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The 11 dumbest ways men act toward women on a golf course

June 07, 2021

John Cumming

Men may be from Mars and women may be from Venus, as the book says, but on the golf course we all should be equal. It feels archaic to even type this in 2021. But unfortunately, some men take on their most alpha-male persona when encountering females at the course. Why this is remains a mystery, but until that mystery is solved, here are a few behaviors—even if you don’t realize you’re doing—that we should avoid. Trust me, female golfers everywhere will appreciate you for ceasing such boorish behavior.

Assuming female golfers are not very good, slow or both

Come on, guys, fess up. You’re on the tee box or putting green when the starter informs you they’re filling in your group. Now to be fair, even if it’s a male we’re not usually happy about this development. But when it’s a female golfer, the eyerolls become bigger and the thoughts of a six-hour round start dancing in the head. Until, that is, they zip one past you off the first tee or play at a pace that would make a speed-walker blush. Are there some female golfers who are not very good or play slow? Sure. But there are tons more male golfers who fit that bill. Leave these postulations in the parking lot and even if proven true, exercise patience.

Zipping by the forward tee in a cart

OK, I’ve been guilty of this. And every time I smash on the brakes after realizing it, I feel like a gigantic, colossal idiot. I get that we’re all in tune with our own games, but a little awareness that you’re playing with someone teeing off from a different spot isn’t a big lift. Besides, it’s a little tough for her to smack a tee shot if her driver is on your cart 50 yards past the tee box.

Assuming female golfers only play the forward tees

“You’re playing from the ladies tees, right?” First, it’s the “forward” tees, not the ladies tees, you neanderthal. And perhaps worse than driving past the forward tee is assuming they’re playing from there in the first place. I mean, have you ever assumed a male golfer is moving up a tee or two? Didn’t think so. Fact is, there are an incredible number of talented female golfers perfectly capable of kicking your sorry ass on the course. They can choose the tee they wish to play from without your inquisition.

Being overly generous on putt concessions

You might think you’re coming across as generous and caring by raking in that five-footer for your female playing partner, even perhaps saying something you think is cute like, “No doubt you would have made that.” But it’s not cute. It’s condescending and exactly the type of behavior to avoid. Female golfers love the satisfaction of rattling home that five-footer as much as you do.

Thinking you know the right clubs for them

If you really want your wife, girlfriend or female friend to enjoy the sport, make sure they get clubs that fit their game. While we always recommend you see a qualified fitter, slower swingers should consider a driver with at least 12 degrees (or more) of loft and consider high-lofted fairway woods over hybrids. Faster female swingers likely should go the opposite route. And please don't think you're not good enough to get fit. Everyone has a swing DNA that a fitter can spot and help you find clubs to optimize your game.

Over-instructing

Martin Sundberg

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen this. “Do this, do that, aim over here, YOU’RE NOT AIMING OVER HERE!” Oof! Golf is not boot camp. If you have a relationship where instruction is welcomed, that’s tremendous. But once out on the course keep it to a minimum. Over-instructing is a turn-off in the best of circumstances, and if someone is off their game, it takes full restraint for them not to take a 9-iron to your kneecap. Enjoy the round and save the tips for practice.

Thinking every female golfer wants your help

Sadly, fact is way too many men consider a driving-range setting akin to their own personal pick-up bar. That can leave females practicing by themselves in an uncomfortable position where total strangers are (uninvitedly) offering swing tips. It is a trait that leaves me ashamed to be part of the species. So, here’s a little advice to my male brethren that take part in such behavior. Dude, you’re not Don Juan, and you’re certainly not Butch Harmon. Plus, the guess here is your own game probably could use some polish. Grab a bucket, find a spot and get to work—on your own swing.

Cozying up to the beverage cart girl

I lifted this from a previous “Dumbest Things” article, but it still applies, so get this in your thick skull. Whether you’re a dashing, debonair young man in his 20s or 30s or a 40-, 50-, 60-something pot-belly, let’s get something straight—that lovely young lady operating the beverage cart is in no way head over heels in love with you. Got it? OK. While it is perfectly fine to be polite and engage in conversation, stop the overt flirting tactics, and realize the $10 tip you dropped to impress her is as useful as setting money on fire. Stop being creepy, order a drink, chat for a moment, drop her a couple of bucks and move on. See, that wasn’t so difficult.

Over-encouraging

Encouragement from your playing companions is a key part of golf. And who doesn’t like the positive reinforcement that comes from an appropriate “nice shot.” Unfortunately, when men play with women, the encouragement tends to get a little over the top at times. You mean well, but think about it: Do you really want to hear how great your popped-up tee shot is? Not really. And neither does she. Appropriately acknowledge the good shots and commiserate with the poor. And if they’re relatively new to the game, make sure to let them know the poor shots are more than OK. We all hit them.

Assumptions, in general

The old saw about judging the book by the cover applies here. Don’t assume females want to ride instead of walk; don’t assume they don’t want a beer or a hot dog at the turn; don’t assume they want that pink golf ball you just found. Don’t assume they need you to tip the bag room personnel for them; don’t assume they only want to play just nine (or even 18). In short, if you’re about to assume something about a female golfer, just don’t.

Playing 18 holes with someone does not mean they want a hug or to go on a date with you

You've just finished a fun, enjoyable round with a female you were paired with, so what does that mean? Well, if you read the previous tip, you know the answer: assume absolutely nothing. You might have had some on-course chemistry, but don't assume that means anything more than a fun round of golf. A female in your group needn’t go through the “hug gauntlet” just because she’s a woman. Even worse is the assumption it automatically grants you the right to ask her out. If you really like the person and think the feeling might be mutual, perhaps a better option is simply to say, “Hey, that was fun. Hope we play again sometime.” The reaction you receive might offer a hint of where you stand.