Sometimes we say it best when we say nothing at all. But that would be weird and we’re all as guilty as each other in trying to fill some awkward air time with a collection of tired, old gags and untimely outbursts.
It should be pointed out that I’m as guilty as anyone and have come out with 24/25 of these. Only No. 23 has passed me by…
1. ‘Does your husband play?’
Ah, the old comedian after you’ve left your 20-footer five foot short. As unfunny as it is sexist.
2. ‘That was a bit of a Sally Gunnell’
Or any any other celebrity reference from about 20 years ago. This sounds like an urban myth but I met someone this year who actually played with Sally Gunnell’s husband and another member of the group dropped this in after an untimely top.
3. ‘No pictures on the scorecard’
When someone else says it they’re being nice while simultaneously saying you got lucky. When you say it you’re freely admitting that you are a couple of holes away from running up double figures.
4. ‘You’ve got a shot here’
I know, I know, I know. I also now know that you’ve ramped up the pressure 10-fold by pointing this out.
Follows you knocking the ball off the tee, since time immemorial this has been up there with the worst thing that could leave your mouth. It’s so old that whenever anyone does say it now it is delivered with an ironic slant.
6. ‘I don’t go that far on my holiday’
Again this was quite amusing in 1996 but it’s not now. The comedic genius won’t be able to help himself and will have delivered his favourite punchline before the ball has even landed.
7. ‘Don’t forget your lipstick’
More sexist jibberish when you leave a putt short.
8. ‘You lifted your head up’
Any unsolicited advice on the swing is pretty bad. This is awful. Without getting too technical, have a look at the likes of David Duval, Annika Sorenstam or Henrik Stenson to see that this easily can be done.
9. ‘I’ve got a line on it’
This all sounds good on the tee, but when you’re 220 yards further down the fairway and you’ve completely lost your bearings then it’s not going to be of much use.
10. ‘Did you hit it well?’
If you are all 25 yards offline and walking around some dense undergrowth looking for your ball then the answer is probably no.
11. ‘What did you hit?’
You are all still in the shrubbery looking for the same ball and this is just a conversation filler. You saying ‘5-iron’ won’t help matters at all.
12. ‘Srixon 3?’
We are still none the wiser as to where your ball is and we all know you’re playing a Titleist. This is said to a) show a bit of willing, and b) giving you the chance to show you’re not a cheat.
13. ‘I’ve remembered what I should be doing’
You are 12 holes in to your latest shambles of a round and this is your first half-decent shot. You haven’t just discovered ‘The Secret’, you’ve just got lucky.
14. ‘I tend to hit my 3-iron about 240’
No. No, you don’t. You watch golf on Sky like the rest of us and have wrongly adjusted your distances to those of Tony Finau in Hawaii. You hit your driver, with some run, 240.
15. ‘Wide ball’
Barely acceptable when done to yourself after a wayward putt. Do it to your playing partner and expect a putter launched in your general direction.
For the rest of Mark’s intolerances, including a very strange addition at No. 23, head to the next page…