“My Life as a Golf Marshall” :The Bane of Golf Marshalls: Lack of Etiquette

Given that the prime responsibility of a golf Marshall is keeping the pace of play on track what causes the majority of threats to a good pace?

  • Multiple Practice Swings: I don’t know how many times I have felt like yelling “Just hit the ball!”. It is actually painful for some Marshalls and maddening for others to watch a golfer take more than one practice swing. I have seen some golfers take 5 practice swings. The more practice swings a golfer takes the more time is wasted. RUDE!
  • Excessive SetUp Time: Again this is a selfish time waster. Walking up to the ball, Wiggling the butt. Holding up the club like a divining rod. In other words getting comfortable as the clock tics. RUDE.
  • Not keeping an eye behind and in front of you: If you notice golfers waiting on the tee behind you the chances are you are playing too slowly. Generally speaking 12 minutes per hole is considered normal. Now it could be the case there is a single or double behind you and since they play faster they catch up. If your course permits a play through let them play through. You can always ask the Marshall if you are” on pace”. Also remember you should always have sight of the golfers in front of you. If you can’t see them chances are you are too slow. Again if in doubt ask the Marshall who has a time sheet showing according to tee-off times where you should be on the course.
  • Looking for Balls: Of course no one likes losing a ball but please limit your time to no more than a minute as you are slowing the pace. RUDE.
  • Grouping: This happens when the group of golfers groups around each hitter then the crowd moves to the next to watch them hit. Nice and social but slow and RUDE.
  • Listen to the Marshall: A Marshall’s job highly depends on moving the pace of play and since the Marshall can quickly move about the course and get the complete picture they know who the laggards are while you may automatically blame the party ahead of you. For example some unhappy golfers were vociferously complaining to me about the slow golfers just ahead of them. Well I had to fast forward through 8 holes to find the laggard.
  • Help the Marshall: A Marshall appreciates a golfer pointing out lack of etiquette about golfers on the course. Sort of like an early warning of a pace disaster.
  • Mind the Gap: If you have a gap of a hole or two ahead of you chances are you are causing a jam up behind you.
  • Arrive on Time:  It is only courteous to arrive in time to be adequately “processed” at the Pro-Shop. Most golfers should arrive at least 15 minutes before their tee-off time.
  • Be polite: I have seen a few loud squabbles and suffered racist abuse by rude golfers. It bounces off my skin, which is white by the way, but other golfers can be sensitive so put a lid on it. Watch your language if you are golfing with strangers that might not appreciate the vocabulary you’d use amongst friends.
  • Easy on the Booze and Cannabis: These substances can break down inhibitions and turn people nasty. If you are one of these people restrain yourself please.
  • Being Mindful of who you are golfing with: This is rather self explanatory but I once encountered some gruff dope smokers who were paired up with two 10-year-olds. Mommy didn’t like this and phoned the Pro-Shop to complain.
  • You Are Not Self Entitled: Thankfully there are but a few golfers who pay their green fees and think this entitles them to do AS THEY WISH. Rude and More RUDE!

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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