PET-PEEVES IN GOLF
GOLF IS A SLOW-PACED SPORT THAT HAS MANY IRRITABLE MOMENTS OR SITUATIONS. WHAT'S YOURS?
Like many golfer, I also have my pet peeves when I play golf. To the best of my abilities I want to list them top to bottom in order of annoyance.
Practice interruptions: Most of you guys, specially the ones that know me already, might find listing this at the top somehow strange. But there are two factors that have affected me positively in my career and as a result have put practice interruptions at the very top of my pet peeves list.
The first factor that has contributed for listing practice interruptions at the top is traveling with Robert to his events. Before I used to travel with Robert, I was in a state of mind where I got used to having people interrupting my practice sessions. It could be during a professional event or out at a private golf club. The point is that, when I am practicing is much like when you guys are at the office: we are working. Some of you might not realize it as you play golf for fun; golf is your hobby. But we are out there working. When we are hitting series of shots, we are counting every minute of our practice to make it efficient and worth our time. Specially because our day doesn’t end there, most of the times, after practice we either have to make room in our day to go to the gym or rest —which is one of the biggest misconceptions in sports.
This is a delicate matter, as LPGA sometimes portrays a different, more friendly and approachable ‘inside the ropes’ image against the PGA for leverage purposes. Fans familiarize with us more than they do with the men, and we love that. We sell well like that, and honestly, we kind of need it. But sometimes it gets out of proportion. I am not trying to criticize this, as I am probably one of the most gracious players when it comes to stop my practice to answer your questions, engage in conversations, and meet all of those who come to say hi. But traveling this year to a few of the ATP events (Tennis) with Rob, has struck me. I realized that these guys are very respected during their practice. Fans understand that they cannot come up to the courts and in between hits, and ask them about their grip, or to take a photo with them. Same happens with the WTA players. I am not 100% sure how it works on the PGA, but my assumption is that fans respect their practice times. And I imagine the same when they are out there working hard during their weeks off.
[Quick note: this might sound harsh but it's not the intention. It’s just a remark that is in constant replay in my head that I wanted to share. Mostly true, but it no way a criticism as I am well aware we must bend to fans demands always when its possible].
The second factor is the injury and my eagerness to be effective with my time. Recovering from the injury after 8 months of inactiveness, I have been forced to time-monitor my practice for the first months back hitting. I am religiously breaking down my practices in blocks of 15+ minutes, incrementing the time every week according to my tolerance. So when I have gotten interrupted during some of these practice blocks, I have seen the struggle I have had to go through to make that allotted time count.
That got me thinking: was I being emotional about the fact that I was so eager to get back into training that distractions bothered me now, or was I accustomed to be distracted or interrupted before?
I started thinking way back, and it still bothered me but I let it be part of who I was and how I used to practice. And lets just say, this injury has been a wake up call for me in a lot of aspects in my life that I want to get better at. When we get distracted, we need to start all over again. So when we are working on putting drills, and someone comes to say hi, or ask for a photo or even curious to know who you are or what you are working on, we need to start from the beginning. The point of putting drills is to make sure you can drag on that momentum, that intensity of adrenaline and pressure to resemble competition. Once your mind has been eased off by a distraction, there is no point in continuing the drill. Time has been wasted then.
Trust me, this has happened before multiple times. And it breaks my heart to say it, as I am sure it has not been done to cause harm or annoyance, but it’s the truth.
To wrap it up, I don't thing there is much to change in this scenario. We will keep getting interrupted, which is OK, and I am OK with is because I also love meeting you guys. But I will manage the situation better and ask politely if they don't mind waiting until I finish my practice or my drill to keep talking or to take that photo.
2. Divots on fairways: Most of my pet peeves in golf are related to golf rules. I find golf rules to be immature and old-fashioned (at least some of them). Probably, the one I get most hysterical about is the ‘play as it lies on the fairway’ rule. Excuse me but golf is hard as it is to make it even harder. I already hit my fairway, I did my job, which some times is not an easy task to do. If I find my ball to be in a divot on the fairway I must have the right to place it on the fairway. To me, thats common sense! What do you guys think? I am not the straightest player off the tee, so I truly celebrate hitting fairways, to then find I get to play it from a deep divot onto a firm green. I understand golf is a sport played with or against natural phenomenon : lies, bounces, weather, external objects like fans, ad signs, etc. But this is something that could be easily fixed and that is totally deserving.
3. Teeing it up in front of the tee markers: thats just me. I have been told so many times by my fellow playing parters to move my ball back behind markers, that I don't even feel embarrassed anymore. I am obviously not trying to cheat, you must understand playing the hole 1/2 inches closer is not giving me a huge advantage over the rest of the field. But it is part of the rules and we mustn’t break them. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t irritate me. LOL. When I tee it up, I always use the tee marker in front of me as a guide. Some times tee boxes aren’t aiming straight or tee markers are not proportional to the line of the tee box. That is when I can be placing my ball ahead of the markers. I don't think I have ever cared where my playing partners tee it up on the tee box!!
4. Wet golf balls in the range/putting green: I hate hitting wet golf balls in the range as much as I hate it on the putting green. But I think hitting wet golf balls in the range is worst. Driving ranges are sandier than green, and having the ball with sand or pieces of grass gives me anxiety.
On the putting greens, it upsets me as well when wet and freshly fertilized greens leave green marks in your ball. Then of course you clean them up with towel and leave your towel with green stains.
5. Amateurs hitting shots with dirty club face: If we play 30+ events a year, we play 30+ pro ams a year. I get very invested in making sure not only that my amateurs have fun but they take away something about their swings or their golf game. I can’t take it when they attempt to hit a pitch shot with their club face dirty from previous practice swings. I say attempt because under my watch, no chance I am letting them continue with heir routine. I always make them clean their club. See, for us, it makes a big difference if the grooves are clean and dry. The ball responds better and spin more. So it is a no brainer for us pro golfers, that it upsets me something so easy to correct is taken for granted.
6. When they get upset if I am reading my put when is their turn: I am not the fastest player on tour. I don't walk fast and I am easily distracted. I don't like playing fast either, meaning I don't like to feel like I am rushing or walking fast from ball to ball. Yes I am all for speeding up pre-shot routines. Gosh I wish I had a fast pre-shot routine. You normally have a faster one when you are playing good, as you doubt less and everything flows. On the greens, I do like to read my putts and make a decision fast. To improve on timings I think its necessary for every player to read their lines during other player’s turn. That way when your turn comes up, you are ready to go. Some players don't like it. They feel like we are invading their space. And it truly bugs me. Of course I am not reading my putt while they are standing to hit their putt, but while they are reading their putt too. But I guess they feel easily distracted, and that bugs me.
7. Cart Paths only: Ahhhhgggg! I understand when the course is wet to enforce cart paths only, but there are so many clubs that don't like members to drive golf carts on the fairway. That is the biggest downer of all when out practicing. And it has happened so many time during summer days in Florida where you can find anything but wet courses! But I guess you are not going to feel pity for a golfer that wants to practice in a golf cart uh? But it's so uncomfortable because you don't know how far you are so you have to either guess or bring 3-4 clubs there. Again poor us right?
8. Staff bags: are they really that necessary? If so, how come we are in 2018 and they haven’t been able to make a lighter staff bag? It drives me nuts to be carrying around that golf bag all over the world. I could change it into a lighter bag for off weeks back at home but that is a bigger pet peeve or mine. I hate changing golf bags. There is a routine that goes into how I pack my golf bag that it gets destroyed when I change golf bags. I am all for either having a way lighter staff bag or playing with a regular bag.