15 Common Mistakes People Make On A Golf Buddies Trip

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15 Common Mistakes People Make On A Golf Buddies Trip

August 19, 2015

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The golf trip is among the last bastions of fraternity in our culture. People move away, start families, become wrapped up in careers. The annual golf excursion becomes one of the few junctures former partners-in-crime get to revive their camaraderie. Which is why it's imperative the trip's format and foundation are flawless. From a misinformed invite to a misunderstanding of the rules, just one slip can sink the entire (friend)ship. For those planning an upcoming golf trip, recognize the following faux pas to prevent your outing from falling into such despair.

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Honorable Mention

Sharing beds on a destination outing; Wearing plaid pants or Scottish knickers; Imparting golf tips or lessons unasked; Quoting Caddyshack or Happy Gilmore more than three times per round; Going for that 3:00 a.m. taco when you have a 7:00 a.m. tee time; Teeing off at 7 a.m.

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Worrying About Finding A Prestigious Venue

Given monetary factors and family/job responsibilities, traveling is not always in the cards. A pilgrimage to Scotland or navigating Pinehurst would be ideal, but it's not integral to the golf-trip equation. Although there are myriad viable golf destinations in the U.S. and around the globe, I've found that it's the people, not the panorama, that make-or-break this event. So don't get caught up in the prestige, or possible lack thereof, in the course/destination you pick.

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Inviting Non-Golfers

This comes off as cruel, and seems to be at odds against the friendship ethos. However, one of the primary ambitions of said trip is to, you know, play golf. Speaking from personal experience, non-golfers who participate in weekend-long trips become bored within hours, often turning into a distraction and, more times than not, hurting the morale of the rest of the unlucky souls in the group.

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Wearing Matching Ensembles

This isn't Halloween, and you're not in grade school. You're an adult, dammit! Act like it. I should preface that with . . . well, in the words of Robin Williams from "Good Will Hunting": "I teach this [stuff], I didn't say I know how to do it."

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Playing Strictly Gross Format

No matter the group size or aptitude of the players, there's going to be a scoring disparity within the ranks. We want to avoid a "2000 Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach" situation as much as possible. Though I dislike the handicap scoring system, I appreciate the idea behind it. Or as much as one can "appreciate" a methodology where a scratch player owes money to a +15 because the latter shot 83 to the former's 71. Um, not that I've had any personal confrontations with that scenario . . . By all means, gross scoring should be vested into the final tally, but make sure net format has a seat at the table as well. However, you'd be dropping the ball by . . .

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Not Altering Your Handicaps Between Rounds

Using handicaps without this proviso is like having a speed limit but no highway patrol. Admittedly, there's a clear-cut dichotomy between supporters (those with a single-digit handicap) and opponents (everyone else), with the latter upset that an early round could penalize their chances for the rest of the outing. Aw, doesn't feel too good to be knocked for playing well, does it? In short, anyone against this rider is a sandbaggin' S.O.B.

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Be A Stickler On The Rules

You don't need to concede every putt, but lean towards the liberal side of the "pick it up" spectrum. Other winter rules to keep in mind: in the fairway, you can roll the ball; play out-of-bounds as lateral hazards; you can move the ball off a tree root; if you put it in the water, drop on the other side of the hazard.

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Overdoing It With The Amount Of Golf

This is the "eyes are bigger than your stomach" corollary. In one sense, you want to maximize this precious time. Conversely, if you've only played four rounds of golf the entire year, it's not constructive to your body or psyche to rack up 144 holes in four days. By all means, get as much golf in as you can, but keep in mind the ramifications of such mileage. Speaking of which . . .

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... Or The Amount of Booze

Seven years ago, I would have kicked my own butt at the thought of writing this. But as you get older, you (allegedly) gain sagacity and (definitely) lose tolerance. Chances are, you're going to have a few pops at the end of the round or into the night, so monitor the amount you consume on the course.

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Going With A Wrestling Belt As The Trophy

Like MySpace or the guy from Napolean Dynamite, wrestling championship belts were a novel idea in 2004. Alas, it's become an overused momento in the sports world. My suggestion would be to have an award that has special, singular meaning to your group. For example, in one of my golf getaways, the traveling trophy is a seat we "borrowed" from our alma mater's football stadium. Dorky, maybe, but at least it's unique.

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Texting Or Communicating With Your Significant Other When You're On The Course

I understand leaving the phone in your car/bag might be too extreme. However, put the damn screen down. Enjoy nature and the sociability. Thousands of generations have survived without texting "I luv u 2 beau" to their one and only. You can go a few hours, trust me. Which reminds me . . .

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Taking A Selfie On The Course

This could be a subhead of the former, but this godforesaken act has become an epidemic and needs to be addressed as such. You don't need to document every trivial moment of your existence. No one cares about your golf outing except the people on the course.

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Assuming Everyone Is In The Same Tax Bracket Or Is A Compulsive Gambler

As one who likes the action, I have to remind myself to pump the brakes on occasion. Remember, these are friends, and you don't want to place them in an uncomfortable fiscal position. But if you do go down this route, WHATEVER you do, don't . . .

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Start The Competition Until Everyone Ponies Up

It's amazing how many losers don't have cash on them.

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Getting Mad At Your Teammate

We all have that colleague whose competitive fire burns a tad too bright. The one who sends emails with Vince Lombardi quotes the week before the outing or wants to discuss course management. This isn't Operation Overlord; it's a couple rounds of friendly golf. Note: if you can't think of a buddy that this applies to, it means you're probably the criminal in question. And finally . . .

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Let Your Play Dictate Your Enjoyment

Remember, this is supposed to be fun. So what if you hit a few wayward shots? You're with your friends on a golf course. What more could you want?

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