You Give Love a Bad Name*

Kevin Markham

North West GC

Over the past few days I have seen photos on Twitter of greens scalped by an angry golfer. A divot-sized chunk is torn through the putting surface, the flap of green folded over forlornly to one side.

The most recent one is from North West Golf Club on the Inishowen peninsula. The pic from the 17th green was posted by the club’s Head Greenkeeper, Damien Doherty.

How angry do you need to be to do something like this? How stupid? How ignorant?


Is it the green’s fault you missed a putt? Is it your putter’s? No, you missed the putt… you and you alone. By all means curse under your breath or slap yourself in the head but leave the green alone. Golfers who don’t repair their pitchmarks are bad enough but venting your frustration on the putting surface gets you labelled in a whole different category. I can’t call you what I’d like to call you – Irish Golfer would never print such a stream of expletives – so I’ll go with ‘scum’ instead. If that is how you treat a golf course (whether you’re a member or a visitor) then you have no place playing this game. Go and crawl back under your rock and stay there.

All the golfers behind you have to see that on the green and endure your ignorance. No doubt, like me, they’ll have a few choice words for you, too. The greenkeeper arrives to do their job the next morning and adds a few more insults to the sky before spending part of their day repairing what you have done, when they should be focused on other parts of their daily regime.

You have no respect for the work of the greenkeeping staff – or the club for that matter – who arrive at the club at sunrise so you can play on a course in the best condition possible. You insult their efforts.

Take a breath, Kev…

So, now that I’ve made my feelings clear for the golfer in question, and boy do I hope you read this, what about his or her playing partners? (I say ‘her’ for the sake of equality alone.) What did your playing partners do when you did this? Looking at the photo, the divot you took is a good 20 feet from the hole so I suspect you did this as you walked back to your bag… when your playing partners weren’t paying attention, when you wanted some privacy to vent your anger. Because if your playing partner saw you do this, they’re the one who should be slapping you or, at the very least, reporting you to the club. And if they remain your playing partner then you have a very good friend!

We’ve all had our frustrations on the golf course. Some of us cope with them admirably, some of us don’t. I’ll admit to tossing a club – a flick of disgust back towards my bag – but for you I’ll take your putter and launch it into Lough Swilly from North West’s 18th tee. You deserve no better.

“Repairing this is like changing a hole. We would plug it out of the green and put a new bit of turf in its place. Five minutes of repairs. But if this is done by someone in the morning then all the players will see this and it may affect their putts on the green. No respect.”

Damien Doherty


* You Give Love a Bad Name was a number one hit for Bon Jovi in 1986. It was the first single from the Slippery When Wet album.

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One response to “You Give Love a Bad Name*”

  1. Jim Duggan avatar
    Jim Duggan

    Disgraceful. The playing partners are complicit in this behaviour for not reporting it. Then when Sergio had his meltdown in Saudi none of his pro playing partners reported it either so there’s the bad example.

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