Unacceptable Behaviour in Golf

Golf is a game of etiquette, professionalism, good manners, and fair play. Or at least I think it is! Over the past while, I have notice a change in what is considered acceptable behavior on the golf course. An increase of professional players throwing their clubs in the water, purposely breaking their clubs, and flopping their clubs out of their hands at the end of a swing seems to be growing in frequency.

I could expand the list, but I think you get my point. Personally, I do like the current trend of professionals reacting in an unacceptable manner. As the game of kings, golf is a gentlemanly game that should be respected. I believe that professional golfers should lead the way with proper and respectful behaviour on the golf course.

I realize my view might be a bit ‘old fashioned’, but I am a bit of a traditionalist. I realize that everyone loses control from time to time ( I have over the years) and I do not have the pressure of making my livelihood at golf, but the élite should demonstrate a slightly higher standard of decorum.

Here is a more extreme example from my past. I played in a military tournament where about 20 of us were trying to make a 5-man squad to represent our Base at a regional tournament. (I have talked about this military event before) I was grouped with an older player (this was about 13 years ago) and a young player. As the round progressed, the younger player became more aggressive and verbal with is reaction to his poor play. By the end of the round, he was hitting his bag as if his club was a baseball bat, throwing his clubs, his language was unacceptable in any venue, and his tantrums lasted longer and longer. When we finished, the older player reported this inappropriate behaviour to the tournament organizer and the younger player was asked not to return. This might seem harsh, but our round was not enjoyable and the poor antics did affect our game. Ultimately, who would want someone who acts so poorly representing your organization at a larger event!

My point to this diatribe, is that golf is a sport that exemplifies sportsmanship. It is a game were our behaviour is as important as our play.

Golf is a game of etiquette, professionalism, good manners, and fair play. I try every time I play to follow these tenants to ensure my round and those in my group enjoy their time on the links!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

17 thoughts on “Unacceptable Behaviour in Golf

  1. Pingback: Throwing a Golf Club | The Grateful Golfer

  2. Jim,

    I couldn’t agree more! It’s a gentleman’s game, and we should act accordingly in both the good times and the bad, in victory and defeat. It does seem that there is more inappropriate behaviour being displayed on Tour these days. I’m not sure why it’s getting worse. Is the pressure more intense? More money on the line?

    I liked the image Golf Channel showed on Jack’s birthday, after Tom defeated him at the US Open at Pebble Beach. Jack was congratulating Tom on his victory, and if you weren’t only shown that one image, you would never had known who had won because Jack had a big smile on his face. This is how golf should be.

    Cheers, and great article!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh

      You are right on many levels. Jack’s reaction says a lot about the man. As a matter of fact, our reactions in stressful and frustrating times says plenty about us as well. I guess that is one of many reasons I try to be grateful on and off the course!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, what a story and that could not have been a fun experience. No surprise that play was impacted by his poor and very selfish behaviour. I don’t like seeing the club throwing one bit. Pros set examples and youngsters emulate their favourite players. It’s great when it’s for good reasons but tough when it’s around bad behaviour. Channeling emotion isn’t always easy but it is always important.

    Thanks, Mike

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aloha Jim,

    I won’t comment about PGA or LPGA players. As you know – I play golf, I don’t watch it.

    However, I do play golf with a great many fairly ordinary people. And I’m happy to report that I don’t see much of the inappropriate behavior described. There is some ‘staring at the ground and taking deep breaths’ for sure – but our rounds are civil and enjoyable. I like it that way.

    I can’t imagine throwing a club. I can remember at least one great shot with each of them – they are my friends. Well, except for the 3-wood, it’s not my friend, but now it’s only job is to hold up my LSU headcover.

    I have noticed a decline in enforcement of the dress code. And I wonder if sloppy attire contributes to sloppy behavior. I will have to watch for that.

    A Hui Hou,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jim,
    Absolutely agree with you about this trend when it comes to professional golfers. We all have bad days on the links but the things you mention above are disrespectful to the game. Great insight!


    • Brian

      Great question. I think a bit worse over the years, but the media captures every thing. So, although the incidents have increased slightly, in my opinion, we see it more. Thus, Pros need to be wary and check their egos and control they emotions. We have all, at our own level of play, get frustrated with our games, but throwing or breaking clubs is not an answer!

      How about you? Has behaviour worsened over the years?



      • Jim, I’ll say probably about the same although the excessive coverage of Tiger has put some of his bad behavior front and center and maybe given the impression of overall worse behavior. In the last 10-15 years, fan behavior has become more unruly as well which may be driving some of the tour player sensitivity higher. Players get irritated when fans snap pictures with their phones and plyers often react to adverse behavior in different ways. The alcohol fueled Phoenix open comes to mind as does some of the catcalls directed to unpopular players like Sergio and Colin Montgomerie in the Ryder Cup. So there seems to be a coarsening across the board. Excellent subject for a dialog; thanks!



      • Brian

        As always your insight to the situation is very good. I guess there is no one reason, but there seems to be growing trend of unruliness. I hope we see a trend the other way in the future!



  6. Jim, great post, and I share your sentiments towards “respectable play”. All golfers lose their temper from time to time. Competitive natures, expectations, etc. it’s all about how you handle them, right?

    I also think it matters if you’ve had positive influences around your game via mentors/coaches or more experienced players you can watch and learn from.

    Yes PGA AND LPGA tour pros, you play a part in this!

    I last threw a club when I was 16 years old. Chucked a driver into a tree, broke the shaft. My mom said, “Good job, you have to pay for the repairs yourself”.

    And my high school golf coach would simply look at us in practices or play if we acted out with his steely gaze and say quietly, “Poise, gentlemen”.

    Great golf coach he was.

    Liked by 1 person

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