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Talking to a Competitor About Their Shot Before They Hit

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I have thin skin. I suck at low percentage shots and if someone gets under my skin I almost def turn them into zero percentage shots.

What can I can I say, it sucks to suck. Hope you meet more sympathetic competitors. 


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@MattM I feel I can add a lot to this discussion. For one, I am perpetually working through swing changes. Some of them are intentional some of them are not. My natural golf ability is super low.

The proper response would be to smile and say - "With your swing I can see where it would be a tough shot"...

The way to get a guy to stop talking shit about your game is to hit good shots. Seeing that his comments are getting to you is just inviting him to do it more.

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4 hours ago, ncates00 said:

Right.  I fail to see how this is any different from any other sport.  Play another sport, and you rarely hear folks complaining about another's trash talk.  If a person is rattled just because of simple comments made by a competitor, that speaks to that person's lack of ability.  People try to overcomplicate and mystify golf as some hugely cerebral game when it mostly boils down to: can you put a ball in the hole?  You won't hear a RB in football complain because a LB said "watch out when you come up the middle because we're coming for you." 🙂 

FWIW, all those other sports have fights all the time, so I think the trash talk is a contributor.

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I feel I can add a lot to this discussion. For one, I am perpetually working through swing changes. Some of them are intentional some of them are not. My natural golf ability is super low. Like you, I started playing golf in my mid 20's. I have been a single digit handicapper. I have played to a 36. One time I played a tournament in which I shot a 78 and a 112 on consecutive days.... same course. 

So, I feel I have something to offer here. I have what I think are 3 really good pieces of advice for you. First things first. You have to decide that it doesn't bother you. Never... I mean NEVER say that somebody's talk, noise, farts, what ever bothered you. If you start pretending you have a great mental game and nothing bothers you, soon enough you will. The old saying goes whether you think something is going to bother you, or whether you think it won't. Either way; You're right. 

Okay, here are my 3 pieces of advice: 

1 - First, Allow yourself to make some bad shots. It looks like you are a 12 handicap. That means you are going to hit some bad shots each round. I will also hit some bad shots. I've already hit some really really really terrible shots in my life and I will hit more of them. Just allow yourself to do so. It you hit a horrible chip shot. Assume it's one of the bad shots you will hit. It's not because they guy said something to you. That's just coincidence. It was just a bad shot. I played fairly recently with a bunch of guys from this forum at Whispering Woods. I was/am working through a lot of swing changes. Every single time @iacas was watching me tee off I hit a horrible tee shot. Was it because @iacas was watching? Hell no. It was because I hit about 16 of 18 tee shots horribly. I needed more work on my swing. 

2 - Talk through what you're going to do. This is very under-rated advice. One day I'll write a book on it and make dozens of dollars. After the guy said "I'm glad that isn't my shot..." or what ever. Talk through your plan OUT LOUD. It has to be out loud. Say "Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to use my 60 degree wedge hit that dimple just left of the logo with a 5% downward angle of attack. The ball is going to spin hard up the club face, climb in the air land next to that leaf right there on the collar bounce once, bite and roll up next to the flag. ... ideally in the hole. Why out loud? Two reasons, one most people can't think about anything else while they are talking about something. So, it puts all the negatives out of your mind. Second, that guy isn't likely to interrupt you during a conversation... even if it's with yourself. It also puts you in the moment. Listen, I'm not a great golfer. ... sometimes I'm not even good. But, I can tell you; This works. If it doesn't see advice number 1 above. 

3 - Practice talking during your own backswing. Okay this one's a little bit out there. I only know one other guy who does this, but I promise you it works. You can drive a car while talking, right? You can walk, throw a football, kick a soccer ball, maybe even do a cartwheel, all while talking, right? Practice talking while hitting golf balls. The easiest thing to do is describe out loud what you want the shot to look like. Talk about it in every detail. It's kind of an extension of advice 2, above. Just now instead of in the pre-shot, do it DURING the shot. A buddy of mine and I have played entire rounds where we talk to each other while hitting our shots. Do we score better? NO. But we don't score any worse. Do we hit all good shots? NO, we hit about the same number of good shots as we usually do. However, practicing this way only makes it easier to block out the BS around you. 

Anyway take my advice for what its worth. There are a lot of better golfers on this forum who can also advise you. Some of them already have. Here's one thing I can tell you for certain. When I personally hit a bad shot it has nothing AND I MEAN NOTHING to do with what anyone said to me before I walked up and hit it. That bad shot was because I have a bad swing, no other reason. 

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There're a couple of guys I play with who try to get into my head... in a fun way.  I generally outdrive them by 30-40 yards so I hear, "Don't hit it too far and go in the water." or, "It's in the water!" or, "It hit the hillside and is backing up!"  I take it with a grain of sand and enjoy the banter.  Others, I'm game for tit for tat.  I can dish it back but always keep it civil.  And clever, if I can pull it off.  I like everybody I play with.  

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@MattM  USGA does have rules which address Etiquette and you could ask the Committee if the player you are describing crosses the line 
with the intention of his conduct.  I often golf with guys who Trash Talk a lot and I can dish it out with the best when necessary.
Usually when the smack starts flying, I'll up my game which usually settles them down.
I often just hit them where it hurts the most, "their pocket book"


1.2 Standards of Player Conduct
All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by:

Acting with integrity – for example, by following the Rules, applying all penalties, and being honest in all aspects of play.

Showing consideration to others – for example, by playing at a prompt pace, looking out for the safety of others, and not distracting the play of another player.

Taking good care of the course – for example, by replacing divots, smoothing bunkers, repairing ball-marks, and not causing unnecessary damage to the course.

You should check to see whether the Committee has adopted a Code of Conduct, as you could get a penalty if you do not follow it.


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2 minutes ago, Club Rat said:

@MattM  USGA does have rules which address Etiquette and you could ask the Committee if the player you are describing crosses the line

And the Committee would be justified in laughing in his face.

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