Golf Novices: 10 Ways to Survive a Round With a Better Player

Last Updated Aug 25, 2010 2:01 PM EDT

I like playing golf with amateurs. In fact, my favorite person to play golf with can barely break 90. But since he's out there having fun, it's always a good round. On the other hand, some of the worst games I've played are with amateurs who are so anxious about their game that they don't seem to enjoy any part of it. If you're invited to play with someone who's much better than you, like say, an important client, the last thing you want to do is fixate on how you're playing.

So how do you survive the round without looking like a fool, or worse, completely annoying your partner? It's actually not that hard and it has little to do with the strength of your game.

Here are my top 10 tips:

  1. Let your game speak for itself â€"- especially if you play horribly. Don't say, even once, "I never play like this." Really, there's no need to even talk about your game.
  2. Get out of the way. When your partner is hitting, he shouldn't be able to look up and see you in his peripheral vision.
  3. Play fast. Know when it's your turn and don't wait until then to find your ball.
  4. Make small goals. Don't think about your overall score or even what you want to shoot on each individual hole. You're at point A; just think about getting to point B.
  5. Don't try to hit a "hero" shot. More than likely if you are in a situation that would require a "hero" shot, the chances of of you pulling it off are not good.
  6. Don't underclub. Every amateur does this. They think they can use the same club and get the same yardage as a better player. Always take one club more. Play for the miss.
  7. Be honest about your score. This sounds basic but it happens too often for me not to say anything about it. If you played poorly the whole round and then you miss a putt, you still missed the putt. No freebies.
  8. Help your teammates. This is one that I find really aggravating. If one guy in the group is struggling to find his ball, don't just stand there thinking about your next shot. Get in the weeds and help him look. This helps everyone and you never know when you will be the one who will need a little "assistance."
  9. Don't get pissed off. It will make you look like even more of an amateur and it reflects poorly on you as a colleague. No one wants to be "that guy."
  10. Be the kind of player that everyone still wants to hang out with after 18 holes. See #9 again.
What are your pet peeves when you're on the course with colleagues?