Everyone’s familiar with the seven deadly sins for life, but I’m not convinced that these sins apply to golf. Gluttony, lust, greed? Can you really play too much golf? Is it sinful to crave better scores? Will the golf gods shun you for dropping a week’s pay on a new set of clubs or playing that course you’ve always dreamed of? I don’t think so; in fact, I’d probably encourage you to do most of these things. However, that doesn’t mean that golf doesn’t have it’s own set of deadly sins:
We’ll start with the obvious one. Golf always has been and always will be a game of honor. Don’t besmirch it by taking advantage while others aren’t looking. Leave the cheating to the Astros.
Don’t be late to the first tee. Nothing will get your round off to a worse start than making the rest of your foursome (and everyone behind you) wait because you forgot how to set an alarm or took too many warm-up shots.
Speaking of making people wait, stop taking 8 practice swings just to duff one 50 yards short. As a wise man once told me, “Nobody cares if you suck. They care if you slow them down.” Get to your ball, take a swing or two, and hit. And whether you’re 3 or 300 feet away, pick up your ball after you hit your max score and move on.
Don’t let your mouth write checks your game can’t cash. Whether you’re playing for high stakes or just picking up the bar tab, a surefire way to make sure you’ll never collect your winnings is not paying up when you lose. And in case you already forgot Deadly Sin #1, don’t fudge the scores when the time comes to settle.
Ok, so I did borrow a couple sins from the original list, but only because they still make sense in this context. As a self-proclaimed lousy golfer, I totally understand getting frustrated, but face it: you’re never going pro, so resist the urge to wrap your putter around the nearest tree after missing a 15-footer. You’re embarrassing yourself, your playing partners, and making sure everyone on the course gives you this look the rest of the day:
Everyone spends plenty of time complaining about course conditions, but many golfers won’t put in the effort to improving them. It doesn’t take showing up at 4am to mow the course yourself. Fill your divots, fix your ball marks, rake the bunkers; just doing the little things can drastically improve your favorite course.
How are you ever going to improve your game if you have no way to track if you’re actually getting better? A GHIN Handicap Index is the most accurate way to tell exactly where your game is at, and by understanding your game, you may just resist the urge to cheat, control your rage, and maybe even win a few more wagers.
(P.S. Here’s 10 other ways keeping your Handicap Index will change your golf game.)