The best way to give someone golf advice without annoying them

Golf playing partners

We’ve all played those rounds with a buddy who can’t seem to get it going. Every shot is a bad one, and they’re struggling to have fun. The easiest fix for them to go get a lesson, but when you’re halfway through a round, that’s not much help. What’s the best way to give them some advice that might help them, without annoying them? Enter GOLF’s resident mid-handicaps, who are here to offer some helpful advice, golfer-to-golfer.

1. Wait for them to ask you

Tim Reilly, (11.4 handicap): No one likes the playing partner who gives unsolicited advice about every little thing wrong with your golf game. That’s too much, and too many swing thoughts. I’m not looking to have a mid-round lesson.

If there’s something just egregiously wrong with my swing and you can sense I’m just not comprehending it, I’m all ears. For the most part, I prefer playing partners to wait for me to ask for help. That’s when I’m truly ready to listen.

(Also, you have to be a better golfer than me or your advice is going in one ear and out the other).

2. Keep it quick

Josh Berhow, (17.1 handicap): Here’s one important thing to know about bogey golfers: Many of them — myself included! — were once much better than their current form (or at least swear they were), so they are a proud bunch.

Don’t give us a tip unless we ask for it, or you feel like you can do it in a subtle way without getting us even more upset after our latest slice into the woods. If you are going to give a tip, don’t be condescending, and make it quick, unless it’s after the round. Oh, and make sure you are better than us.

We don’t need or want your advice after you just four-putted for a 104.

3. Wait until after they hit their shot

James Colgan, (17.2 handicap): The ONLY ways to give advice without being obnoxious are to either 1) wait until someone asks for it or 2) be a really good golfer (we’re talking a scratch or plus-handicap).

If you’re in neither of those categories but notice something very wrong (and easily fixable) in someone’s swing, I’m a big supporter of waiting until your struggling buddy has taken his shot and then saying, “hey, hit another one and try doing this differently.”

This way, you’re not penalizing anyone for a mishit and still giving an opportunity to fix the game.

Tim Reilly Photographer

Reilly is GOLF’s social-media editor. In September 2017, he took over the reins to the brand’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. He manages GOLF’s short- and long-term social strategy and produces social video content. Beyond the social space, he contributes to and GOLF Magazine as a writer. His ranking of the best golf scenes in Seinfeld is his magnum opus.

Josh_Berhow_webheadshot.jpg Editor

Berhow is the managing editor at, the site’s primary homepage editor and the edit team’s on-site lead during major-tournament weeks. He plans the site’s daily coverage, marquee story placement and long-term content rollout for magazine pieces and special projects. He writes for both the website and magazine, edits and assigns stories. Berhow also contributes to podcasts and appears on camera for a variety of digital programming. The Minnesota native attended Minnesota State in Mankato.

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