Scratch golfers aren't scary. They just hit the ball a little less often - that's all.

7 Confessions Of A Scratch Golfer

This article originally appeared on

The PGA Tour is holding the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week. Not only will pros be competing against each other, they'll be alongside some rank amateurs. Needless to say, there may be some nerves on the part of the higher-handicappers, who will be playing with some incredible front of crowds.

Believe it or not, this could affect your next golf vacation.

Have you gone on a golf vacation as part of a twosome or threesome? I have a number of times, and that has meant I've been paired up with an incredible range of characters over the years, from all across the spectrums of age, golf-seriousness and handicap.

My current handicap index is exactly 0.0. I could not possibly be more of a scratch golfer than I am right now. And I've been one for a while - my handicap has hovered between 1 and +1 for a number of years.

This is not to brag, but rather to say that I've been a low-handicap golfer for long enough to make some observations about how higher-handicap players tend to perceive me and others of my approximate skill level.

I've joined groups that ranged from threesomes of fellow competitive amateur players to triads of ladies who all shot 100 or higher, and every permutation in between. I've gathered a lot of intel over my years of playing golf.

So, here are 7 "confessions" from a scratch golfer that might surprise you.

Scratch golfers aren't scary. They just hit the ball a little less often - that's all.

1. We don't care if you have a high handicap. Seriously.

I've heard numerous times some version of "Oh, you're scratch? You definitely don't want to play with us." And, yes, there are a few scratch golfers out there who look down on anyone with a double-digit handicap. But they're jerks whom you wouldn't want to play with, anyway - I certainly don't. Yes, we can tell pretty quickly what kind of player you are, but we're not judging you. If anything, we're looking for ways you might improve.

The truth is that most scratch golfers just want to have a good time on the course. Sound familiar? Enjoyable company is far more important than just seeking out low-handicap players. I've had a blast playing with 30-handicappers, and I've been miserable playing with mini-tour pros.

2. We do care if you play slow. (But you probably care about that, too.)

Everyone hates slow rounds of golf. Sure, all else being equal, it's a little easier for low-handicap players to get around the course quickly simply because it takes less time to hit 70 or 75 shots than 85 or 90. That said, I have played with numerous bogey golfers who know how to be ready to hit when they're away, and who know how to keep play moving. And the longest round of golf I've ever been a part of - more than 6 1/2 hours - was in a college event. Again, this is mostly to say that scratch players tend to have the same concerns and flaws as other golfers.

3. We couldn't care less which tees you play from.

Because I play in a few amateur tournaments per year, I generally like playing from the back tees at most courses I visit. I don't expect any higher-handicappers I might play with to join me, and it's always funny when other players sheepishly say "Uh, we'll be playing from these [shorter] tees." That's fine! The great thing about golf is that there are lots of ways to even the playing field between players of disparate abilities. Speaking of which...

4. We're easier to beat than you think.

This may seem counterintuitive, but double-digit handicappers will take a plenty of money off their scratch counterparts at courses around the world today, tomorrow and every other day, as long as golf exists. That's because higher-handicap players - especially those who play a good amount of golf - will tend to beat their handicaps by four or five shots somewhat more often than scratch players. I've shot even par or 1-over and lost money to 8-, 10- and 18-handicappers more times than I can count. Wily golfers who know how to use the strokes they're given in matches to mitigate the gap in raw skills.

5. We get frustrated at our bad shots and rounds, too. They just look different.

If a scratch golfer is 100 yards away and hits a wedge shot 35 or 40 feet from the hole, he or she is likely to be pretty disappointed, while a 20-handicapper is probably going to be okay with that outcome. Likewise, after shooting 76 on an easy course, a scratch golfer isn't likely to take much solace in hearing a 15-handicap playing partner say "Man, I'd kill to be able to shoot that low." That 15-handicapper has shot plenty of 92s before - that's how a 76 feels to a scratch player in most cases. It's all relative.

6. If you want swing advice, just ask.

Trust me - you won't be the first to pick our brains about the golf swing. We're not generally going to give any unsolicited tips, but we're happy to help in any way we can. But take it with a grain of salt, since amateurs can't get paid for dispensing swing advice. Just wait until the back nine to start asking for a tip here or there - we probably will won't be terribly helpful after only seeing a few shots. At least to this scratch player, it's never a bother to be asked for my thoughts on another player's swing - I'm all for everyone getting around in fewer shots.

7. Bottom line: we're just like you.

A lot of higher-handicap players seem to walk on eggshells around me because I'm a lower-handicap player. But in reality, I and most of my handicap-peers aren't looking for any special treatment. If you're wondering how you can "get out of our way" when you get grouped with one of us, I'd suggest that you needn't worry. Have fun on the course like you normally do, and we'll get along fine. Just don't sandbag us in a match.

What are your opinions of and experiences with scratch golfers? What observations have you made about the differences (and similarities) between them and higher handicappers? Please share your thoughts below!

Feb 09, 2016

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Lou Palumbo's avatar
Lou Palumbo wrote at 2016-10-27 21:02:27+00:00:

I kinda disagree with #5;

I see your point, but him saying "I'd kill to shot 75", the 15-handicapper is basically saying that he's impressed with your game.

Perhaps you've never been a higher handicap player and golf naturally came easier for you. I'm only a 7 handicap, but I was once a 25 and took a lot of practice to even get down to mid-single digits (and there are times where I forget how much different my dispersion is than it used to).

Playing with higher handicap player can sometimes help me realize how far my game has come and offer perspective. If I hear "I wish my average round was an 81" (from a 20-handicap player), I can actually take some solace and it can help me see that my average is better than it used to be.

Also, sometimes higher handicappers can even be the voice of reason when I miss a shot that I know I should make (like 30 feet from 100 yards instead of inside 10 feet). They might say, still a good shot. And, maybe, he's right. Maybe I am not considering the difficulty (as not all 100 yard shots are created equal in difficulty). It could be extra windy, cold, wet, or I may have an uneven lies and maybe I'm holding myself to the standard as if I'm hitting on the range in perfect conditions.

My point being that even a higher handicapper can offer you perspective. It can can also help keep your confidence up if you've been too hard on yourself lately.

Just being picky...Good article.

RICH's avatar
RICH wrote at 2016-02-18 01:08:24+00:00:

I challenged a scratch golfer in a skins game with my friends, accepted no strokes from the pro. My friends acted like I WAS SOME BIG SHOT kind of guy. No, I was thinking game on. I knew I would really have to play well to make it a match. But I was confident in my ability. I did par the course once, so I knew

I would be competitive. Anyway if I lost big, it would be a good lesson to find out how far I need to go in real competition.

It did annoy me that I had to explain to my friends I

Greg S's avatar
Greg S wrote at 2016-02-16 20:58:02+00:00:

I am currently a 22 handicap and enjoy playing with real good golfers, as long as they are willing to play a round with me. However, I have teamed up with some very good golfers that have made some very discouraging remarks about having to put up with high handicappers. I can't imagine anything else that ruins my day. I had one golfer that yelled at the pro at the turn and left my group because he didn't have the time to play with high handicappers. So, unless the good golfer says he is willing to play with me, I won't play with low handicappers. .

Tom fanning's avatar
Tom fanning wrote at 2016-02-16 20:38:05+00:00:

I play off 9 and my son 11 we had the great privilege of playing a round of golf with Christy o Connor jnr before he died at Adare in Ireland

Before he started he told me he was playing with clubs given to him by Rory McIlroy and for us just to play and enjoy the day

What was great was that he also said I will look at your game over the round and give you some tips at the end which he did it as brilliant

So we played quickly had a great time and then had a lesson at the end

A true gentleman sadly passed away before we could play again in Portugal where I had hoped to put those tips into practice on a return outing

Tony's avatar
Tony wrote at 2016-02-10 20:13:38+00:00:

To be honest I came down from 21 to 12 last year and I played with a couple of scratch guys while I was up there and yes standing on the tee the nervous get you. I was playing in a normal Sunday club comp meet my playing partner on the 1st normal good morning over and he asks "what are you playing off Tony?" my reply with a laugh "21 on a good day and you?" the reply of +2 made me very nervous. But after the first hole it was over. It's still to this day one of the most enjoyable games of golf I ever played. I know there are a few low guys out there that play tv golf as I call it. Roll a 10 foot put up just run it by a foot and after the looking at the line again for 2 mins walk up line the ball up again to tap in the little tiddler. At the same time I've played with 28 handicapper at the same kinda stuff. While it's in our heads that us high handicap golfers are going to upset the low man round we're wrong. Those guys are low because they don't worry about how many shots you've hit to get up as far as his tee shot or that you put 3 balls in the water on the par 3, they just play their own game. At the end of it all I enjoy playing with a low man and feel my game gains from it.

Dan's avatar
Dan wrote at 2016-02-10 14:29:17+00:00:

I enjoyed your article. Low handicappers are cool and they most remind me to take an easy swing and to spend a little more time to be careful on the short game. It is amazing in that sometimes our shots end up further from the hole than the previous one, and a muffed shot is a complete waste. Sometimes 20 shots can be wasted in this way, and 3 irons could get to any hole. Hit clubs you won't muff.

727 Sky's avatar
727 Sky wrote at 2016-02-09 23:12:26+00:00:

I play in a group with handicaps ranging from 0 to 28.. I honestly do believe the high handicappers have a harder time feeling comfortable when playing with the low guys than the other way around. I have also noticed that when a non sanctioned event is put together the guys usually flock together with more or less the same speed of play and comparable handicaps.. Makes sense...

It can be frustrating being a low handicapper and watching someone with a terrible grip aim stance posture and a swing that might get lucky and hit a ball with a small satisfactory outcome once every 5 attempts. I try not to watch.. I have seen scratch golfers offer advice to the poor golfer person and they might as well have been talking to a door knob with glazed eyes because the 25 handicapper knows what he has to do already and yet he asked point blank why he was hitting the ball so badly...go figure ?

Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, is well, dreaming or worse yet a form of insanity ..

I was lucky when I first stared playing for I had two friends that had played on the PGA tour for just about 7 years each and most of my friends had been playing several years with single handicaps... We (the PGA guys) played together in some tournaments (they were minus 2 handicap to start the tournament and I was 12 back then) We won some stuff and had a blast doing it.. But I swear if either one said I was starting to do something wrong or could do something better I was all ears and tried to be a sponge of their knowledge. Different mind set for different folks..

One big problem IMO about golf is guys/girls buy clubs and go play with their friends for a beer,soda or fun.... because there are 10,000 ways to move a ball down range whatever they find that advances the ball they tend to stay with that swing and that thought.. No matter the ball off the tee with their 400$ driver only went 125 yards into the trees; just an unlucky bad shot; no the one that went 150 yards and straight was a lucky bad shot too....

With all the free videos on youtube you just have to wonder, are they out for sunshine and fresh air or are they actually trying to play and improve at golf ? Back in the not to distant future it was lessons from someone who knew how to play or 1000s of balls on a driving range and still you could not improve a swing that started off, totally messed up, with a horrible technique to begin with..

I have fun with just about everyone unless they are a high handicapper (or low for that matter) and throw a fit every time they hit a shot or make a bad putt or want strokes on par threes that are 100 yards away.. If someone has been playing for a few years (established handicap and all) and cannot hit a ball 100 yards then they might consider a few lessons, some range time, or bowling IMO.... either way don't ask to play a money game.. A fun game for practice and sunshine...I am all in..

It is true a low handicapper cannot always beat a high handicapper (especially on par 3s with two given strokes)... As far as I am concerned (money game) no strokes on par threes unless the are over 150 yards. Even then cap it at one stroke or go get a lesson/ work on your game etc etc but I am not playing a money game to donate to your charity...

The first time I ever shot in the 70s I was a 12 handicap in that tournament and won.. It was just one of those days where putts fell and chips worked; even though most of the putts and chips never started where I thought I was aiming hahhaha.

When I play for small coins I zero out by subtracting my handicap from his/hers so if my opponent is a 10 he/she then gets five strokes for the round. I still get beat on a fair occasion when both of us are playing well..

The thing I really do like about golf is the company you can play with and the new people you meet to have a few laughs on the course and afterwards; some of the girls and guys both are a hoot..

I don't play the opponent (some people think golf is a different kind of tennis or foot ball match up mostly thanks to the T.V. hype and tournaments), I just play against the course and do the best I can, sometimes getting my lunch bought while at other times having to listen to the wife complain how expensive golf has gotten !! Either way it is a form of exercise that I don't get bored with and keeps me thinking about how to improve my game.. I play or hit balls every friggin day.. If I say anything on the first Tee Box is, "I hate golf"..

Low expectations... that way I never fell pressure to preform.. Hey works for me.. especially in tournaments.

Anyway thanks for the articles I always enjoy other peoples thoughts on the game. Sorry for the long winded rambling thoughts... They were just thoughts and probably not very well thought out at that ! Cheers

Alan Cooper's avatar
Alan Cooper wrote at 2016-02-09 21:58:32+00:00:

I'm off 6 and find there's more pressure on me when playing with high handicappers - they don't expect me to duff shots!

As for slow play - if you move quickly between shots you can take more time over your shots.

Bob Marshall's avatar
Bob Marshall wrote at 2016-02-09 16:56:59+00:00:

A couple of years ago I played with 2 single-digit handicappers. My handicap is 30. The weather wasn't the best that day and at the end of the first nine, I was ahead of one by one stroke and the other by two. Things reverted to normal on the back nine, and both beat me by several strokes after 18, but the front nine gave my ego a big boost. The best part was that both were genuinely happy that I was able to beat them on the front nine. We had an enjoyable day (it wasn't all about golf)and I have enjoyed playing with them several times since.

Chris Thometz's avatar
Chris Thometz wrote at 2016-02-09 16:41:24+00:00:

Had the distinct pleasure of playing a couple rounds with Frank Lickliter in Honolulu before the Sony Open. What a true golfer and gentleman of the old school. (Even if he did call me "Sunshine" most of the day!). I'm a 14 handicap playing to about a 24 those two days, yet Frank was as courteous and downright fun as a regular Saturday afternoon partner. Watching a touring pro play could have been intimidating, but Frank made it feel like a walk in the park, and had a few nice tips as well.

I'll be looking forward to seeing him win several more times on the PGA Tour before he hits the Champions Tour and takes ALL their money!

Go Frank!

Peter's avatar
Peter wrote at 2016-02-09 16:38:24+00:00:

In my 30+ years of golfing, I've been paired many a round...some better, some worse. In these many years, i can only recall playing with 2-3 groups that i did not enjoy. Golfers are social and enjoy people and being outdoors. People treat you nice if you treat people nice. And remember, as in life there's always someone worse off than you.

Isaac's avatar
Isaac wrote at 2016-02-09 16:34:49+00:00:

I am a bogey golfer and I love playing with lower handicaps. I watch how they play and try to pick up strategies, course management and techniques that I can benefit from. They also usually play quickly, which I love.

Ian's avatar
Ian wrote at 2016-02-09 16:22:55+00:00:

Great article and very welcome as a higher handicapper. I often play abroad "solo" and it has been my pleasure to have been paired up with some really good players over the years and I recognise many of the "confessions" from the other side. My experience is that low handicap golfers want exactly the same as you - a good score, to enjoy the course and to have some fun! However, my advice to any higher handicappers is not to try and compete too much with your low handicap partner(s). Unless you are in a competition, if you are not going to score on a hole - pick the darn ball up and blob the hole! Far better to acknowledge this and then help your better playing partners to rake a bunker or tend the flag for them instead of wasting their time ....... and testing their patience! They will value that far more than watching you three put for your 9 on a par 4! Last year I played with a couple of scratch golfers who were both playing with brand new Titleist Drivers and fairway woods and it was awesome to see (and hear) how well they could hit the ball with such power. However, that did not stop them on the back nine, giving me the chance to hit a couple of shots with the clubs to show me how much difference it made using such good quality clubs - even for a higher handicapper like me (and no - they were not Titleist sales reps!). Awesome and although I could not afford clubs similar to theirs, I did take up their advice and went for a club fitting afterwards which has improved my game by some 4 shots since. Much appreciated and confirms your points.

Dave's avatar
Dave wrote at 2016-02-09 16:20:14+00:00:

I'm a 7 handicap, which I imagine to be a "mid-handicap." I almost always go to a course with either one friend or just as a single, so I'm almost always paired with others. Whether they are better or worse than me, the only things I hate are (1) slow players, and (2) people who b*tch and moan the whole way around the course. Re: no. 1, slow players come in all forms, such as the high-handicapper who is willing to hunt in the woods for 15 minutes looking for his ball that sliced 30 yards in, or the low-handicapper who needs to read the green from every angle for a recreational round. Re: no. 2, complainers also come in all forms, from the high-handicapper who swears he normally drives 280 right down the fairway, to the low-handicapper who is convinced that the course conditions (at the public course he picked) cost him 5 strokes on the day.

Wayne's avatar
Wayne wrote at 2016-02-09 16:17:54+00:00:

I hover around a 9 handicap, but play with lots of low cap players. I get a great deal of satisfaction in the fact that most really enjoy playing with me, no matter how I play. I think my sportsmanship and good attitude help my playing partners have fun (whether low or high handicappers)and play better. I would agree that the low 'cap players that have a problem playing with me would be the ones I wouldn't particularly care to play with again anyway!

Ron Woodruff's avatar
Ron Woodruff wrote at 2016-02-09 16:17:05+00:00:

My index runs around 8 +/- and i don't care how high your handicap is. Here's what I do care about. Are you personable and respectful? Are you always ready to play your shot and not causing unnecessary slow play? Do you watch your ball flight so we don't waste time Looking for your ball? Do you curse and complain every time you hit a bad shot or miss a putt? Whether you shoot 68 or 108, I can enjoy playing golf with you. Or your behavior can make me cringe, although I try to not let ugly behavior ruin my day on the course.

Ed Ledford's avatar
Ed Ledford wrote at 2016-02-09 16:15:40+00:00:

Have to agree with this well written article. Only comment I would add for the higher handicap golfer is that if you can enjoy yourself out there you are likely to score one of your better rounds. Some of it really does rub off on you!

Chuck's avatar
Chuck wrote at 2016-02-09 16:12:31+00:00:

My current index is 5.4. I have been a lot lower when I was younger. I agree with the opinions in the article. I enjoy meeting people that share a passion for golf, or at least have fun playing the game. I don't care if you shoot 100. Just don't take 6 practice swings and then hit it 20 yards. Don't care what you shoot as long as you have fun and don't play slow.

Bob's avatar
Bob wrote at 2016-02-09 16:11:58+00:00:

Spot on! I'm 72 now and have faded to the 5-6 index range, but still the lowest index in the social group of oldsters I play with. My only irritation, other than slow play, is the complete stranger at a resort who claims to be a 15 or so index wants me to give him 10 strokes and play for money. With a complete stranger, I'll play for a beer or possibly validated skins, but only on the back nine after seeing you play for 9 holes. Vacation golf is for the enjoyment of the course and day, not paying for a sandbagger's dinner. Probably, 8+ out of 10 times, the higher handicapper I'm paired with picks up on ways to improve their game and I have fun in the sun and meet an interesting new person(s).

Long way of saying that I can enjoy playing golf with almost anyone of any skill level -- just keep it moving and don't try to sandbag me.

Anthony L's avatar
Anthony L wrote at 2016-02-09 16:01:42+00:00:

I recently started playing golf seriously (by seriously I mean regularly!), I was a once or less a year hacker who was happy to break 100, but usually shot 112. I moved close to a golf course and decided to join. There were a social group of guys who welcomed me in to the club and helped me navigate the foibles of being a bad golfer in good golfer company.

The focus was on fun and making sure that there was time to potentially get another 9 in if light permits! So, without rushing me, I was encouraged to take an X, if half way down the par 5, I already had 7 on my card! We play skins for a small about of (cash $1 a hole max) so picking up a ball when staring at a 9 or worse didn't impact my participation, or score, using Equitable stroke control meant I could still post a score and try and build and improve on my handicap.

The group included a range of people from me at a solid 28, to a +2 with his name on the club house wall in so many places I had to check it wasn't an alternative brand of Tyvek for use indoors! Most we're single figure golfers, with a couple in the low teens.

I did feel nervous playing with them, there is something quite intimidating about that first drive when you know the other 3 are going to pipe it, and I was likely to to get a sever dose of the very high, very rights!

Usually by the 4th, I had realised that they/re just having fun too, and as long as I didn't make them lean on their club while I searched yet another wood line in the wain hope I could find it and hole out from 176yds for a chance a a double bogey I was OK! But I still feel the nerves and expectation/intimidation of the narrow window and fairway on #1.

I was encouraged to play with the group and shown the ropes. There was also a former PGA teaching pro in the larger groups that was very helpful and would often take the time to walk a few holes on a evening and offer small pointers and advice. And the plus 2 I mentioned is of similar stature to me and was able to give me some really good advice on my swing plane and wrists. He's not the club most talkative guy, but half an hour on the range stood next to him helped me endlessly, he just seemed to understand my biomechanics and offer some helpful advice!

So,my journey has gone from a true beginner, to a 14 with the realistic goal of breaking 80 this season in my sights. My advice to anyone else on this path, is to choose a group of guys who are fun and choose who to listen to; A scratch golfer may not understand your issues, or he may see them straight away, I have experienced both.

Have fun and if you don't enjoy it, try playing with other groups in the club, you'll find a group that suits you. As a scratch golfer told me as I nervously hacked my way up the first, "no one there is playing for a living, have fun or I may as well be at work!"


Golfing Mook's avatar
Golfing Mook wrote at 2016-02-09 15:51:28+00:00:

I always go golfing with I'm on vacation, or on business trips in North America. I'm a 14 handicapper, and I've been paired up with a few scratch golfers but honestly most times I'm paired up with people my own level or higher. And I'm fine with that. I want to be paired up, 4 hours on the course is a long time to be alone. I want to talk, joke, help you look for lost balls, and hopefully have a beer after the round. And if you shoot lower than me or if I shoot lower than you, it's all good. Mike in Montreal

Mike's avatar
Mike wrote at 2016-02-09 15:48:00+00:00:

Great article -6-8 here/ play some time with +4 ex mini tour guy and he is great in our league he just has fun and will comment and help if you ask him

Gary's avatar
Gary wrote at 2016-02-09 15:39:54+00:00:

I am not scratch golfer, far from it as a 6. That said, I have enjoyed playing golf with people who have handicap lower and much higher than myself. Regardless of handicap, it is frustrating to play with someone who is significantly slower that everyone else in the group. The other two concerns I have, regardless of score, is that you have an understanding of the the rules and etiquette of the game. Of course, it never feels good when you play a great round and shoot 72, to only get obliterated by the infamous 25 handicapper who finds a way to shoot 15 over that day!!

Grover Crocker's avatar
Grover Crocker wrote at 2016-02-09 15:15:44+00:00:

I am 88 years old and am still able to shoot in the hi 80's and low 90's. Most of the "Scratch" Golfers I get paired with are friendly and admire that I am able to play that good at my age.

Thank you.

Jim's avatar
Jim wrote at 2016-02-09 15:10:44+00:00:

Great on about how scratch golfers are perceived and how we look at higher handicappers. I hope thousands of people read this!

Rodney's avatar
Rodney wrote at 2016-02-09 15:05:31+00:00:

I was glad to read this for I am one of those guys who believe that the better golfers do not like playing with bad/so-so golfers. For a while it kept me off the course. But what I found out that they are not what we think they are. The majority of them want to help you to become better golfers. There are still a few who do not have the time of day for us so-so golfers but that is far and in between.

Thanks for the encouragement

Robin Mock's avatar
Robin Mock wrote at 2016-02-09 15:01:25+00:00:

I'm around 13/14 handicapper and I find myself being intimidated a little too much by low/lower handicap and scratch golfers. Some know that if they get in your head,your game will go to pot. I am very pleased to know your thoughts. Don't get me wrong,true golfers will "give the shirt off their back". But there's a few to do anything for the "W". I love the game. Rob

Aaron Leung's avatar
Aaron Leung wrote at 2016-02-09 14:57:40+00:00:

I'm not yet a scratch-golfer, a 3-handicap. I totally agreed with you, particularly we also want to have fun and enjoy. The only thing I'd add is being with rude and poor golf-etiquette golfers just kills the day.

mike's avatar
mike wrote at 2016-02-09 14:54:52+00:00:

Good advise, I was a 6 handicap for 20 years. I have had a great time with higher handicap player. the best advise is you just want to have good time

Janina Jacobs's avatar
Janina Jacobs wrote at 2016-02-09 14:51:20+00:00:

This assessment is right one time when I competed a lot, I too was 0.0; now I hover between 3 and 6. Your observations, especially #7 are what I have experienced too. It is more unusual for a woman to be a low-handicap player and some of the comments we get are pretty funny (sometimes sad commentary on how some men view women golfers). The 'let me get out of your way' is common and I try to make people feel at ease and let them know they have every right to be out there as much as me. Afterwards, when they've had fun, they can't remember why they were afraid or nervous to play with me.

Ray's avatar
Ray wrote at 2016-02-09 14:40:53+00:00:

I have found that many higher handicappers tend to not want to play with scratch golfer because they feel intimidated and don't want to be embarrassed in front of you or their friends. Even though you stress that it's only a game so just enjoy the day, it's not easy for them to relax and therefore they are not enjoying the outing. I have no problem playing with higher handicappers, just keep the game moving and don't spend forever looking for lost balls.

Bruce's avatar
Bruce wrote at 2016-02-09 14:36:16+00:00:

I am glad that I read this article. In my men's group, I am a high handicapper and I have felt the better golfers play a fantastic game but have never thought that my score and theirs is about the same for our skill level.


David's avatar
David wrote at 2016-02-09 14:34:07+00:00:

I would love to agree but I have played with quite a lot of low and scratch players who seem to be desperate to find a reason to be offended by their higher handicap partners. I have witnessed rudeness which would not be accepted but they obviously felt that everyone was only there to admire them and their game.

My favourite was in a pro am when a pro in his 20s who had delusions that he should be on the tour walked on the first tee, shook hands and then never spoke to any of his partners until he walked off the 18th. He constantly chatted to his caddy even when others were playing their shots. The joke was on him because one of his partners was a multimillionaire with a track record of helping aspiring tour pros to get a start. Funnily enough I never heard of the pro again.

gene's avatar
gene wrote at 2016-02-09 14:27:34+00:00:

I have always been a high handicap and am concerned about what the lows think of me. I have never been slow and don't expect special treatment. I rarely ask for advice. I must say the mantra of the low guys has been repeated in this article. Thank you for putting my mind at ease. I have always been impressed with the great treatment I got from the low guys. It really is a gentleman's sport. Gene

Dan chase's avatar
Dan chase wrote at 2016-02-09 14:14:31+00:00:

My son in law is a scratch player. I am a 33 handicapper. He plays very fast and carries, I push my clubs. If we are on the course alone, he'd like to bed one in 2 hours, I'm closer to 3 or 3 1/2. Sometimes I get the feeling he is just trying to distance himself from me. It's kind of disheartening and I really like my son in law. But we don't play together much.

Tim Gavrich

Senior Writer

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor and the Managing Editor of the Golf Vacation Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.