In most human encounters, we have the opportunity of making a fabulous and lasting impression on people with whom we interact. This is also true in the world of golf!

When playing with a partner, there are some simple things we can do to make a round that much more memorable.

Principle #1. Build Self Esteem

Self esteem is essentially how a person feels about himself or herself. I like to use the analogy of a bucket full of water to represent our level of self-esteem. When things don’t go our way, our bucket may shake and some of the water inside might spill over the top. Eventually our bucket gets so low that we can become dejected or depressed.

There are times during a round of golf when we begin to lose some of our self esteem as a result of not meeting our own standards of performance (i.e. we hit a wayward shot or we miss an easy putt). This is a great opportunity to be a great golf buddy! So how do we build our partner’s self esteem?

  • After a good shot you can say something like “Great shot, you really used the right club”
  • Remember that positive feedback is best when it’s specific and immediate.
  • After a wayward shot try to find something to be positive about: “That was a great swing,” or “You made great contact there, your set up was perfect.”
  • Say thank you when your playing partner compliments you. Be genuine.

These techniques and many others will build and maintain the esteem of you and your playing partners.

Principle #2. Respect the Game

Golf is a game of tradition, but even the most hallowed of golf traditions are subject to change in order to attract new golfers and keep current golfers interested. It’s a difficult enough game to play without being burdened by ancient, unnecessary traditions, but there are some traditions that are important to follow in order to show respect for the game.

  • If you’re going to record your score then you must count every shot. If you are not recording your score then let your playing partners know, they will respect your decision. Keeping score is not mandatory.
  • Play it where it lies. This is critical if you are keeping score. If you are not, then its ok to adjust or improve your lie.
  • Respecting your fellow golfers is also important. Shouting “FOUR” is critical if your shot may endanger other golfers.
  • Be quiet when your partner is taking their shot.
  • Follow cart rules and other local rules which protect the environment and other nearby golfers.
  • Repair and replace your divots.
  • Don’t litter.
  • Pick up your ball if you’re having a bad hole. This speeds up play. Double par is my personal rule of choice. i.e. on a par 3, I pick up after 6, and so on.
  • Drunkenness is never okay.

So relax, take your time and have fun.

Principle #3. Initiative

Taking initiative is all about making things better for yourself and your playing partners. When you take initiative it shows that you are a team player and that you are invested in the round. Some of the best ways to take the initiative are;

  • Keep your eye on your playing partner’s shots. This way you can help them find wayward shots.
  • As a general rule spend no more than 30 seconds on a lost ball. If you have a wayward shot on every hole and you spend 2 minutes looking for each then you have essentially added 36 minutes to your round.
  • Remove the flag when your playing partner is ready to putt
  • Fix your ball mark and mark your ball on the green
  • Share your course knowledge if you have insiders knowledge

When we take the initiative to make things better, everyone will achieve more.