This article first appeared on Golfshake.com in Feb 2017
We can, of course, all choose our friends. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to choose the people we play golf with, especially when it comes to the monthly medal, considering most clubs insist on a random draw.
1 The rules expert. You really don’t want to find yourself paired with this individual because he will spend the entire round telling you that you can’t do this, you can’t do that. “No, that’s not right. You don’t get a free drop. Actually, I think you will find it is a 25-shot penalty!” And if you question him, out comes the rule book and, lo and behold, he is right. Always!
2 The change jangler. You are standing over your ball and behind you all that you can hear is the jangling of change in his pocket by one of your playing partners. If it was one of your regular partners, you would tell him to pack it in – in fact, if it was one of your regular playing partners, he just wouldn’t do it. Do you say anything? Do you back away from the ball and give him the evil eye?
3 The cougher. Seve Ballesteros had an infuriating habit of constantly clearing his throat and/or coughing when his opponents were playing their shots. He seemed to especially suffer from this affliction when playing in the Ryder Cup. Most golf clubs also have serial coughers.
4 The joker. Spends 18 holes cracking jokes, 99.9% of which you have either heard before or are not funny. It’s banter all the way and you come off the 18th green with the worst score you have ever recorded – and a splitting headache.
5 The equipment fiend. If there is a new driver on the market, this player has it. He has just been to see the professional and is playing with a set of new custom-built clubs. His waterproof suit cost a fortune, his clubs are carried in a tournament-size bag and his trolley is remote-controlled. Oh yes, and he is the worst golfer at the club.
6 The fashionista. Ian Poulter has a great deal to answer for. Pink trousers? Tartan trousers? Lime green top? And the guy who wears them is never a good player. What goes through their minds? What do they see when they look in the mirror that the rest of us don’t?
7 The best friend. This is the guy who praises every shot you hit, tells you that you have a great swing and tells you that your ball is fine when you know that you have just seen it head straight into the middle of a bush.
8 The child. “For goodness sake, why does it always happen to me?” This golfer believes he or she is the only man or woman whose putts slide by the hole, whose ball goes out of bounds by two inches, who finds every fairway bunker. As the round progresses, he gets quieter and quieter until, by the end, he is in full sulk mode, signs his card, makes his excuses and leaves: muttering something about giving up for ever. Of course, he will be back next week – and the following!
9 Billy The Kid. Otherwise known as The Bandit, this is the golfer who plays off a handicap of around 19 but who somehow manages to stripe the ball 250 yards down the middle, never duffs a shot, always gets out of bunkers first time and putts like Jordan Spieth. He wins lots of competitions but his handicap never seems to come down. And he always signs for his net 61 by saying: “I have never played like that before in my life.” But he does – all the time.
10 The Incredible Hulk. Some people forget that the reason they play golf is because they are meant to enjoy it, and their behavior often means that all of those who play with him (it is always a him) don’t get to enjoy their golf either. He throws golf clubs, he swears (often while you are playing your shot) and is a thoroughly miserable individual. When you play with him you are never going to win the monthly medal – unless you pack your ears with cotton wool so that you can’t hear him
11 The changing-room malingerer. We all know several of these guys. At the end of the round he spends longer than anybody else putting his clubs in the boot of his car, and then he disappears into the changing rooms where he uses the toilet, washes his hands, combs his hair, studies every notice on the board, washes his hands again, combs his hair – anything, in fact, to avoid getting into the bar first and thus avoiding having to buy a drink. And when it’s his turn to buy a round, he looks at his watch, tells you he needs to go and heads off without buying a drink. Again!
12 The hazard spotter. You are standing on the 15th tee, putting a good score together, and suddenly he turns round to you and says: “Out of bounds on the right here, but you will be fine because you never slice the ball.” And he is correct. You always hit the ball with a draw, and your bad shot is a duck hook. You have never even noticed that out of bounds area before. But you know what comes next, don’t you? A wild slice, ball disappears out of bounds and your card is wrecked. “Blimey, I’ve never seen you do that before!”
13 The dodgy counter. He finishes the hole and you see him standing on the green looking back down the fairway pointedly counting out the shots he has had. You know he has taken eight shots to hole out. “How many Dave?” you ask. “Six,” he replies, with a straight face. You tell him that you think it was actually an eight. He stares down the fairway and goes through the process again. “Sorry, yes you are right.” Now, anybody can make a mistake. But on every single hole?
14 The cheat. Nothing more needs to be said. Just don’t turn a blind eye to it – report him. And challenge him when he “finds” his ball in the rough while you are actually standing on it!
15 The know-it-all. God help you if you are drawn with this particular character. He knows everything there is to know about every subject under the sun. And what he doesn’t know, he makes up. What is even worse is that at some point in the round he will tell you what you are doing wrong. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!