4 questions to always ask your playing partners before teeing it up
Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they face along the way.
I’m not sure how you feel about teeing it up with first-time playing partners, but I know it always makes me a little bit socially awkward and/or shy — which aren’t usually words people would often use to describe me.
First off, there’s always a little bit of added pressure playing with newbies, as you have no idea what the gap is between skill levels of each golfer in the group. There’s also the matter of what tees people are playing from. Finally, there’s that feeling-out period where conversation is on pause until you get deeper into the round — and see how seriously everyone’s taking each shot.
You might have your own specific stressors, but I tend to see many amateurs have similar emotions when golfing with new playing partners for the first time.
To help alleviate some of that golf anxiety and avoid any confusion or (possible) rules violations, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sarah Stone says there are a handful of golf questions you should always ask prior to taking your first shot on hole No. 1.
By following her suggestions, Stone says each player will be on the same page, which will hopefully allow for a fun, fast, and friendly round — without uncertainty that can cause an added layer of distraction between shots.
Check out her tips below!
Ask these golf questions prior to teeing off
As a teacher, I’m always surprised by how often players forget to communicate before teeing off with a foursome — especially a new group of people who they haven’t played with before.
While there’s bound to be a little miscommunication on the course, some of these issues (many, in fact!) could be avoided had everyone simply asked and answered some common golf questions before teeing off.
That’s why I recommend that my players ask the below to one another on their way to the first tee; so I hope this helps you as well!
What tends to bother you on the course?
We all have our personal triggers on the course — like people standing behind you while teeing off, talking while hitting, walking ahead of you when hitting, rattling their clubs, etc.
My suggestion is to clarify what it is that bothers you before you tee off.
For instance, I personally can’t hit when anyone in my foursome creeps up the right side of the course while I’m at address. By letting a new foursome know this, it will help set the tone for everyone in the group to share their own complaints ahead of time.
How close is our gimme putt for today?
We hate to admit it, but we all give putts to varying degrees — especially if we’re playing a more casual round with our friends or family. So on the way to the first tee box, make a group decision on what is that distance for the day.
Is it a putter length or inside of a foot?
Discussing this before teeing off gives the group a guide on when to say, “that’s good, go ahead and pick up.”
Are we playing ready golf or honors?
I would always lean towards ready golf — meaning, whoever is ready to hit goes ahead and does so. Honors is usually for lowest score and used in match play. That said, I do think that anyone who birdies a hole should always have honors on the next tee box. That’s an accomplishment worth celebrating, so let that player have their moment to shine.
Who’s keeping score?
There are lots of apps out there (like GreenLogix or Game Golf) that keep track of scores and help with tracking distances or shot analysis — which many individuals prefer to use on their own. But some of us just love using a good old fashioned paper scorecard that’s often clipped on the steering wheel of the cart.
While keeping your own score and stats is useful information for your own improvement, I always suggest having one person in each group tally up each shot after every hole just to keep everyone honest. Plus, this is a good way to add some drama if scores are close towards the end of each round.
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