Golf News

Discouragement, cheating, dress codes

Among the revelations in our behavioral survey is that not all golfers play by the same rules.

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We had questions. You had the answers.

Two weeks ago, in a column often devoted to our opinions on golf habits, we turned the tables and asked for yours. Our goal was to take your temperature on everything from breaking the dress code and breaking the rules to swinging clubs and playing slow. The questions we asked in our student survey were mostly multiple-choice, but because that format can be limiting, we also invited you to share stories about the worst academic misconduct you've seen.

You did not disappoint. Over 3,800 of you answered our questions and/or submitted anecdotes. The least we can do is compile your feedback into an easily digestible form.

In the coming weeks, we'll dive deeper into your responses and what they tell us about the game. In the meantime, you can check the survey results here. (Percentages deleted.)

Your biggest golf pet peeve is:

A little play: 65.1%

Improper maintenance of the course (unbeaten bunkers, uncorrected balls, etc.): 17.5%

Music in the lesson: 7.9%

To throw the club: 6.4%

Untucked shirts and other dress code violations: 1.3%

Other: 1.5%

No errors!: 0.3%

Which best describes your feelings about music in the lesson?

It's okay if it's kept at a low volume: 60%

There is no place for you: 30%

I love it. Let it rip: 9.7%

He was named king of golf for the day. Which dress code would you block first?

No denim: 14.1%

No t-shirts: 9.7%

No back caps: 7.6%

No cargo shorts: 4%

Everything: 38.7%

None of them: 25.8%

When playing as a guest at a private club, you must always:

Offer to cover all expenses, including lunch: 30.2%

Offer to cover only your host's caddy fee and your guest's fee: 28%

Offer to cover only your host's caddy fee: 12%

Enjoy the day as a guest without worrying about fees: 29.4%

A glove and money
Your ideas vary on how much you can donate as a guest.

getty photos

A reasonable pace for a foursome playing 18 holes is:

3:30-4 hours: 55.1%

4-4:30 hours: 37.6%

3-3:30 hours: 5.2%

4:30-5 hours: 1.5%

No matter how long it takes: 0.6%

You consider yourself to be:

Fast player: 63.1%

Slow player: 0.7%

Somewhere in between: 36.1%

If you think your opponent has just cheated, the best response is:

Ask them if they know they just broke the rules: 58.4%

Ignore: 29.9%

Call them immediately: 11.6%

Walk off the field and vow never to play with them again: 0.1%

What's your take on the rules?

Take a few liberties (first mulligan, roll the ball with a bad lie, etc.): 57.8%

Follow the rules to the tee: 34.7%

Anything goes. I play just for fun: 7.5%

If a player from another team enters yours, your response is:

Raise your hands in frustration: 52.2%

Ignore: 35.3%

Tap the ball up to send a message: 6.2%

Go to the ball: 4.25%

Kick the ball back: 2.1%

How many times do you throw clubs in frustration?

Never: 73.4%

Once in my life. I was ashamed, I did not do it again: 20.6%

Once per round: 5.9%

Most times per round: 0.2%

Which best describes your feeling about the use of the phone in the course?

Emails and calls are fine. Just be smart: 51.9%

Leave it in your bag. Golf should be an escape: 41%

Hello, it's 2024. You should be able to use your phone how and when you like: 7.1%

What is the worst ethical violation you have ever seen?

I saw a guy swing his putter after missing a putt and almost hit a playing partner. That really hurt the relationship, and he never played with us again.

Spitting sunflower seeds on the vegetables around the pit.

The front player took 5-6 practice swings, taking a divot after each swing, and he didn't replace any of them, and he didn't replace the divot when he hit the shot. Couldn't let that go without calling him.

Measuring with 3 feet like gimmes.

Six players in six different carts.

A boy driving a green golf cart. Like, he didn't know you couldn't do it. A lot of money and time goes into green maintenance, and I can only imagine if super had noticed. My brother heard from us after that.

Waiting for the green to clear 300 yards out.

Green tobacco ash.

The team in front of us is playing really slow. As we approached the par-3 9th hole tee box near the clubhouse, one player sat on the tee box to “hold” their spot while the other three entered the clubhouse for hot dogs.

The member fills his bag with various balls.

More to come in future installments of The Etiquetteist!

Josh Sens Editor

Golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a contributor to GOLF Magazine since 2004 and now contributes to all areas of GOLF. His work has been honored in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Have Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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