I’ll be starting a little series of posts called “Between the Swings”. Unlike so many other sports, in Golf what you are doing when it’s not your turn to act can be as important as the rest of the game. These tips will help cover some of the common things that happen between the swings. This first post in the series covers some things to keep in mind around the green.
Maneuvering around the green can be tricky business on the golf course – especially if you’re not quite sure what to do or where to stand. The truth is that stepping on another player’s putting line or neglecting to tend the pin when it’s your turn are two things that can be very distracting and frustrating to deal with for experienced players, and reveal your inexperience more than your swing or your score ever will.
Here’s what you need to know – and with some practice, these things will become second nature in no time.
When you’re on the course, as you approach the green, pay attention to where all of the other golf balls are located. If you’re not sure where a player’s ball is, then ask by saying “where is everyone?” Believe me, they’ll tell you. Now draw an imaginary line from each ball or ball marker to the hole, and walk over, or more preferably, around, but never on, those lines.
The reason for this is simple. Your footprint or spike marks might make a depression or damage to the surface of the green, and ultimately, could cause a player to miss a putt.
If your ball is nearest the hole when all the players in your group arrive at the green, then it’s your responsibility to tend the pin. Simply ask all of the players if they can see the hole. If the answer is yes, pull the pin and lay it on the side of the green. If not, then stand so your shadow doesn’t cover the hole and you’re not in another player’s putting line, and hold the flagstick until that player strikes their putt.
The first person to finish putting should assume the final flag tending responsibilities by retrieving it and replacing it. The last player to putt out should never have to get the pin.
Trust me, it’s the effortless management of these nuances that will matter to your playing partners much more than your ability.