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lack of etiquette....

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

I'm fortunate that I belong to a club because if I had to play all my rounds at muni's in the area, I would probably lose it.  Since I belong to a club, that is where I play most of the time.  On occasion though I like to play a different course and will end up playing one of the local muni's.  During the week since one of these muni's is very close to my house, I prefer to go there to practice putting or my short game.

 

So I'm there one night last week on the practice putting green and there is a guy who has his child on the practice green with him.  The child must have been no older than 4 years old and was damaging the practice putting green by taking a club from his Dad's bag and trying to use it himself.  This was creating all kinds of indentations in the green.  The child was loud and was walking all over the place, even walking in my line as I was practicing my putting. 

 

I don't want to be a douche, but at that point I had it.  I was watching this child destroy the green and all this time the child's father was doing his own thing just a few feet away.  Finally I said something to the father and asked him to please stop his child from destroying the practice green.  The guy had an attitude problem and said that it was just a kid and to chill out.  Chill out?  Your kid is destroying the course, stop him or I will get someone from the course to stop him for you.  The guy yelled something at me in some asian language (not sure which) and then picked up his kid and left. 

 

I'm all for having kids play golf and stuff but nobody should destroy the course.  I understand that this is a muni course and that there are a lot of things that fly there that would not fly at a proper club/course (that should not be the case but unfortunately it is). 

 

It seems like almost every time I go to one of these muni's, I always end up witnessing some kind of behavior that is just not acceptable let alone sometimes forbidden in the rules of golf.  I don't want to come off as a rules/etiquette douche but I cannot stand it when I see people disrespecting or damaging the course.  The answer that I always seem to get when I say something is that it's a public course?!?!?!  If anything since it's funded partially with EVERYONE'S tax dollars, that should be even more incentive not to destroy!

 

I do not know if this is the way that things have always been or if this is something new that is perhaps a result of trying to grow the game of golf and as a result those that are new to the game do not fully understand how to behave on a golf course. 

 

I live in the DC area and the muni's that I've seen this behavior at are in Montgomery County, Maryland.  From what I hear the muni's in Montgomery County are actually very well maintained compared to muni's elsewhere.  It's a shame because they'd be even better if people acted the right way instead of treating the course like their backyard.  Anyone else notice similar issues?  If so did you say something? 

post #2 of 36

Nature of the beast at public courses. 5 hour rounds, no play-throughs, dressed to the nines with no game or dressed in jeans and flip flops with lots of game. Carts on the fringe, bunkers left unraked, divots not repaired, the list goes on and on. There are plenty of folks not like this but that's what you have to expect. There are also lots of people like this at private courses but publics get more than their fair share.

 

Tearing up the practice green is another one I'll add to the list. The only thing I can say on that is that perhaps you should have just told someone at the course and let them handle it if for nothing else to avoid a confrontation. You never know when you might get a broken shaft in the neck (I'm only half kidding).

 

Every time I play at the public course near me I fall in love with my club all over again and it reminds me that it is worth the money.

 

Finally, to be fair, I think about it like me going to the bowling alley. I don't bowl much and when I do its probably me and some friends just goofing around. I can imagine a serious bowler near us getting mad at the noise, dropping the ball, not waiting for the person on your left to go first (is that correct, the left?) etc. That's just the way it goes. Roll with it. (get it?)

post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjwestner View Post

I'm fortunate that I belong to a club because if I had to play all my rounds at muni's in the area, I would probably lose it.  Since I belong to a club, that is where I play most of the time.  On occasion though I like to play a different course and will end up playing one of the local muni's.  During the week since one of these muni's is very close to my house, I prefer to go there to practice putting or my short game.

 

So I'm there one night last week on the practice putting green and there is a guy who has his child on the practice green with him.  The child must have been no older than 4 years old and was damaging the practice putting green by taking a club from his Dad's bag and trying to use it himself.  This was creating all kinds of indentations in the green.  The child was loud and was walking all over the place, even walking in my line as I was practicing my putting. 

 

I don't want to be a douche, but at that point I had it.  I was watching this child destroy the green and all this time the child's father was doing his own thing just a few feet away.  Finally I said something to the father and asked him to please stop his child from destroying the practice green.  The guy had an attitude problem and said that it was just a kid and to chill out.  Chill out?  Your kid is destroying the course, stop him or I will get someone from the course to stop him for you.  The guy yelled something at me in some asian language (not sure which) and then picked up his kid and left. 

 

I'm all for having kids play golf and stuff but nobody should destroy the course.  I understand that this is a muni course and that there are a lot of things that fly there that would not fly at a proper club/course (that should not be the case but unfortunately it is). 

 

It seems like almost every time I go to one of these muni's, I always end up witnessing some kind of behavior that is just not acceptable let alone sometimes forbidden in the rules of golf.  I don't want to come off as a rules/etiquette douche but I cannot stand it when I see people disrespecting or damaging the course.  The answer that I always seem to get when I say something is that it's a public course?!?!?!  If anything since it's funded partially with EVERYONE'S tax dollars, that should be even more incentive not to destroy!

 

I do not know if this is the way that things have always been or if this is something new that is perhaps a result of trying to grow the game of golf and as a result those that are new to the game do not fully understand how to behave on a golf course. 

 

I live in the DC area and the muni's that I've seen this behavior at are in Montgomery County, Maryland.  From what I hear the muni's in Montgomery County are actually very well maintained compared to muni's elsewhere.  It's a shame because they'd be even better if people acted the right way instead of treating the course like their backyard.  Anyone else notice similar issues?  If so did you say something? 


I'm not going to nitpick at your post or anything, but I can assure you that there are very nice public courses out there. Some which rival many "proper private courses" as well, which you probably already know.

One thing that I can say is that for the most part, I don't see anything "crazy" at public courses, or anything that really gets to me and irritates me. Everyone has it happen occasionally, sure. But I really wouldn't go as far as to label your experience as a "public/muni" experience in general. I have played at top private clubs and have seen inconsiderate snobs ashing their cigars all over the green, missing trash cans and saying "F*** it, let the paid help get it" as if it's 1940 and coming from a railroad tycoon, and just general nasty attitudes. However, I would not classify that as the "private/proper experience" either.

I'm not taking offense to what you said. I am just trying to explain that stupid and dumb shit happens regardless of where you go, where you are, or what you're doing. Golf is a part of life and by law, stupid will be incorporated into it at some point by some individual. It's unfortunate to witness and experience it, but that's life.

Yes, I would say something to this gentlemen and inform him that his kid is tearing up the place. If he had a problem with me telling him that, I would simply tell the staff about it. That's really the only proper way to handle the situation, aside from leaving.

My question to you is, since you left it out, what did you do after he "yelled at you in some type of asian language"?

post #4 of 36

Really it comes down to the course - it is thier putting green and thier responsibility to make sure it doesn't get damaged.  You will always find people who don't control thier kids as well as they should or how you would . . but since it's not your putting green, it's not your job to protect it.  

 

As far as being loud or walking on people's lines .. that's how it is when the putting green is crowded.  I've seen guys in thier 20's and 30's practicing long putts or even chips on a crowded green . .rolling thier shots right past and very close to other players.  I finally found a practice green that I like that's never crowded and I'm not telling anybody where it is :)

 

I never saw a little kid damaging stuff at a course but, if I did, I would honestly say something to the kid.  I like kids - I wouldn't use an angry tone or anything - I would just say something like "hey buddy  - easy on the green!".  Chances are his dad didn't notice what his son was doing - by approaching him and saying "please watch your kid" . .you're putting him immediately on the offensive.     

 

I've also noticed that people who say things like "I don't mean to be a douche" . .know full well that they are being a douche . .so, if it applies, make sure you use your nicest, friendliest, most neighborly tone of voice . .think if it was your own kid . I don't know if you have any but it's really hard to make sure they never step out of line in public.  On the other hand . .you can't just keep them locked up at home all the time . .so it's like a process getting them to act right in public.  They will get out of line . .and they will be corrected (by at least most parents . .and the ones that don't correct thier kids are idiots and you can't do anything about them, anyway).

post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder View Post


I'm not going to nitpick at your post or anything, but I can assure you that there are very nice public courses out there. Some which rival many "proper private courses" as well, which you probably already know.

One thing that I can say is that for the most part, I don't see anything "crazy" at public courses, or anything that really gets to me and irritates me. Everyone has it happen occasionally, sure. But I really wouldn't go as far as to label your experience as a "public/muni" experience in general. I have played at top private clubs and have seen inconsiderate snobs ashing their cigars all over the green, missing trash cans and saying "F*** it, let the paid help get it" as if it's 1940 and coming from a railroad tycoon, and just general nasty attitudes. However, I would not classify that as the "private/proper experience" either.

I'm not taking offense to what you said. I am just trying to explain that stupid and dumb shit happens regardless of where you go, where you are, or what you're doing. Golf is a part of life and by law, stupid will be incorporated into it at some point by some individual. It's unfortunate to witness and experience it, but that's life.

Yes, I would say something to this gentlemen and inform him that his kid is tearing up the place. If he had a problem with me telling him that, I would simply tell the staff about it. That's really the only proper way to handle the situation, aside from leaving.

My question to you is, since you left it out, what did you do after he "yelled at you in some type of asian language"?

 

I kept putting and did not say a word as after yelling what ever he yelled in what ever language it was (I could tell that it was not English), he went to his car and left.  No place is perfect and that is not what I expect, however, if your child is damaging the course then I expect you to stop him.  I've had people step in my lines before and it's not a big deal, it's a practice green.  This kid was running back and forth slamming the club into the ground and did this several times as I was trying to putt.  It was clearly much more than someone just stepping in my line.  Also after the guy finally left, another person that was putting on the far end of the green thanked me for saying something.  The look he gave me told me that he saw what was happening and also thought it was wrong.

 

Have I made errors before?   You bet.  But I am considerate of others and if I make a mistake then I apologize.  Had this guy stopped his kid from tearing up the green everything would have been fine.  I understand, he had his kid with him and wanted to get in some practice time.  No big deal.  I'm sure that he probably does not have much time to do that with a kid and all. 

 

The big deal about this situation (to me anyway), was the lack of etiquette by that guy.  I wonder what made him think that it was okay for his child to damage the green and get in the way/interfere with other golfers that were just trying to practice like he was?  Clearly he thought that it was okay because when I asked him if he could stop his child (and I did it nicely) his response was that since it was a child and on a practice green that it was somehow alright.

 

Had he not left and his child continued, then I planned on going to tell someone from the course so that they could address it because as someone pointed out, while it's not my practice green, we all have a duty to maintain the course.  If that were not the case then everyone would just leave their pitchmarks in the green without fixing them (I know that some people do this but most people do not and the rules of golf suggest fixing such things). 

post #6 of 36

The biggest difference I have seen between public and private boils down to ownership. I witness a greater level of individual ownership of the quality of the experience at the private courses I've been able to play.  Whether that means fixing divots on the green, filling them on the fairway, not driving the golf carts up on the green complexes, or minding a "golf-appropriate" wardrobe, you're more likely to see that at a private course.

 

The original poster's experience (to me) sounds more like an issue of parenting rather than muni golf.  I nearly exclusively play muni golf, and at no time would I expect to see a kid taking divots out of the practice green.  Not going to say it couldn't happen, but I wouldn't expect it.  In fact, most parents of young kids on a course seem to be trying to instill the discipline of golf on their kids to begin with, and are typically hyper aware of other folks playing or practicing around them.

post #7 of 36

I grew up in the 1970s playing on the MNCPPC courses in Montgomery Co., MD in Jr. High (Sligo and Paint Branch) and HS (Northwest Park, Laytonsville, Falls Road, and a couple times at Needwood).

 

Though I can't recall offhand, there were, I'm sure, many minor etiquette violations when I played these courses (probably a few by me!), but I don't recall never witnessing any close to this level, either the child's behavior or the parent's rudeness.

post #8 of 36

I don't see it, the muni's here are nice. Some are managed better and set up better than private clubs. The courses with GPS carts set them up to remind people to use trash cans, repair ball marks, keep up the pace and more. Heck you can summon the beverage cart via gps at some places. One course like that has $25 twilight fees and it winds through McMansions, not some old hacked up city park track. We're there 2-3 times a week. Usually the only little kids I see are on the junior par 3. Most places here have a minimum age requirement, it's posted right next to "no coolers" and the dress code policy. The ettiquette problems are usually the drunks peeing in the bushes and screaming because they missed a 60 foot putt by 18 feet.

post #9 of 36

It doesn't matter if it's a muni, a private owned public or a private course.  It all boils down to management/owners. 

 

I've been to muni's where the management only cares about cash flow and nothing else.  Those types of courses get crowded, abused and very little etiquette is employed.  If they do have rangers they just hang out under shade trees doing nothing because management won't back them up when there is a pace of play issue or abusive patron.

 

On the other hand I've been to very nice muni's where management is very outgoing and engaged.  Takes pride in the course and employs courteous rangers that politely let you know the course expectations as a starter while others patrol the course being friendly yet watchful.. 

 

Private owned courses fall into the same categories and can sometimes be way worse than a muni because they are accountable to no one.  At least a muni pro answers to a park board, director or directly to mayor.  If the are pros position is based upon merit or buddy system had a huge bearing on how good they run a course.

 

Private clubs tend to police their own better.   Not always but way more often.  Private clubs have the ultimate accountability......they can kick you out and keep your initiation if well run.

post #10 of 36

I don't see anything wrong with saying something if it's continuous, when the guy said chill he's just a kid I would say have said "yea and it's not his fault, you should be showing him how to behave and fixing the damage he makes."  The kid's just being a kid.

post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjwestner View Post

I'm fortunate that I belong to a club because if I had to play all my rounds at muni's in the area, I would probably lose it.  Since I belong to a club, that is where I play most of the time.  On occasion though I like to play a different course and will end up playing one of the local muni's.  During the week since one of these muni's is very close to my house, I prefer to go there to practice putting or my short game.

 

So I'm there one night last week on the practice putting green and there is a guy who has his child on the practice green with him.  The child must have been no older than 4 years old and was damaging the practice putting green by taking a club from his Dad's bag and trying to use it himself.  This was creating all kinds of indentations in the green.  The child was loud and was walking all over the place, even walking in my line as I was practicing my putting. 

 

I don't want to be a douche, but at that point I had it.  I was watching this child destroy the green and all this time the child's father was doing his own thing just a few feet away.  Finally I said something to the father and asked him to please stop his child from destroying the practice green.  The guy had an attitude problem and said that it was just a kid and to chill out.  Chill out?  Your kid is destroying the course, stop him or I will get someone from the course to stop him for you.  The guy yelled something at me in some asian language (not sure which) and then picked up his kid and left. 

 

I'm all for having kids play golf and stuff but nobody should destroy the course.  I understand that this is a muni course and that there are a lot of things that fly there that would not fly at a proper club/course (that should not be the case but unfortunately it is). 

 

It seems like almost every time I go to one of these muni's, I always end up witnessing some kind of behavior that is just not acceptable let alone sometimes forbidden in the rules of golf.  I don't want to come off as a rules/etiquette douche but I cannot stand it when I see people disrespecting or damaging the course.  The answer that I always seem to get when I say something is that it's a public course?!?!?!  If anything since it's funded partially with EVERYONE'S tax dollars, that should be even more incentive not to destroy!

 

I do not know if this is the way that things have always been or if this is something new that is perhaps a result of trying to grow the game of golf and as a result those that are new to the game do not fully understand how to behave on a golf course. 

 

I live in the DC area and the muni's that I've seen this behavior at are in Montgomery County, Maryland.  From what I hear the muni's in Montgomery County are actually very well maintained compared to muni's elsewhere.  It's a shame because they'd be even better if people acted the right way instead of treating the course like their backyard.  Anyone else notice similar issues?  If so did you say something? 

That's more of a bad parenting issue and less of a golf etiquette issue.  OK it's both.  As a father of three myself, 4 years old is definitely not to young to start teaching "manners".  If the child does not understand or cannot control their behavior, then they need to be taken home and return when they're a little older.  At that age, a month can make a big difference.  The father you encountered simply couldn't be bothered to teach his child and didn't want to disrupt his own practice routine.

post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmazingWhacker View Post

Really it comes down to the course - it is thier putting green and thier responsibility to make sure it doesn't get damaged.  You will always find people who don't control thier kids as well as they should or how you would . . but since it's not your putting green, it's not your job to protect it.  

 

Last summer I was practicing my chip shots at my home course one afternoon. A dad shows up to practice putting with his 3-year-old daughter in town. I'm about ready to hit when the little girl runs in front of me. Fortunately, I stopped the shot before hitting.

 

I tell the guy I almost hit his daughter, and he says he has just as much right to be there as he does. I says it's a shame I care more about his daughter's safety than he does. He storms off to the pro shop to "turn me in." Two minutes later, he and the head pro appear on the front steps having a rather heated argument with each other. Dad gets his bag and daughter and leaves. The head pro never mentions the incident to me.

 

Also that summer, the a couple of middle-school boys from a golf camp were hitting their wedges near the practice green. One goes on the green and starts hitting balls to see how they fly off the "really short grass." Fortunately, he's a skimmer and doesn't take out any major gouges out of the green. I tell him that you don't hit wedges on the putting green, and he gives me attitude that there's no sign saying you can't. Fortunately, his pal agrees with me that you don't hit wedges off the green surface, and the first kid stops.

 

Certain behaviors are simply not acceptable on a golf course. I'm polite, but I don't hesitate to get involved when safety or course property is involved.


Edited by WUTiger - 6/12/13 at 10:14pm
post #13 of 36
It's more of an issue with society and poor parenting than it is golf etiquette. The examples people gave here aren't isolated to golf courses. I guarantee those idiots approach all facets of life with the same self-absorbed, entitled attitude they displayed on the course. I've encountered several myself at my club (private courses) so it's not isolated to Public courses. Kid chipping on the practice putting green. I informed him that there isn't any chipping there to which he replies 'there's no sign saying not to'. My reply is 'well, it doesn't say you can't take a dump on the green either but you should know better'. There's now a sign stating 'No chipping'; feel free to take a dump though. Teenagers playing really slowly without regard to the effect they're having on the pace of play for everyone. They play a couple balls with nearly every shot and never look back to see if people are waiting. File that under 'My parents are using the golf course as a babysitter so I can do what I want'. Their parents are the ones who'll ignore their kids until someone has an issue with them; then they'll start paying attention but discipline is out of the question. Older gentlemen that also take their time on the course, moving like molasses in winter and again, never looking back to see if they should let someone play through. File that under 'I've paid my dues boy; what's the hurry, you young whippersnapper'. Then you have the John Daly types that are hammered out there or just act like it. Even Rodney Dangerfield would call them obnoxious.
post #14 of 36

Many moons ago I used to play a little 9 hole course in my home town that all of the regulars went to great lengths to keep nice, but the course took a ton of abuse.  One Saturday on my 3rd time around, there was hardly anyone else on the course but I noticed the greens very torn up.  I was fixing them as I went and when I got to the 3rd hole I saw 3 guys on the green clowning around.  As I walked onto the green someone had taken a tee or something and carved a large "W" in the green by the hole several feet square.  The next hole they had to pass right by where I was standing to walk to the tee and I jumped all over them and gave them a sermon about the regulars, taking care of the course, etc.  They left the course and didn't continue.

 

15 years later I met a former co-worker of mine at the local Applebee's when I was back home visiting (I had since moved out of state).  We were sitting at the bar having a couple drinks and catching up when three guys beside me at the bar started talking loudly about "Remember when that @#%^$ jumped on us about carving a W in the green?  I wanted to say, "Dumb@#$ it was an M not a W" etc.  I turned to my left and said, "Excuse me, I couldn't help but overhear your conversation.  Please allow me to introduce myself:  I'm the @#$%^!"  Yes, that's right, 15 years ago, Lail's golf course right down here on Hwy 70, 3rd hole, Saturday afternoon, the pin was cut on the front left..."  I proceeded to get on my soap box all over again.  

 

The 3 of them cut a trail out of the bar faster than greased lightening.  

 

So yeah, I would have said something.  Inconsiderate and rude people are everywhere.

post #15 of 36

Yeah it's really not a golf problem. I don't know exactly when it happened but somewhere along the line some parents decided it was perfectly okay to let their kids act any way they wanted to act in public. All it takes is a trip to the local Wal-Mart to see it.

 

My wife's cousin's kids used to run wild when they came to our house and see how many curtain rods they could pull off of the wall and how many things they could break, all while the parents sat right there and watched without attempting to stop it. I finally went "old school" on them and put a stop to it myself. To the parent's credit, they didn't seem to mind that either (not typical these days).

 

Right or wrong when I was a kid any adult in the neighborhood was likely to grab us and spank our butt if we needed it, and we never knew which ones might do it. Then if they told our parents we were liable to get another one when we got home. We weren't angels by any stretch but at least we acted like it if any adult was around. Nobody ever wanted to hear those dreaded words "I'm calling your parents". Now those words are more often than not a "get out of jail free" pass.

post #16 of 36

Course bad behavior.  Our league course is beautifully maintained, a great track and on par with the nicest courses in NE Ohio.  It's technically a muni because it's owned by the city.  This also means it's the home course for the local HS boys/girls golf program.

 

League round late last year.  HS kids are already practicing ahead of the start of their competitive season.  They have to play the Black (back) tees.  We play blue tees.  A 2-some of HS kids are following us and meet our 4-some on a par-3.  That day, blue tees were just right of the cart path and black tees right and back about 10 yards from there.

 

Our group experienced the kids (waiting for us to tee off and leave) having what I'd call a divot flight contest off the back of the Black tee box.  They so enjoyed launching 3" wide, 8" long divots flying 30' off the back of the tee box one after another.  It was a real hoot for one boy to dig a trench and fly a divot farther than the other.

 

One guy looks at me and says, "Do you want to stop them, or shall I?"  Said guy walks up to them and gives them the parental beat-down they deserved. He got the name of their coach and let them know that if possible, he would have them removed from the golf team and banned from the course.  He also stood on the tee box and instructed them to collect and replace the divots to repair the damage as best they could.  They trashed a good 20% of the teeing area.

 

As he's walking away from the boys, you could clearly hear one say, "What a jerk ... what's the big deal, anyway?"

 

Golf is a game of respect.  Respect for the game, the course, yourself, partners and opponents.  Clearly this isn't being taught in some junior / HS golf programs.  Or if it is, the two boys we encountered missed that lesson.

 

Other than that isolated incident, I really don't see many players behaving badly toward the course itself.  Golf is supposed to be fun.  Let's all try to remember that and keep it that way.  Even if you have to be a 'douche' to a couple of HS kids once in a great while!

 

dave

post #17 of 36
There's a saying from the bible that applies here: Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it. If you want to teach your little one about the game great, just dont forget about respect for the course and those around you.
post #18 of 36

My home course is an upscale resort, and since we get a lot of out of towners it is a real challenge keeping up the conditions. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one replacing divots and fixing ball marks.

 

Etiquette and course maintenance is an essential part of the game, and as such it must be taught to all newcomers regardless of age. Plus it sounds like this jackass was simply one of those parents who think that letting their kids do whatever they want is perfectly acceptable. I fear for our future.

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