Reciprocity in Golf

In social psychology, reciprocity is a social norm of responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions. (Wikipedia) For the most part, it should be the basic foundation of our society, but that is a much deeper topic than I want to explore. However, reciprocity in golf is a bit lighter and really plays an important roll in the how we play golf and how the golf industry will grow.

Have you ever played in a Match Play competition where one players offers an 3 foot putt and the other player offers nothing! The first player feels slighted and quickly becomes annoyed and stops offering anything breaks either.

Or your playing in a friendly match and someone in your group is a ‘rules official’ and offers nothing after you graciously gave them a forgiving ruling. Well, this double standard flies in the face of reciprocity and the match quickly becomes less friendly.

I believe in the tenet of reciprocity at a golf course. And I believe the the first onus is on the member or player to do a good deed to make their golf course better. Many people I chat with think the golf course should do something great for them, then they will respond in kind. I am not sure the game of golf will grow if the players or members are not on at the coal face of its evolution.

Reciprocity also fits into my view of improving your 3 foot space. You have heard me discuss this before where I try to improve or positively influence the 3 foot space around my being everyday. This means doing something kind without an expectation of a reciprocal act. At my home course of Osprey Links, I believe in helping without with tournaments, bring new players to the course, volunteering to help organize something, or just picking up a piece of garbage on my course.

It is important to actively become involved in the running and operations of my golf course (as directed/guided by the GM or Superintendent) without any expectation of reciprocity. I do it because in the long run it will benefit the course and ultimately make my golfing experience better. You would be surprised how many small acts of kindness make a tremendous difference at your golf course. It positively influences the atmosphere at the course and makes it a better place to play.

If the only reason you do something nice on or off the golf course is because you expect something in return, I want to remind you of this famous quote:

Image result for famous quotes on reciprocity

Reciprocity is important, but improving your 3 foot space without the expectation of something in return is better. You would be surprised how my good will returns to you just be performing a supportive or positive act on and off your golf course.

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

4 thoughts on “Reciprocity in Golf

  1. Jim, this is true in golf and true in life. I think in his 7 habits book, Stephen Covey refers to it as paying attention to your circle of influence (what you can control) and paying less attention to your circle of concern (what other people think of you and stuff you cannot influence). If we just do the right thing whenever we can, it usually is paid back at some point. Great post, thanks.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. This goes back to the golden rule we are taught as kids. It’s “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, not wait for someone to be nice before you’re nice back. Unfortunately many people get jaded over time and forget that rule because they have been made to feel like suckers attempting to apply it one too many times. All we can do with those people is keep following the rule. Sometimes they will see the light and come around, and sometimes not. But it’s their problem, not ours.
    No tournament golf today, but I got to play. The course was soaked because it’s that time of year here. Daily downpours where the rain comes down so hard and fast the course can’t absorb it all. It makes for a tough day and can be expensive if you’re playing with top shelf golf balls. I lost 6 balls today. Two in the fairway, and four in sand traps that had after 5 in the evening still had at least a foot of standing water left over from the storms that hit the course in the morning hours. The only “expensive” ball I lost though was the first one I hit and it buried in the fairway. I didn’t pay for it, though, I found it last week. On a day like today, I get extra appreciation for those 50 cent Wilson balls from Walmart. lol


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