& 29 other tips for having the most fun you can have playing golf…

The hardest questions in golf are the ones that never seem to get asked. When your opponent shanks a rocket into the trees, are you obligated to express sympathy, or can you obey your first instinct and just laugh? What’s the classiest way to swear after a bad shot? How do you get that ‘Super Coach’ in your group to stop handing out tips to everyone? How do you ask that ALPG Tour player out on a date, anyway? No guts, no glory. Here are 30
issues you might have pondered but haven’t quite had the minerals to query your mates about. You won’t find the advice we’ve assembled here in any golf etiquette guide, but it could help you become a better bloke on the course – one every member wants to play with. 

1. Stinking it up gracefully
Inside, you’re fuming with frustration and self-loathing. But that ain’t the Aussie way.  We’re born with the ability to take the piss out of ourselves in a deprecating fashion. So when you’re having a shocker, have a laugh instead. Crack a joke and a smile. Your playing partner will remember you, not your score.

2. Rattling your opponent (like Seve did)
Stand between him and his golf bag so he has to walk around you to get to it. Cough, sniffle and sneeze during his swing, then blame it on allergies. Insinuate yourself into every rules situation involving his ball. Make him move his ball marker on the greens, even when it isn’t exactly on your line. Finally, chip in a lot.

Stink It Up With Swagger

3. Having a little swagger like Arnie in his prime
When you hit it close or jar a long putt, imagine throngs of people cheering wildly. Tip your cap to these invisible fans. Bow your head humbly. Do not, however, light a cigarette unless you smoke. And only hitch your pants if your waist size is 36 or smaller.

4. Dealing with the ranger when he tells you to pick up the pace
You’re dying to explain there’s a beginner in your foursome, you’ve just looked for three lost balls, and the group in front is slow. But just thank him, nod, and play faster.

5. Telling your opponent his putt’s not good
One day you’ll have an opponent look at his downhill, breaking two-footer for par and ask, “Is the rest of that good?” Your answer, with a smile: “It ain’t bad. That was a beautiful lag.”

6. Swearing after hitting a bad shot
Colour the air blue without actually swearing. Incorporate the words “suck,” “idiot,” “garbage,” “stink” and “moron.” Don’t yell profanities. Hiss them. Tommy Bolt, the best swearer ever, never screamed.

Stink It Up By Dating An ALPG Tour Player

7. Dating an ALPG Tour player
How do you, a stranger, pull this off without winding up on the receiving end of a restraining order? One way is to write a letter requesting her accompaniment to your prom — it worked for two young fellas who sought respective get-togethers with Lexi Thompson and Belen Mozo. Another way is to be independently wealthy enough to become a regular on the ALPG pro-am circuit. Make trusted friends around the ALPG Tour and the player’s hometown. When you do ask, suggest a multiple-couple group outing at a public venue – a concert, or maybe a bustling restaurant. Good luck, and may Cupid’s arrows find their mark.

8. Be the larrikin in your group
Make the round enjoyable for your mates, and the karma will boomerang. Ask them if they want to walk or get a cart. If it’s a cart, ask if they want to drive or ride. Show up with a joke. Be the first to say, “Good shot, mate.” Be the last to complain. Stay on top of yardages to the green and be able to suggest a distance, even if it’s not your ball. Help your mates look for their balls in trees and hazards, and they’ll help you – it could save you shots each round.

Stink It Up By Being A Larrikin

9. Faking sadness when your opponent hits a bad shot
Never hint that you actually enjoyed watching him skull one over the green, though enjoy it you surely did. Never feign sympathy, either. It indicates you don’t care who wins, a transparently fake attitude if ever there was one. Best to react like a courtroom judge: attentive and impartial.

10. Toting a beer, hot dog and your golf bag
Drink the beer down a third of the way before you leave the window. With the hot dog, go very light on the tomato sauce or mustard, especially if you’re wearing a white shirt. If you can consume the hot dog in three large bites, it’ll be done and out of your way before you reach the 150-metre marker.

Stink It Up

11. Telling your mate to stop coaching you
When swing advice from this wannabe Butch Harmon doesn’t stop, nod attentively, then hand him your 3-iron, toss a ball into a bad lie and say: “Show me.” If he happens to hit that shot 200m with a high draw, give up. He might be onto something.

12. Getting good bounces
Call us superstitious, but if you make a habit of whining at the golf gods for bad bounces, the deities will conduct a closed-door meeting and conspire to make things worse. If you accept the occasional rotten bounce as the golf gods just doing their job, they’ll be more likely to open the gates of heaven at the right time, and give you a good bounce when you need it.

13. Hitting a shot you have no right hitting
Have quick retorts ready for when you fail. “I didn’t win the Powerball last night, so I just had to give that shot a go.” They say the best-looking girls don’t get offers because nobody dares ask them out. Same rule applies here: You’ll never get at that tucked flagstick if you aim for the fat of the green.

14. Sledging your mates
Address your mate John as  if he were a child. Condescend: “Boys, don’t you think little Johnny boy is improving?” Assign reputations they don’t yet have: “The bar staff told me you’re a tight-arse, but I’ll say this: Your swing is looking good.”

15. Buying a used club on eBay
The “buy it now” button on eBay can be a portal to used-club heaven or junk-club hell. A list of musts as you proceed through a listing: sharp photos (the more the better), all the specs (shaft flex and length, loft and lie), reasonable shipping, decent seller feedback and a hassle-free return policy. The idea is to remove any possibility of surprise when the club arrives. We’d suggest sticking with Aussie retail outlets/club manufacturers direct.

16. Playing well when you’re hungover
You brought this on yourself, so don’t complain. Chug water like a thirsty Melbourne Cup horse. Take one more Panadol than usual. Chow down a sausage sizzle if you can find one.

17. Humiliating your boss (and still getting a raise)
If you sense your boss expects you to lose on purpose, find another job. If you feel he’ll tolerate your winning but might take it personally, start updating your resumé. If you sense he wants your best effort because it demonstrates moxy and honesty, oblige. Then wrap him in gold, for he is a rare and beautiful creature.

18. Tip club staff
Slip them stuff rather than cash. A sleeve of premium balls, with an innocuous, “Have you tried these?” Or a couple of ball markers from your trip to the Augusta. They’ll understand. Don’t make a habit of it – just enough to make them remember you.

19. Winning a bet on the first tee
A lot of golf is four-ball matchplay, so come to the first tee knowing who the best player is, and snag him as your partner. Follow that quickly with the bet you want to make. If you’re answering to the other team’s proposition, you’re already on the defensive. Also, be mindful of the serious edge to be had on side bets – the “junk.” If you and your partner are better ball-strikers than your foes, propose larger payoffs for birdies and greenies.

20. Keeping up with the big hitters
After you’ve squeezed every metre of distance you can by normal means – practise, lessons and tweaking your equipment – there’s one trick left. That’s to swing the club faster and a little more recklessly than you’re comfortable doing. Golf is a sport in which physicality and some aggression can pay off.

21. Surviving a nightmare round
When you’ve hit a a truckload of bad shots and nothing is working, reset. Ask your mate if you can try his driver. Go left-hand-low. Ask your mates if they can see what you’re doing wrong in the swing. Play a hole barefoot. In other words, change it up.

22. Hitting a good drive without warming up
Make a couple of practice swings with drowsy slowness, then tee your ball a shade higher than usual. Swing at 75 per cent, concentrating only on making the centre of the clubface meet the ball. Regardless of where the shot goes, keep in mind that you aren’t warmed up for your second shot, either: Stretch everything out as you walk to your ball.

Stink It Up

23. Throwing a good masters breaky 
Serve Augusta’s famous pimento-cheese sandwiches. (Recipes are all over the Internet.) Conduct an eagle pool; $10 to enter, players chosen by blind draw. Have two TV rooms: one for people who talk through the coverage, the other for serious viewers.

24. Consoling your partner when he’s playing like a dog
Ever see Ryder Cup partners roll their eyes at each other or give the silent treatment? Of course not, except for Tiger and Phil in 2004. The lesson: Never admonish, scold or cold-shoulder your partner. When he’s hitting it wild, a simple “chin-up, mate” could get him flushing it again.

25. Telling a golf tale that’s actually interesting
Here’s the outline of a first-person golf story. Read and learn:
Bob got bit by a brown snake during our golf trip to Queensland. It was on the fourth hole. He sliced one into the trees and goes after it. Doesn’t even scream. He just runs back to the fairway, takes a drop and hits. The bites are pinholes. One of the snake’s broken fangs is sticking out of one of them. But Bob wants to finish the hole. Another guy in our foursome calls 000. The ambos meet us at the clubhouse after we finish the round. Bob didn’t play any more that trip, but he’s fine. Still has the fang and keeps it in his bag for good luck. See what we did? The story was told backwards, punch line first, and kept in the present tense, as though it’s happening now. And it was over in less than two minutes.

26. Playing 18 in under 3 hours
You’re going to need an open course, a good set of lungs and people as up for this as you are. Tee to green, ditch the range finder, don’t take practice swings, and remember that when you’re not hitting, you should be walking. On the greens, if you crouch to read a putt, you’re too slow. Don’t mark your ball, and be generous with concessions.

Stink It Up

27. Practising chip shots without hurting any bystanders
You know those “no chipping” signs by the practice green? How they were allegedly put there to protect the turf? The course operators are playing you. They want to prevent 16-handicappers from trying Phil Mickelson’s greenside flop shot and blading one into the shin of the guy practising four-footers. Use common sense. Never try to carry the ball more than two feet or aim at a target farther than 3m away. And don’t try to be like Phil and see if you can hit one left-handed.

28. Winning your office pool
Check out recent form and how the player has fared at a venue. Near home, he’ll have extra fans and extra incentive. Nothing beats being comfortable.

29. Breaking the ice when you’re a single joining a threeball
Start with: “You guys look like hackers – want to play for a hundred each?” Just kidding. Be polite and deferential, like a party guest. Keep the conversation light, at least at first. Three keepers: Will Tiger win another Major? Ever been to Augusta? When did you get that new driver?

30. getting your spouse to care less if you play saturday
The real trick is pulling it off Saturday and Sunday, but because we’re starting small, here’s a primer:
– Arrive home 30 minutes earlier than you promised, and never be late;
– When you walk through the door, head to the kitchen and clean up;
– Press the $40 you won into their hand and say, “I won this because you make me a happy golfer.”