Behaviour on the golf course, both good and bad

By Paul Gueorgieff
Editor, Golfer Pacific NZ

Behaviour on the golf course. It’s an often-discussed subject in the clubhouse.
It’s almost always centred on bad behaviour. When was the last time you heard someone say how well someone was behaved?
And it’s almost always centred on foul language or club throwing or usually both.
First let me say that I’m no saint on the golf course. But at the same time I would like to think I tolerate my behaviour according to my company or the standing of the event.
Amongst the boys on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will admit there can be the odd expletive. Okay, a little more than the odd. And for club throwing, I’ll admit to “letting go” the club occasionally. But that’s just Tuesdays and Thursdays with the boys when the atmosphere is very much casual.
It’s casual to the extent that when we receive a fixed glare from a fellow player about to tee off because we are still talking, we usually respond: “Could you please not hit until we have finished talking.”
But when it comes to playing a tournament, interclub competition or in mixed company I think everything changes. I can’t be bothered with foul language on television and I can’t be bothered with it on the golf course.
The reason I raise this subject follows an incident in a tournament which I played over the summer. The tournament was a Wellington order-of-merit event and in other words a reasonably important one, especially for the better players.
One of the players pulled out of the two-day tournament after about nine holes because he was playing poorly. I thought this was an extremely poor attitude. We all play bad shots, we all play poorly but we all don’t give up. In fact, it is a measure of our attitude of how we can fight back, or soldier on, after a poor start.
This reminded me of an incident in another Wellington order-of-merit event a couple of years ago. A one-handicapper had a four-over par eight on the very first hole of the four-day tournament. Disastrous. He had blown his handicap for the whole tournament on the first of 72 holes. But guess what? He went on to win the tournament. Now that’s testament to great resolve.
It also reminded me how you can judge a person through their attitude on the golf course. For example, anybody can be a good winner, all smiles, pleasant etc. But how many people are good losers? That doesn’t mean you are not allowed to be disappointed but you don’t have to throw your toys out of the cot.
To be fair there are many good losers, it’s just the bad losers that are talked about.
Mmmm, I might take up sports psychology.

Sarah HeadComment