Picking your dream golf Foursome…

Author: The Golf Sherpa  |  Category: Common Golf Pitfalls

If your time is limited to one round a week or you just want to have the dream foursome to play with each week,  please read the Sherpa’s  thoughful advice.

First lets do some math to make sure that you agree with the premise, namely that it is appropriate to be very picky about your “regular” foursome.

How much time will you spend with these people in a year?

If you live in a temperate climate:   1 Round per week  x 5 hours per round (including warm up, etc.)  x 48 Weeks (discounting for Major Holidays, etc.) = 240 Hours a year or Ten Days

The Sherpa asks: “Do you really want to spend 240 hours a year (120 hours in cold weather areas) with folks who may or may not be good for your game or your soul”?

Without getting too philosophical or (in Man terms) mushy, I would say:  Choose wisely..these relationships are the best and most positive influence on your game and life.  Choose poorly and they have the opposite effect.  I have experienced both “toxic” and “dream”  foursomes.  When I found my current “dream” foursome (by avoiding the personalities below) I knew it immediately.

Let’s qualify a poor choice first.  So what is a “toxic foursome”?  This dreaded foursome is characterized by one or more of the following types:

  1. The Club Thrower: I have already blogged about this type of person (see the Flying 7 Iron).  Play with this person at your own physical peril.
  2. The Incessant Cusser:  As I have already written, Cussing is part of golf (even the Clergy do it). The incessant cusser, however, replaces most verbs and nouns with profanity and can become an embarrassment as people begin to associate you with the “F- Bomber”.
  3. The Constantly Angry Golfer: Frustration is a key beauty mark on golf’s vast portrait (nice prose huh?).  The Angry Golfer, doesn’t get it, loses strokes to it, has no fun and typically drags everyone else into their pit seething contempt (sorry, I am on a prose run today).  Additionally, this golfer is usually not nearly good enough to qualify his anger in the first place.  To keep this bullet brief, I will expand on this idea tomorrow.
  4. “Checklist Charlie” AKA “Ranger Rick”:  This person has not learned to golf yet.  Instead, this person thinks golf is going through a 30 point checklist on each shot without any connection to a target.  These folks may not be completely toxic. Some of these people have been known to mature into golfers with thoughtful perspective.  Unfortunately, if they have been playing for years like this, they are not likely to change. Why are they toxic?  Swing thoughts, like a virus, can spread throughout your foursome and steal “target” thinking in a flash.  I have seen it happen…not pretty.
  5. The Swing “Tipper”:  This golfer needs to keep his tipping limited to service providers (where they are actually appreciated).  On the golf course “tips” are actually the worst thing golfers can do for each other (even if with good intent).  If the tip jar is out during your round, it will distract you from your “target” game, effectively stopping you from truly “playing golf” (as the Sherpa has countless times described it).

Though this list may not be complete, it captures they key toxic elements you should run from as fast as you and your bag can move.

So “Sherpa” you ask, “how to I find a Dream Foursome”.  The answer I am afraid, is more complex.

  1. Luck:You may be invited to play in a foursome and find, magically,  that none of the aforementioned golfer types are present.  Buy each one of them something from the cart girl immediately! Do your absolute best to match their positive energy, be generous and if you are lucky you will be invited back…you have hit the mother load.  By all means don’t be any one of #1-5 above even for a second.  Why is this complex?  Think about how easy it seems to be able to pick 5 numbers, but how tough it is to win a lottery with them.
  2. Reconfiguration:If you are in charge of a foursome that features one or more toxic golfers you have a tough choice but obvious choice.  Either you can carefully and kindly pare down your foursome, ridding your group of the offending golfer/s…or start from scratch.  Unfortunately, the Sherpa didn’t get you in this complex mess so you will have to act on your own.  Stick to your guns though,  and the outcome will be well worth it.  I promise. 

My current foursome keeps their clubs from flying, cusses to make things light when someone gets too “serious”, will actually step away from the others if angry (so it doesn’t spread), leaves the checklist for groceries only and never, ever gives tips on the course unless solicited. 

Another very positive side effect of playing with the same dream foursome is that they will help you improve your game as they learn your swing.  The Sherpa recently was asked by his pro to make a subtle swing timing change.  When I told my foursome about it, I let them know that I was interested in feedback so that I had more eyes on my swing. 

In this very rare instance, I wanted careful witness..not tips.  They understood immediately and started giving me appropriate and useful feedback about the specific change…not tips.

They are generous to a fault.  I don’t deserve them, but they let me stay anyway.

Bottom Line:  Like a marriage, a good foursome choice is the gift that keeps on giving.  Choose poorly… and misery is the payoff.

Play on…

The Sherpa

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