As I sit here writing this column, I have the sun hitting me at my back as I type away at my computer and it feels great. I can hear the birds chirping outside my window as they sit on a branch of a dogwood tree. I often sneak a peek at the first tee here at Bald Mountain as I stand up to go to the front counter and greet visitors and members. I have a unique view and a front row seat to see exactly who is playing golf. Often times I watch the entire group tee off just to see what type of players are teeing it up. Are they beginners, average, or above average players? It is always interesting to see how the different players approach the game.
There are so many different styles of golfers and those styles can almost always be identified before they even strike the first tee ball. I am going to identify some of these styles in this article so you will forever be watching your friends and playing partners as they play their round. Not only will we discuss styles but we will touch on superstitions of players.
The first style I often see is the “I have all the newest clubs on the market” guy. This is the player that has every single thing that comes out on the market in his possession. His clubs are always shiny, clean, and in perfect order in their bag. You can often hear them discussing all of the new features of their new purchase and may talk about it the entire round. Maybe it is a status symbol for a golfer or maybe they just love having all the new gadgets and clubs. They are always the first person to run to for your next club to purchase as they are always looking to upgrade.
The next style is “The Fashion Guru”. This style fixes on the player who is dressed for the part. They have perfectly color coordinated their outfit for each and every time on the links. I often see this player out of my magic window and they stick out from a mile away. I, for one, love this style of player as they are here to look good and it doesn’t matter how they play. That is the attitude I want everyone to have about their game.
The next style I often see “The Waggler”. This is the player that seems they may never hit the ball as they continue to waggle their club back and forth on their pre-shot routine. Some famous golfers that have this hitch are Jason Dufner and Sergio Garcia. They are two of the best players in the world and even they have a pre-shot routine that can not be altered. It is just something that they have developed over time and seems to work for them just fine.
“The Green Reading Guru” is the next style we often see in a round of golf. This player is seen pacing the putting green of the hole they are playing and making what seems to be circles around and around the hole. They are looking to feel and see every break in the green and formulate their best guess for the putt at hand. I think it is great to take a little bit of time on each shot but please try not to slow down the entire course. Now, if you make every putt you line up, then please carry on. But what are the odds of that.
I've identified a very select few styles of golfer I see daily and now I want to talk a little bit about superstitions. I think we all have them but just may not know how extreme some of them really are. I, for one, like to have a ball in play with no dirt or scuffs on it. It has to be a nearly perfect ball for me to hit. I don’t have a good reason why I do this but it is something that plagues me every round. Ball markers are another common area where superstition prevails. There are many different beliefs about ball markers – some people will only use coins with pictures of states where they played a good round and others will only use coins of certain denominations. There is also the curse of the stray ball. I think this was started by people who couldn’t keep their shots on the fairway and got tired of having their balls stolen. This superstition says that if you pick up another person’s ball that was hit out of bounds, your game will be cursed and your score will suffer. I can’t hear this superstition without hearing a witch in the back of my mind chanting, “Double, double toil and trouble.”
Next is the lucky club superstition. I know some golfers who just love certain irons or woods – they swear by them. They take their favorite club with them and it never leaves their bag. Most of them probably don’t even remember why they love that particular club. In fact, many of them barely use their favorite. The best I can figure is that they nailed an amazing shot with their favorite club a very long time ago. After that, they don’t want to use it because they’re afraid to destroy that memory with a bad shot.
While it’s fun to get laughs from superstitions or styles of players, ultimately they can benefit players. Like I said earlier, many superstitions can be thought of as pre-swing routines – just a habit that helps golfers focus and stay calm. Sure, they may be silly, but they can help, too.
Adam H. Bowles, PGA
Golf Operations Manager
Rumbling Bald Resort