The Etiquetteist: 10 most embarrassing ways golfers lose their cool on the golf course

The seriousness of this infraction depends on how and where you launch your projectile.

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Golf is an unforgiving game, exposing the flaws in our swings and testing the limits of our temper. A reminder came last Sunday at the U.S. Open, when Grayson Murray flung his putter in frustration after carding a triple-bogey and then, a few holes later, snapped an iron across his knee.

Conduct unbecoming? Sure. But we’ve seen worse. Because juvenile behavior is bound to happen, here’s a ranking of the 10 most embarrassing ways to vent your frustration on the course.

10. Cursing

A single f-bomb is acceptable if it’s under your breath. But when you swear a long, loud blue streak, you only make an a-hole of yourself.

9. Slamming your bag with your club

This is childish stuff, but we’ll let it slide this once. Do it again, though, and you’re getting a time out.

8. Kicking and slashing bunker sand

Everything you know about golf, you learned in kindergarten. Time to read another self-help book.

7. Kicking the cart

We feel your pain. Worse news is, you probably do, too.

6. Snapping a club

As if hitting a poor shot weren’t punishment enough, you’ve decided to compound your suffering by destroying your own property. You must be someone with more money than sense.

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5. Blaming your caddie

That was not a bad read. It was a bad stroke. Laying responsibility on your looper says nothing about them and everything about you — none of it good.

4. Quitting mid-round

This is so ridiculous, it’s almost funny. Once we’re finished snickering, we’ll start the paperwork to get you enrolled in the First Tee.

3. Throwing a club

The seriousness of this infraction depends on how and where you launch your projectile. If you’ve endangered others, you should be led away in handcuffs, or at least from the grounds. If you’ve flung it harmlessly into a lake, your offense is mitigated by the fact that you are both hilarious and pathetic.

2. Spitting into the cup

Sergio Garcia did this 15 years ago and it hasn’t been forgotten. Enough said.

1. Slamming your putter into the green

In one of the lower rungs of Dante’s inferno, tortured souls wallow for eternity beneath the fetid waters of the river Styx. This is too good a place for you.


Josh Sens Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.