How to be a nicer golfer
You already search for a companion’s lost ball as intensely as if it were your own. You exclaim, “Good shot,” “Let me rake that bunker” and “The rest of that putt is good” with the best of them. Honest self-evaluation has left you feeling that on the course you’re a nice person, maybe even nicer than in real life. Yet, unlike a few people you know, your phone isn’t lighting up on Tuesday with text requests to play on the weekend. It’s those people we really want to be like—to be so loved, that our most frequent words are, “Thanks, but I already have a game.”
Is there a way to up your nice-guy game without undergoing a full personality transplant? Can the magical gravitas of the popular individual become yours, not by wholesale transformation but by better expression of the good person you truly are? We submit it can be done. Here are some of the stealth tactics we’ve observed among super-nice golfers. Fold them into your repertoire, and watch as you become a raging commodity on the weekend golf market.
ARRIVE BEARING GIFTS
▶ Load a compartment in your bag with small ephemera—old coins, ball markers from far-off places, tees stamped with the name of a legendary venue you visited—and on the fourth hole, press a couple into the hands of a companion, with a short tale of where it came from.
ROUND THE HANDICAPS UP
▶ If a pal’s Index is 12.4, and you aren’t sure if it translates to a Course Handicap of 13 or 14, don’t haggle, and for heaven’s sake don’t go back to the golf shop to look it up. Give them the 14 with a smile, and maybe a light tease.
ROUND THE PAYOFFS UP, TOO
▶ If said 12.4 beats you out of $8 and your friend doesn’t have change for the $10 bill you offer, insist he keep the whole sawbuck. Nice guys do not stop the world on its axis while they head to the bar to make change.
EXCEL AS A VALET
▶ If it’s raining and you’re riding, wipe your buddy’s cart seat before he sits down, every time. If you’re standing on the green and he’s caught without his umbrella, sidle over and shield him. If you’re walking, and a bag becomes inconveniently placed, heſt it, wordlessly, to where your pal—or even his caddie—can get to it with fewer steps.
PRAISE YOUR FELLOWS BEHIND THEIR BACKS
▶ Convey to playing partner Jack a cool aspect of playing partner Joe. Perceptions of you will go up a full notch on this alone.
AFTER EVERY WINCE, A SMILE
▶ That goes for your bad shots and theirs. We’re all dogged victims, and the prevailing mood is one of four nice people sharing bits of pain, punctuated by joy and hope.