THERE isn’t a golfer on the planet that doesn’t expect to hit an 8-iron, from the middle of the fairway onto the green. It’s one of those shots that you play the game for and sets the benchmark for how well you’re playing.
But some people react better than others if they don’t find the green.
I once watched a golfer miss the green by 20 metres with an 8-iron from the middle of the fairway. He let rip with a few profanities, threw the golf club 20 metres into the left rough, and then proceeded to kick the living daylights out of his golf bag.
To be honest, he’d had a bad run over the last few holes and had all but snatched a bad round from the jaws of a good one - but all the same, his reaction was extraordinary.
Here we were, playing for a dozen balls, in an insignificant stableford competition at an obscure golf course in suburban Australia and this bloke reacted like the gates of Castle Black had just been breached.
After slamming away his club, he realised his kicking had blown the lid off his suncream bottle. A thick layer of SPF 30+ now caked the inside if his golf bag. Balls, tees and gloves included.
It was a sweet punishment by the golfing gods for someone who had somehow mistaken the Tuesday morning competition for The Masters, and their golf game for Greg Norman’s.
And golf rage is unfortunately, not uncommon.
Every golf or social club has at least two or three golfers who can turn an enjoyable round of golf into an ugly one with embarassing behaviour such as swearing, club throwing, ball kicking, sign stamping or - even worse - extreme passive-aggressive silent rage.
Many members will only begrudgingly play alongside them, while others refuse altogether.
But it’s not like the professionals are great role models for keeping one's temper.
Tiger Woods is rumoured to be the most fined golfer on the PGA Tour. You may remember he launched his driver into the ground before it bounced into the crowd at the 2009 Australian Masters.
Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Charley Hoffman and perhaps not surprisingly John Daly have been known to spit the dummy and throw a golf club or two.
John Daly’s putter adorns the wall in the Coolum Resort clubhouse after it was retrieved from the water hazard after following the 2002 Australian PGA Championship.
Daly self-destructed after a disagreement with Greg Norman, Craig Parry and tournament officials earlier in the round and stormed off the golf course without signing his card and leaving his clubs behind.
Bobby Jones was known to throw clubs and have a foul temper, as was Australia’s Norman Von Nida.
After losing by a shot, “The Von” reportedly grabbed the microphone during Bobby Locke’s winning presentation ceremony at the 1955 Australian Open and proceeded to criticise the tournament.
“The Australian Golf Union should now realise there is not a course in Queensland that can stage an Australian open championship,” Von Nida said.
“Good greens are essential, and you have not got them here, as in the southern States.”
While my suncream smashing playing partner was in no danger of getting close to an Australian Open victory, his reaction, and reactions like it are embarrassing and selfish.
It not only makes a bad day worse for the angry golfer but it can ruin everyone else’s day as well.
So what’s the best the way to deal with an angry golfer?
Do you allow them to wallow in the depths of their golfing despair or do you confront them and let them know exactly how their behaviour is affecting everyone else’s day?
Or are you an angry golfer who staunchly defends the right to act up when things don’t go your way?
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