Is there a ‘right’ way to break a golf club? The Etiquetteist has thoughts

golfer snapping a golf club over his knee

If you're going to break a club, do it out in the open

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Jason from San Francisco writes:

During a recent round, I snapped a wedge in frustration. I wasn’t proud of my action, but I gotta say, it felt pretty good. It also got me thinking: Is there a right and wrong way to break a club?

Dear Jason, 

As a longtime supporter of junior golf, the Etiquetteist is thrilled to learn of your participation in it. We need all the toddlers we can get. If that means putting up with the occasional comic tantrum, well, such is the cost of “growing the game.”

At some point in the coming years, as you mature, you may discover that golf’s many challenges can actually have a positive impact on one’s character and behavior. They can, for instance, teach patience and persistence while instilling a healthy sense of humility. For now, though, if all they inspire in you is the urge to destroy your own property, the Etiquetteist says, knock yourself out!

Hold the club horizontally, raise your dominant knee to waist-height and drive the club downward so the mid-point of the shaft strikes your leg about three to four inches above your knee cap — just take care not to hurt yourself or anyone else. A broken shaft, after all, can turn into a shiv, just as a violently severed club head can become a dangerous projectile. (For more on proper technique, here’s some guidance from seven-time PGA Tour winner Billy Horschel.) For this reason, some might recommend that club-breaking should only happen when you’re playing as a single, or discretely, in the woods, if you’re playing in a group. 

The Etiquetteist believes otherwise. Because golf is a game of honesty, it is best to be transparent. The next time you feel compelled to snap your driver across your knee, don’t wait until you’re alone, or hide behind a tree. Go full Vesuvius in plain view. Whether your playing partners find your conduct funny, pathetic or off-putting, you’ll have done them a favor by providing them with an unvarnished demonstration of who you really are.

What you draw from the experience is another matter. You might find that it feels good to break another club — a satisfying way to let off steam. Then again, over time, you might also grow embarrassed by your juvenile behavior, or regretful that you ruined a perfectly good piece of equipment. Golf clubs are expensive, and now you’ve got to beg your parents to buy you a new one.

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.