Top 10: Worst things which can happen on the golf course

We identify 10 things which make us wonder why we bother...

Now we are not being completely literal here so things like getting struck by lightening, any other serious injury, getting pooped on by a seagull, finding out you’ve lost your job or had a family bereavement have not been included.

We are talking more from a golfing point of view. The sort of things which we all bemoan in the clubhouse over a drink after our round has finished.

We identify 10 things which make us wonder why we bother…

There must be hundreds more so add your own in the comments box at the bottom of the page

1. Hitting it out of bounds from the tee

White sticks marking out of bounds to the right can be like a magnet for some players. Even with all that room on the other side of the fairway, you wouldn’t think it was possible.

It’s like taking a corner in football and just booting it straight into the stands. Nothing brings your mood down like having to reload from the tee, particularly when you’ve got a good round going. 

It can completely ruin your medal card. It often results in a lost ball and a bit of humiliation. To make matters worse, you’ll inevitably rip one down the middle of the fairway with your third. If anyone says ’why didn’t you do that first time?’ the Rules of Golf state you are allowed to wack them in the shin with a 4-iron.

How to avoid the dreaded slice

2. Being unable to find your ball after a great tee shot

You hit your “best of the day” from the tee, everyone comments on what a great tee shot it was. “That’s gone miles,” claims an impressed playing partner. “I know, really got hold of that one,” you boast while strolling up the fairway. 

You wait with pitching wedge in hand while the rest of your fourball play their long second shots.

“It must have just run off the fairway,” you say to yourself when you can’t see that little white dot in the middle of the short grass. 

You hurry over to the first cut of rough and panic starts to set in. “There’s no way I’m losing this ball,” you mutter to yourself while raking through the grass. 

Your playing partners join in the search. Slowly the realisation kicks in that the unthinkable has happened. It’s gone. Where? Nobody will ever know. It results in a blob, remains a mystery and takes at least five holes to get over.

3. Selecting the wrong club

You’re on a par-3 or making your approach to the green. You make a great swing with perfect contact. 

You hold your pose as the ball flies through the air with the odd glance down at the flag then back at the ball. Ball, flag, ball, flag, ball, bunker at the back of the green. 

Now if you’ve thinned it, you can accept the consequences but when you hit what you think is the perfect shot only to realise you’ve selected the wrong club is very annoying – particularly if you don’t hit it out of the middle of the club too often. Unfortunately, you’ve only got yourself to blame.

The importance of being comfortable with club selection

4. A lip out on a 30ft putt


I never expect to hole a long putt. I tell myself that I might hole it as I stand over it. Deep down, I’ll bite your arm off for a two-putt. 

Every so often you get one which feels perfect as soon as you strike it. The ball tracks its way to the hole, it’s looking good, very good. 

You start talking to it, willing it on its way. As it gets within three feet you hold your putter aloft and wind up your fist pump. 

It reaches the hole, takes a look inside but for some reason doesn’t fancy it at the very last minute and stays above ground. It’s the hope that kills you.

How to lag your putts perfectly
You think back over your round and recall at least four three-putts and a few unlucky bounces which have ultimately cost you" 5. Duffing a chip into a bunker

It’s things like this which should force you to give the game up for good. 

Now I know mental coaches would say something like: “Don’t think of an elephant”… Get the point? 

But it’s very hard when faced with a 20 yard chip on to the green with a sand trap right in front of you to not even entertain the idea. 

“Don’t duff it into the bunker” is often the last though which enters your mind before you make contact with the ball. 

I’ll hold my hands up and say I find it hilarious when it happens to someone else. When it happens to me, it takes every ounce of self control not to throw my entire golf bag into the lake.

How to stop duffing your chip shots

6. Hitting your ball into the water


The problem with water is it’s even harder to keep it out of your mind. When assessing a hole with water in play, it inevitably comes into the equation when deciding on your shot. 

Yet, despite making a fail-safe plan for not hitting the ball in the water, we still end up flirting with it. 

There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve hit it nowhere near the water but have somehow ended up it it. 

You get an extra 20 yards of roll or an outrageously unkind bounce. The double whammy of a lost ball and penalty shot.

How to beat your bogey holes

7. Losing your last favourite tee


It’s been a while since you’ve actually purchased a bag of tees and supplies are running low. 

You’ve been driving the ball really well and are certain the pink castle tee is a factor. It puts you at ease, knowing that the ball is teed up at the right height and it’s usually dead easy to find on the floor. 

But after smashing drive, possibly coming down a little steep, your little pink friend is nowhere to be found. 

“It’s ok, I’ve got a few more left,” you say to yourself as you abandon the search in the name of speeding up play. 

Ten minutes later you’re at the next tee frantically unzipping pockets and rustling around in your golf bag. 

Your playing parters are “proper players” so would only ever use what tour pros use and wouldn’t be seen dead with a pink castle tee. 

You reluctantly peg it up with a white wooden one and feel like your whole world has been turned upside down.  

8. Flat battery on a buggy

I’m not a fan of buggies per se but accept they are a necessary evil on some courses. Generally I find buggies to be more of a hindrance than a help, especially when a 90 degree rule is in place. 

What are you supposed to do when on the 13th, miles away from the clubhouse with no phone or phone reception and the buggy has no signs of life? 

Do you run to the clubhouse and seek assistance? Do you abandon the buggy and walk? Sometimes neither of these options are viable. 

On one occasion we had to use one buggy to push the other buggy around the rest of the course with limited success. A course marshall finally came to our aid on the 18th. Too little, too late.

Do buggies add anything to the enjoyment of golf?

9. Having to use an umbrella in the wind


Simply using an umbrella in any condition is a fairly unsavoury experience. Having to use one in the wind is a nightmare. 

By the time you’ve put it down and put it back in your bag  you’ve just got a bit more soaked. By the time you’ve got it back out of the bag and put up again you’ve got soaked even more. 

You try and be clever by keeping it up and just putting the handle in your bag and it blows away. It’s really not worth the hassle.

10. Finding out you’ve lost by one shot

You’ve racked up a respectable 33 points in really tough conditions. You’re pleased with your efforts but still don’t expect to take the money. 

Word in the clubhouse is that a score in the high 20s is decent. “Maybe I’ve got a chance?” you think to yourself. 

However, it’s hugely frustrating when you learn there’s one player who got 34 which included a flukey chip-in on the 16th. 

You think back over your round and recall hitting it out of bounds, duffing it into a bunker, air-mailing the green, a few unlucky bounces which put the ball in the water and a lip-out on 18.

Anything we’ve missed? Add your comments in the box below

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