How to deal with stubborn golfers who won’t pick up the golf ball?

My latest Fairway Frustration—playing with stubborn golfers. You know who they are. The golfer on your league’s team who absolutely refuses to pick up their ball when they are hitting scores as high as 10, 11, 12!!! Pick it up ladies and gents and let’s move on! Before you jump down my throat and remind me how many times I’ve hit into the water, I’m talking about team play, not getting out and playing a friendly round to loosen up with your pals. You can hit into as many traps as you like if you’re just fooling around…. but when you’re playing in a tournament…

There is nothing more frustrating for a good golfer to play a league tournament with a poor golfer who doesn’t take the game seriously, or takes it so seriously he or she will never give up. To stand and watch him or her flail at the ball, scuff the ground and hit into trap after trap during a round of golf is a misery no golfer wants to endure. It takes the fun out of the game, especially if the poor golfer is part of a foursome playing a league tournament and he or she refuses to pick up the golf ball, even when it is obvious their score can’t help the team.

Stubborn is the only word to describe such a golfer. “I paid my money, and I’m going to play to the hole. I’m not going to pick up ’til I’m in.”

This happened to me not too long ago. I’m NOT a great golfer and I’m not going to throw stones at newbie golfers. (I was a newbie once, too.) But here’s what happend. We were playing a league game where the score for the team was 2 ball, net and gross. The best gross score, combined with the best net score (gross minus the golfer’s handicap) became the team score on each hole.

We had one golfer in the group who, no matter his score (and it was often into the teens) would not pick up his ball. On one hole, we already had a score of 4 gross plus a 2 for net = 6. We all knew nothing this guy could do would improve our score. But he would not pick up his ball. “I paid my money, and I’m going to play to the hole. I’m not going to pick up ’til I’m in.”

It was good practice for him, but it drove the rest of us nuts. It slowed the game down and we ended up being two holes behind on the course. Not a happy time.

Golfers need to learn that there is a maximum number of strokes you can take based on your handicap. It’s called Equitable Stroke Control or ESC. You can read all about it here: Equitable Stroke Control: What Is It, and What are the Maximum Scores?

Course Handicap0-9
Maximum Score You Can TakeDouble Bogey

So what can you do if you’re playing in a tournament with a golfer who won’t pick up? Do you steal the ball? Pick it up and toss it and the golfer into the woods? Add your comment in the space below.



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