SHOULD YO U BE OBLIGED TO ALWAYS HELP PLAYING COMPANIONS SEARCH?
Should you always help playing companions search for their ball?
The key word here is ‘always’, for nearly every golfer knows that it’s courteous to help those you’re playing with search for their balls when they’ve strayed from the short grass, on the unwritten understanding that they will do likewise when you’re in trouble.
Fortunately, I’ve played with relatively few golfers over the years who have failed to do this. But I do know that on the odd occasion that it has happened, it has certainly rankled a little, especially when I’ve had a decent score going. So how can I possibly be arguing against such good, commonly accepted practice?
Well, as with most things in life, there has to be a limit, especially at a time when ‘pace of play’ is the buzz phrase on the lips of nearly everyone in golf. I know that if I’m spraying it around into the deep stuff on every other hole, and the handicap and more has long since been used up, I will say to my playing companions after a few searches: “Don’t worry about me. You concentrate on your own games – my score’s already long gone.”
I have to admit, I very much hope that they would do likewise. None of us is playing for the crown jewels after all, and surely the more pressing requirement is the continued enjoyment of most playing (and following), rather than an unreasonable expectation that everyone should conduct repeated painstaking searches every time you’re unable to keep your ball on the straight and narrow.
Does that make me a bad person? I certainly don’t think so, and I hope you would agree that common sense should apply on those more extreme days when someone you’re playing with has simply left home without a golf game.
“There has to be a limit, especially at a time when ‘pace of play’ is a buzz phrase on the lips of everyone in golf”
I’m not a religious person, but I do agree with the odd line from the bible. One I always try to keep in mind is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That makes good sense to me, and it applies to every aspect of life… Even when it comes to the question of whether you should always look for your playing companions’ golf balls!
If I’ve lost a ball, I will (almost always) want to find it and two pairs of eyes are better than one. I would expect my playing companions to help me in the search and, as such, I would always endeavour to help them.
It’s not an onerous task and it will be even less so this year, as maximum searching time has been reduced to three minutes under the new rules. Even if someone is having a terrible day and shelling every other drive into the knee-high cabbage, it doesn’t take much of your time to have a supportive stomp around searching. It may be tiresome, but it’s good for the soul.
And, in terms of pace of play, your assistance could keep things moving. If the person whose ball is lost spends the allotted time looking for it, then you will have to wait anyway. If you go and help, you might find it and play can keep moving; it might even prevent the dreaded walk back. As I said, two pairs of eyes are better than one.
Even if you’re frustrated at having to trudge around in the hay for a fifth time in seven holes, you can, and should, do it. Sometimes we have to do things in life we don’t want to, and helping someone out is absolutely the right thing to do. Quite frankly, it’s not much of an ask. You might be tired at the end of the day, but at least you can still feel good about yourself.
“If the person whose ball is lost spends the allotted time looking for it, you will have to wait anyway”
Two GM regulars go head to head