The Etiquetteist: 9 safe and crafty handshake alternatives to cap your golf round

April 16, 2020

At some point, in what we hope is the not-so-distant future, golf courses will return to their traditional setups, with rakes back in the bunkers and cup liners buried underground. But one golf course tradition might be gone forever, if we follow the advice of a leading authority on social customs. No, this isn’t guidance from the game’s governing bodies. It comes from Dr. Anthony Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who recently declared: “As a society, just forget about shaking hands. We don’t need to shake hands. We’ve got to break that custom.” OK. Noted. But what happens to the good old-fashioned post-round handshake? Here are 9 alternatives for capping off a game well played.

1. The Fist Bump

Quicker and safer than a handshake, this can be done in one of two ways: like boxers, jab-touching, or kindergartners playing one-potato, two-potato. In either case, gloved hands only, please.

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2. The High Putter

Taking a page from medieval sword play — or maybe it’s more like the Four Musketeers? — form a socially distanced circle with your playing partners, raise your flat sticks and gently tap the blades.

3. The Elbow Tap

The same gesture you’ve already started using to press elevator buttons and traffic crossing signals works nicely on the golf course, too.

4. The Cap Tip

Safe, classy, simple. ‘Nuff said.

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5. The Macarena

What, you think this is any dorkier than the elbow tap? Just not on the green, OK?

6. The Heel and Toe Tap

One part Fred Couples, two parts Fred Astaire, this casual, artful move involves nothing more than a short leg extension and a quick tap-tapping of your soft-spiked shoes.

7. The Spock

At a time when non-essential physical contact has become highly illogical, few gestures make more sense than the Vulcan salute. Nerds other than Trekkies might also know this as the ‘Na-nu, na-nu,’ from Mork & Mindy, with palm held upwards, thumb outstretched and the other four fingers split down the middle.

8. The Bird

Don’t be shy. Show your partners how you really feel.

9. The Campfire

After posting a number you’d just as soon forget, douse your scorecard in hand sanitizer and set it ablaze, ideally over a metal trash can in the parking lot.

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