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Golf etiquette - why is it improper to laugh at the misfortunes of others?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

There is this guy at my club who said to my friends, I have the intellect of an artichoke.

Even though it's true to some extent, it wasn't a nice thing to say about a fellow member.

 

In the club championship this year, he lost by one stroke by missing a three foot putt on the final hole.

The look on his face was hilarious, his eyes suddenly went wide in horror and his jaw dropped.  I controlled myself, but Lord it was funny.

 

The phenomenon is called schadenfreude; that is to laugh or derive amusement by contemplating the misfortunes of others, in particular one's "enemies."  Some say it's a sick form of humour, but I've yet to meet someone who isn't guilty of it from time to time.  Why is it improper to laugh at the cruddy strokes of other players?  Because only jerks do that?  Because I would not, after my pitiful shots, appreciate being laughed at (do not do unto others what you would not have done onto yourself by others)?

post #2 of 48
While I'm playing with done one I wouldn't.. While watching someone else on the course who I am not playing with or watching a pro on tv?? Yes, I laugh at them as much as I want!
post #3 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Lee View Post
 

There is this guy at my club who said to my friends, I have the intellect of an artichoke.

Even though it's true to some extent, it wasn't a nice thing to say about a fellow member.

 

In the club championship this year, he lost by one stroke by missing a three foot putt on the final hole.

The look on his face was hilarious, his eyes suddenly went wide in horror and his jaw dropped.  I controlled myself, but Lord it was funny.

 

The phenomenon is called schadenfreude; that is to laugh or derive amusement by contemplating the misfortunes of others, in particular one's "enemies."  Some say it's a sick form of humour, but I've yet to meet someone who isn't guilty of it from time to time.  Why is it improper to laugh at the cruddy strokes of other players?  Because only jerks do that?  Because I would not, after my pitiful shots, appreciate being laughed at (do not do unto others what you would not have done onto yourself by others)?

 

 

Something like that I would not find funny. Now lets say a person hits a tree, ramps up the tree, then flies backwards and hits that golfer's bag. Now that is just a WTF just happened shot that is hilarious. Oh and that happened yesterday to a guy in my golf group. I seriously had to keep myself from laughing out loud. 

post #4 of 48

In general, golf being a game of self control and manners, it would be bad manners to laugh at your opponents shots. You are responsible for your own performance and that is how you defeat your opponent, not expecting him to collapse for you. You congratulate on good shots and empathize or mostly remain silent on bad ones.

 

This is how I might play with strangers, in formal competition, or even casual games with some friends or playing companions. With certain other friends, you can bet I will laugh and belittle their bad shots as they will mine--I would be offended if they didn't!! Their are situations of the first instance where I have almost had blood on my lip from biting so hard, though!

post #5 of 48

I did laugh uncontrollably when a guy hit about 12" behind the ball and never touched it, he was laughing as well though.  I could not help it.  I also took a picture of it.  Other than that, I usually don't do it.

 

post #6 of 48

What does golf have to do with it??

 

Is it EVER "proper" to laugh at the misfortunes of others??

post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

What does golf have to do with it??

 

Is it EVER "proper" to laugh at the misfortunes of others??

 

 

Depends on the situation and people involved. If my friends tipped a golf cart, I would probably bust up laughing. 

post #8 of 48

I think the best course of action is to never laugh at anything, Ever

 

Better safe than sorry

post #9 of 48

My friends, family and I laugh at each other all the time if something funny happens.

 

I see absolutely no humor at all in missing a 3 foot putt and especially if it was a putt to win a championship.

post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

 

Depends on the situation and people involved. If my friends tipped a golf cart, I would probably bust up laughing.

As would I.  But I suspect they'd be laughing with you, as that isn't exactly a "misfortune" as the OP described.

post #11 of 48

Ya but this guy said something rude about him, to his friends. Being called an artichoke is not cool, unless you are good freinds with them.

 

So in that case, after he missed the putt, you should have approached him and said "What happened? an artichoke got in the way of your 3 ft putt?" Then walk away.

post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motley01 View Post
 

Ya but this guy said something rude about him, to his friends. Being called an artichoke is not cool, unless you are good freinds with them.

 

So in that case, after he missed the putt, you should have approached him and said "What happened? an artichoke got in the way of your 3 ft putt?" Then walk away.

Yeah, so if I was him, I would certainly be taking a little (private) satisfaction in his misery (assuming the artichoke comment was said with malice) but beyond that, there is nothing you can do ... that I likely wouldn't consider childish and petty.  I really like the high road.  I certainly don't always take it, but when thinking about it without passion, I believe its always the correct route.

 

Plus the title of the thread is way more vague than just his specific story.

post #13 of 48

My buds and I laugh at each other all the time ... good shots and bad ... if we have money (25 cents) and they miss the putt we just bantered about ... then yes, but we both laugh 

 

However, I believe the OP is talking totally different situation ... 

 

With so many other things to laugh at in life, I find it disheartening that others find delight in someone else's misfortune ...

 

But hey that is just my thoughts ...  people are certainly free to laugh at whatever they want ... I try hard to treat people as I want to be treated and to help create a world I would "like" to live in ... 

post #14 of 48

If the guy is an a hole or been an a hole to you personally then laugh your head off, why not.

post #15 of 48
"Do unto others" and all that jazz.
post #16 of 48
Thread Starter 

I apologize if I shifted scope from a philosophical question to one concerning golf.

Then again, I've played with the more Stoical golfers who say nothing at all

the entire round as they try to become "One with the golf course."

 

Of course, since it is my "friends" who conveyed this information to me,

I must confess it's hearsay evidence and ought not be relied upon.

I'm sure this guy is a wonderful man deep in his heart.  So wonderful,

his wife left him because he had other girlfriends and gambles too much.

 

Is it bad manners to laugh at other peoples' pathetic shots?  It's certainly not very friendly.

Laughing at one's own cruddy shots, if it can genuinely be done, is helpful as it vents anger.

Hearing other people laugh at your shots is unnerving, and those doing it are

not acting like ladies and gentlemen.

post #17 of 48

From the etiquette section of the ROG, emphasis added..

Quote:
 

The Spirit Of The Game

Golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf.

 

In most cases (but not all, as the degree of acquaintance and relationship has an effect - as others have pointed out with respect to teasing friends) laughing at your opponent wouldn't fit this description of the spirit of the game.

 

post #18 of 48

Depends on the situation at hand. I've done it with friends, and have not done it with strangers. I have even laughed at some of my own really poor shots. Humor is a tension breaker, and therefore a good thing on the golf course..........in the right situation.  "Did you really air mail that shot over the green?"  Is it ok to comment to the golfer "you made that dog bark"? 

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