Gunby: Before taking a swing, be sure to follow the golden rule
Column: Tee It Up
Golf isn’t for everyone. Before you call the USGA or the PGA, hear me out. Golf is for those who follow the golden rule. Let me explain.
I challenge you to open a copy of the “Rules of Golf.” Start with Section 1, Etiquette; Behavior on the Course. “The overriding principle is that consideration should be shown to others on the course at all times.”
Wow! Is there any other sport where the first paragraph of the rule book has this directive?
Move on to the second paragraph, titled: The Spirit of the Game. “The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times.…” Courtesy, integrity and sportsmanship are what people will remember about you, not your score.
One of my pet peeves is music blaring out from a player’s golf cart. You can hear it nine holes away. When I play golf, I want to be away from such things. I want to enjoy nature and the friends I am playing golf with. The fourth paragraph: Consideration for Other Players, deals with this. “Players should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players.” If you want to listen to music, sit in your car, roll down the windows and go for it. Or use ear buds. Just don’t bother me and many more on the golf course with your lack of respect for others. And turn off the ringer on your cell phone, too.
The largest number of complaints this game receives is that the pace of play is slow or not up to expectations. This is covered in the seventh paragraph: Pace of Play. “It is a group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group.” If you lose sight of the group in front, alert your fellow players and do something to catch up. In the words of my friend, Sammy the Bear (Smokey the Bear’s grandson), “Only you can prevent slow play!” We will delve more into this subject in some future columns.
Golf is for not for everyone, but anyone can play golf. It is a game for a lifetime and can be enjoyed by any age, any nationality and anyone with physical challenges or intellectual disabilities. Just think how we could change society for the better if everyone abided by the golden rule. It’s got to start somewhere, so why not begin with how we play golf? Read the first section of the “Rules of Golf” and incorporate these principles. By playing golf the right way, the golden rule will infiltrate your everyday behavior and that of many more. I guarantee it.
John Gunby Sr. is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Rules of Golf can be found online at www.usga.org.