who:

have to clean their club, walk to their bag, put on their cover, then get in the cart and go, instead of getting in the cart and going, then doing the other things before hitting their next shot.

who must record the scores while sitting next to the green.

must ride in the cart to every shot, instead of walking ahead while their partner is hitting.

improve their lie; don't hole their putts; don't play by the rules concerning lost balls,unplayable lies, hazards, etc.

look for a lost ball, beyond the five-minute limit.

Thanks for this opportunity!


How about ALL those that say they play golf yet on just about every shot improve their lie I don't know what you all that game other than cheat yourself yet most carry a USGA handicap






How about the single or twosome that comes out and expects to play through when your foursome has been waiting on every hole for the group ahead? Are they going to expect for every group to let them through? You are not playing through if there is nowhere for you to go.


The worst is the guy who take forever to hit his shot. Then he hits a horrible shot and then after he hits your all ready to play (because he took so long) and just as you he he lets out a screech because he hit a bad shot. I play in a league we have a couple guys who take forever, we have no real prozes just golf balls, but they act like they are playing for a million of each sht. Then one shot they mutter after they hit in the would and mutting contiues for quite some time, but also they complain when they hit it on the green as if they expected to hit it to 3 inches and they still mutter. I can put up with it if when their talking to themselves they are quiet when I play.


I play 3 times a week and walk.It takes my threesome 3 hrs to play 18.We dont rush, simply go to our balls and are ready to play when its our turn.So why does it take people who ride any where from 4 -41/2 hrs on a good day to play 18.And oh by the way Please replace divots, fix ball marks,and rake out the bunkers.Also jokes and ribbing are allowed


lol I once ask a guy that I consider a friend if he was going to talk while I was hitting all day long. He said yes and I walked off the course. There are so many people that have not a hint


please do not get me started People that walk behind me or move when I am hitting. From the time I pull my club until I hit is my time be still and shut up. That includes no talking or moving while I take my practice strokes on the green, Please dont slam your clubs in your bag while I am hitting. Mark your ball I do not care if its in my way or not it bugs me. Do not stand behind the hole while I am putting that includes putting the flagstick there all I want to see is the hole. I know its only a three footer but get the hell away from me once again its my time let me put. Hey I do Mischell Wie all the time when I am done I leave the green so I do not bother anyone. What a wonderful article thankyou for my rant. I have needed this opportunity for a long time


How about "Person that doesn't think any of those pet peeves apply to him/her"?