8 golf-etiquette resolutions that will make you a more likable partner in 2023

Everyone hits bad shots. Not everyone screams or sulks about them.

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Another new year dawns with hope and expectations.

Maybe you’ll become a dead-eye putter, learn to smoke your mid-irons, gain 15 yards off the tee.

Emphasis on maybe.

Meantime, we’ve got suggestions for guaranteed improvement. All you need to do is change your attitude and conduct.

In that pragmatic spirit, here are 8 resolutions for 2023 that may or may not make you a better golfer but will make you a better partner, and maybe even a better human.

1. No more post-round play-by-play

The three most boring things on earth are: actors talking about acting, people giving you plot summaries of their dreams and golfers recounting the round that they just played. “Then on 15, I pushed my drive into a fairway bunker…”  Raise your hand and make this pledge: I promise to save this stuff for my diary.

2. Cut out the excuses

You haven’t played in months. You’re using rentals. You didn’t have a chance to whack balls on the range. There’s no better time than now to issue a gag order on these feeble rationales. To borrow from Ben Franklin: Someone who is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

megaphone talking to golf ball
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3. Forgo the griping and moping

Everyone hits bad shots. Not everyone screams or sulks about them. In 2023, become one of the latter: the few, the proud, the mature.

4. Stop talking to your partner’s ball

Yes, it’s crazy that some people get irked when you talk to their golf balls. Really, what difference does it make? Here’s the thing, though. Some golfers are deeply superstitious. You can’t control them. You can only control your own conduct. In this case, that conduct involves zipping it.

5. Always leave the course in better condition than you found it

It’s the golden rule that not everybody follows. You know the drill. A good starting point is to fix your ball mark and one other. But don’t stop there. Rake an extra footprint in the bunker. Fill a second divot. Brush splashed sand from the green.

6. Play ready golf

No sitting in the cart while your partner plays a shot. No lagging by your bag when it’s your turn to tee it up. You don’t have to rush. But you do need to be ready. And, no, the fact that you “paid good money for the round” does not give you the right to move at whatever damn pace you like.

a golf beverage cart
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7. Up your tipping game

The valet. The bag drop. The beverage cart and turn stand. We get it. At times, the gratuities get a bit…gratuitous. But what does it really cost you to toss a couple bucks to the kid who cleans your clubs or grabs your sticks from the trunk. While you’re at it, do unto others as they would do to you by treating every staffer with proper respect.

8. Cease with the unsolicited swing tips

Last we checked, your name is not Butch Harmon. Further, no one asked you. If you really want to show off your knowledge of the game, start by sparing others unsolicited advice.

Josh Sens

Golf.com 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.