I feel compelled to node about this, given my recent recollection of horrible rounds of golf with strangers
from this past fall. Some of the things I will mention are purely for the mutual enjoyment
of the game by yourself and your buddies, some of the things I will mention concern life and limb. Golf can be dangerous
if you or those around you are stupid!
I know this is hard to believe, but during the last three consecutive rounds I've played with strangers, they have hit up on the group ahead of us. Over their heads once, and two screamers past the knees. I usually utter "scared the shit outta them, didn'tcha?", then avoid talking to them again. Having been beaned by a "Fore!"-less ball myself, I can tell you it ain't fun nor funny.
DON'T HIT UP ON THE GROUP AHEAD OF YOU
This shouldn't even have to be mentioned, but given my recent experiences, it must need to be said. IF you can hit a ball that goes where people are currently playing, don't hit! For most people, 250 is pretty safe. For some, 320 may be required. Being hit HURTS. For your approach shot, don't hit until they're in their carts and speeding away from the green in front of you.
YELL "FORE!" AS LOUD AS YOU CAN WHEN YOUR BALL APPROACHES PEOPLE OR UNKNOWN AREAS
Have your group watch your ball's trajectory. That's good etiquette on their part. Have them yell if it goes somewhere where people can get hit and hurt. If it goes somewhere you're unfamiliar with, yell anyway. More often than not it's still a part of the golf course. Have I mentioned that getting hit with a golf ball sucks?
DON'T STAND IN FRONT OF YOUR PLAYING PARTNERS
You'll make them nervous. They're more likely to hit a bad shot with you in front of them than they are with you behind them. You'll get them mad. Eventually, someone will hit you. You'll have no one but yourself to blame.
That's it for the "life and limb" part. Now a couple "courtesy" things:
DON'T WALK ON OTHER PEOPLE'S PUTTING LINE
This is bad. This guy's got to make this putt for bogey, and you want to screw up the line of his putt by walking on it? The greens are tough enough without a size 14 crater in the middle of it. Yes, it does matter. Don't do it. He'll only blame you if he misses it.DON'T TALK WHILE OTHERS ARE SHOOTING (duh!)
FIX BALL MARKS ON GREEN
You don't want to putt through a ball-shaped crater, do you? Why inflict it on others? You were lucky enough to hit the green, do the next guy a favor and fix the ballmark. Here's a secret to make it easy: Fix the ballmark convex, then step on it to smooth it out. Easy. Use a divot tool, they cost $1!PLAY READY GOLF
Get to or near your ball quickly. Have the club(s) ready to go. If you're ready to go, and not horribly in front of the guy behind you who isn't at his ball yet, hit it! Read the line of your putt while others outside of you are sizing up theirs. Don't overdo it, though. If the guy whose turn it "officially" is is ready to go, let him hit (quietly)! Nothing's worse than a long lag putt that woulda sunk being rejected by a whiffed, outta turn, 2-footer.DON'T BORE YOUR PLAYING PARTNERS BY TALKING INCESSANTLY ABOUT YOUR GAME
This drives anyone crazy. Just shut up! Talk about the trees, or the flowers or the chipmunks or your sex life. Beer. There, beer. There's a good topic that everyone can agree on. Do NOT talk about how bad your shots have been. They know. You're making them relive the pain and hate you more for the time you wasted. Worse, the more they hear about your bad shots, the more screwed up they'll become (remember, a golfer's mind is a fragile thing), and they'llstart playing poorly. Again, they'll only blame you.