28 of the most annoying pet peeves in golf, according to golfers

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There are lots of rules in golf. Many written, others unwritten. You’d be forgiven for not remembering them all, but there are some that are particularly annoying to playing partners when golfers don’t abide by them.

But what’s the most annoying, biggest pet peeve of them all? I put the question to members of our How To Hit Every Shot Facebook group, a free instruction community that you can join yourself right here. Here’s what they came back with.

1. Stepping in your playing partner’s line

My personal biggest pet peeve and it’s not even close. Don’t step in my line.

2. Courses that allow fivesomes

One caveat: Fivesomes aren’t inherently a problem in and of themselves. Fivesomes that don’t keep pace, which very rarely happens, are.

3. Not fixing pitch marks

Just a blatant lack of consideration for the course and others.

4. Not letting faster groups play through

Don’t be that group.

5. Skipping ahead a hole then holding up the group behind

No, you’re not being smart. You’re being rude.

6. Smokers throwing butts and cigars all over the course

Hadn’t considered this one because I’m not a smoker myself, but this is a good one. When I’m walking down a beautiful green fairway, I don’t want to see a discarded cigar butt.

7. Unlevel tee boxes

At risk of sounding snobbish: I know it’s expensive for courses to do this, but it really is annoying.

8. Backswing talkers

I’m sure what you’re about to say can wait literally three seconds.

9. Taking a long time to hit short putts

Especially when they end up missing them.

10. People who give themselves putts

Yeah, that’s not cool, especially if it’s a match. It’s the opponent’s call whether that putt you want to scoop up is good.

11. General slow play

As I’ve written about before: It doesn’t matter how good you are — you’ll be fun to play with if you play fast.

12. Poorly maintained bunkers

Nothing worse than a bunker that’s flooded or has almost no sand in it. Borderline unplayable.

13. People who don’t rake bunkers properly

Take five extra seconds so the person in the group behind doesn’t end up in your footprint.

14. Hitting your ball into the rough and not finding it

I’m not talking about crazy rough. I’m talking about normal rough, just off the fairway. Ohh boy is that annoying.

15. When another group accidentally hits your ball

Don’t ruin somebody else’s round. Just make sure to check the ball you’re about to hit is actually yours.

16. People who play preferred lies

It’s sort of the whole point to not fluff-up your lie when you hit a bad drive into the rough.

17. Greens bumpy and slow

We’re not talking about needing lightning fast greens here. We’re talking about greens that are in reality more like fairways.

18. Empty water coolers

What am I supposed to drink?

19. Empty ball cleaners

How am I suppose to clean my ball?

20. People who think half sets are cool

This is personal for me. (And to GOLF’s chief photographer and visual editor — whom I argue frequently with about this — you’re costing yourself shots!)

21. When driving ranges don’t have setups for lefties

Can’t relate to this one, but apparently it’s a thing.

22. People who don’t yell ‘Fore’

It’s a safety issue!

23. Not repairing divots

Because then if I hit my drive into one, I’ll be extra annoyed.

24. When somebody hits their ball into your fairway…

…And then comes barreling in like they own the place. At least look both ways.

25. Getting paired up without an option to play alone

If there’s room on the tee sheet, why not? Sometimes I just want to play as a single, is that so bad?

26. Not paying attention to where your shadow is

This is a real, annoying thing, which also makes me realize how silly golf can be sometimes.

27. Constant shot narration

I don’t particular care how unlucky you got on that one, to be honest.

28. People who use a poker chip to mark their ball

It’s so big, use something more discrete!


Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.