There is nothing like marshalling that often draws out the extrovert out of the introvert. Most golfers are devout adherents to the sport and love chatting about all things golf. Having the golfers know you are marshalling to keep the flow steady is important and I think it generates more respect than herding them like naughty sheep. So it is the role of a Marshall to be a diplomat and if you like that style it requires a bit of being a conversationalist, confidant , encourager and strategist . Now does this Marshall chit chat distract the golfer? I don’t think so. After awhile you begin to recognize regulars and establish a deeper relationship with them.
Yet there are the silent Marshall types that watch, fill a chart and about the only time they engage with golfers is to tell them to speed things up. Well that makes the Marshall seem more authoritarian and distant and may lead towards hostility towards an authoritarian figure. One golfer approached me and said,” You are the first Marshall that has spoken to me in 15 years!” That is a good sign. I take the time to chit chat with almost all the golfers I encounter. We exchange stories and I hope to convey the feeling I am “with them”. I really do not accept my own golfing experience of having old men Marshalls only saying pick up your pace. I rather resent them as not understanding that it is not me at fault but some distant foursome ahead of my group. My position is I am on your team and I’ll chase down the laggards and will return to all of you behind the laggards to tell you I have asked them to pick up their game. The Marshall should realise their job is customer service and not the laying down of the law.
What I have heard and experienced a “dickhead Marshall” and there are many at private clubs and this may be because the shit they take from “entitled” and wealthy golfers. There is one club just outside of Toronto where the Chief Marshall (from the Caribbean) was called a shoeshine boy by a “dickhead golfer”. In a public club more diplomatic Marshalling is required. Quite frankly playing the heavy tough Marshall in a public course amounts to asking for termination. Let me put it this way if you are a “dickhead” golfer go ahead and humiliate a Marshall if it makes you feel powerful but in the end you are making a fool of yourself. If you are “dickhead Marshall” do so at your peril. The only people that love a “dickhead” are the “dickheads” themselves!