Master the Course

Tips for playing with frustrated or slow partners

By Mark Aumann
Published on

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PGA Professional Ted Eleftheriou, offers some suggestions:

  • Strive to maintain your composure

  • Don’t attempt to offer tips in a volatile situation

  • Do try to defuse the situation with positive words of encouragement

  • When all else fails, try a little humor to distract the player, like sharing a funny story

  • Regardless, keep up your normal pace and shot routine

“Remember that someone else's on-course meltdown is not your fault, so don't feel guilty about it. Make your best effort to play the best golf you can,” says Eleftheriou.

After the round is over, Eleftheriou suggests sitting down with your playing partner and explaining to them why his anger management issues or habitual slowness are creating tensions.

"Consider taking time after the round — perhaps over lunch and on a different day — and let them know you’re just not having any fun playing with them any more," Eleftheriou said. "In a non-judgmental way, describe what’s happening on the golf course and how it’s affecting everyone. Then listen and give time to respond.”

There may be other things going on in this individual’s life which is causing these reactions. Or, they simply may not be aware that their behavior was causing tension with everyone in the group.

Consider sending an email if you find it difficult to speak face-to-face. If this person is someone you would enjoy playing with again, provided they can manage their anger better or speed their pace of play, then it is well worth the risk of speaking to them.

Wherever your golf journey is heading, let’s get you there. There are nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals ready to help. Find yours at pga.com/journeys.

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