Rules to embrace on your next golf trip

When planning your next golf trip or outing, in truth, there are no hard and fast rules you need to follow to have an enjoyable experience. Most importantly, back your own judgment and ensure that you always put ‘having fun at the top of your priority list. 

In saying that there are certainly some suggestions that may become rules for your future trips. If you have some potential ‘problem guys’ before you embark, make these rules well known so there will always be something to point to if issues arise.

  1. No dickheads policy

This is a unique New Zealand term, but often you will hear sports teams or groups of friends discuss a ‘no dickhead policy’ for how they put together teams or groups. Put simply; this rule is designed to stop anyone being ‘that guy’ that causes others not to enjoy their experience as much as they could be. This could include forcing others to do things they don’t want to do, pushing your own agenda too much, or simply not ‘reading the room’ that the general group is thinking. The good news is that this rule is easy to adhere to. Be a good person, and others will be good to you.

  1. Always remember that what you are doing is better than working

We have all been there at one stage or another. A perfect trip or round has been planned only for the weather to turn, or worse yet, horrible golf to be played. We have all seen that one player goes overboard in their disgust for the situation at hand, only to potentially wreck things for other players trying to enjoy their outing. 

The easiest thing to remember if you are not happy yourself is that no matter how bad the day or golf is… it’s better than working. So be a good person, make sure you don’t wreck other people’s days, and be happy that tomorrow is a new day.

  1. Leave work at home

On a similar note, leaving work and the stresses of home at home is also a noteworthy rule to try to follow. This will not always be possible for all your group members but try to avoid pulling out your phone every 5 minutes. Enjoy the company you are with and live in the moment.

  1. No teaching or coaching

Unless specifically asked, or unless your name is Butch Harmon, you are not good enough to dispense swing tips to your buddies. Very few golfers are good enough to action a tip and improve dramatically in one round or weekend. Let your buddies be. They may not have the perfect swing or approach, but then no one does.

  1. Don’t be too cheap at the expense of comfort

I am always a fan of saving money on non-golf expenses to put that money into golf, but there are some areas where I suggest drawing the line. Sharing beds is one such example.

  1. The venue is not as important as you think it is

Trying to get an agreement on what courses to play can be tough. For one person, $50 a round represents a large sum. For others, it’s $500 at Pebble Beach or nothing. My suggestion is always to play to the comfort level (both price and difficulty) of the most sensitive member of your group. If you do want around at a top-level course, this could be one of the optional rounds on your trip (see #10).

  1. Get away from gross scoring … as much as you can

We all love putting up a low number on the rare days when it happens. It’s always the most sure-fire way to have a slow and frustrating day—embrace team play and interesting formats that make every hole and shot count.

In general, it’s important to remember that you are not playing for the Green Jacket. Keep the pace of place the fun, quota up as much as you can.

  1. Confirm your gambling structure before you depart

Never leave your conversation about what you are playing for to the first tee. You risk making certain members of your group uncomfortable about what they wish to play for. By all means, have something on the line but put some money aside as part of the wider costs for the trip and collect it before you start.

9. Ensure non-golfers know their place

If you invite non-golfers, and this is typically a controversial question, ensure they know their place on the trip before they go. If the majority of the group wants to golf from dawn to dusk, ensure this is clear. Equally, ensure a non-golfer has the ability to ask questions.

10. Personal choice is paramount

Your group will not always agree on everything, and that is fine. Some players will want to play 36 holes a day. Some may want a 5-star dinner. Some may want to play for the crown jewels every round. Much like the ‘no dickheads policy,’ let your fellow players make their own calls as much as possible. If someone wants to skip an early tee time or hit a mulligan, that’s completely fine. Everyone should be entitled to have as much fun as they possibly can.

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