Letting other groups play through

Why does it leave such a bad taste in people’s mouths to let other groups play through?

I have been lamenting this question for 25 years. Is it emasculating to men? Is it submissive for women? I don’t understand why it is such a big deal. If I am in a foursome and a cart with two 70 year old women is pushing my group with no one in front of us…

“Ladies, would you like to play through?”…and I am happy to do it.

I have been a single late in the afternoon with a foursome in front of me and open holes in front. Instead of just waiving me through, they grind for score and run to their carts.

It is not uncommon occurrence for me to be a single, finish a hole and get to the next tee before the group in front of me has teed off. They finish, all give me a dirty look and drive off. I then get an even dirtier look when I skip the hole they haven’t even hit their second shots to and go to the next tee.

What’s up with that?

A perfect example of what I am talking about. A few years ago I was playing with all my friends (by myself, in other words) at around 4 or 5 PM. I teed off about 20 minutes after a foursome and I caught them by the 3rd tee. They saw me and didn’t offer to let me play through. One guy was giving lessons (not a pro, a 10 giving lessons to 20′s) to two of the other players and I was not happy. On a 340-350 yard par 4 they finished putting and started getting putting lessons. I whistled and raised my hands when they looked back. They kept on putting for another 2 minutes. I got tired of waiting so I hit my tee shot and hit it in the green side bunker.

When I pulled up by the green, they were still putting. Mr. Scratch looks at me and says, “you in some kind of hurry?”

I decided to treat this in the manner that seemed most appropriate to the situation. I said nothing, hit my sand shot to a few feet, took out the pin, putted in, put the pin back in, went to the next tee and teed off.

Moral to the story: If there is no one in front of you and there is a single behind you, let him play through. It might be me and I am hostile, combative, a jerk and I will hit into you. 😉




  1. Christian

    I play alone a lot and this happens way too much. I think some people are especially bad with singles. I’ve actually heard people say that singles and twosomes “have no rights” so foursomes don’t have to let them play through. This is crazy to me. It literally takes about 30 seconds to let a fast playing single through, but guys would rather rush to try to avoid it. Makes no sense.

    • woody

      Rules of Golf, Section I, ETIQUETTE; BEHAVIOR ON THE COURSE

      …It is a group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS in that group. Where a group has not lost a clear hole, but it is apparent that the group behind can play faster, it should invite the faster moving group to play through…

  2. Wally

    Etiguette calls for letting faster players pass through. The time for instruction is not on the course. Too many people play from tees they are not qualified to play from. As a general rule if you can’t reach every green in regulation because you are not capable of hitting the ball far enough, you are play too far back. If you do not get the driver in the air in the general direction 99 out of 100 times take lessons

  3. rojoass

    Great rant…….now spill one about the hacks that have a towel hanging out of each pocket, shirt-tail out , knee socks & wouldn’t rake a trap if it had $100 bills scattered in it……

    it’s why I carry a weapon………


  4. Wally

    Another thing, poeple take WAAY TOOO much time sizing up putts. This ain’t the pga pick a line and hit the freakin ball

    • James


  5. FredL

    what I find funny are guys teeing off the blues (even blacks!)…then takes a whack and the ball goes nowhere. There is no shame in teeing off the whites. Hell, I’ve played off the reds when I’m with a bunch of ladies.

    • Mike Z

      Totally agree. Those same guys often will hit their 220-yard drives from the blues, then wait for the green to clear so they can go at a par 5 from 270 with their 3-wood.

      Even for players that play the correct tees, I think most public courses (with back, middle, and ladies/forward options) weren’t designed with enough space between their tee boxes. I can hit Driver-Wedge on a 400-yard hole from the blues but my dad would have to hit Driver-FW wood to the same 380-yard green from the whites.

  6. Calvin D

    Great rant and true.

    Sometimes it can be hard to figure people out. Today there was a young twosome behind my threesome. They were not pushing us at all but decided to skip around us to the next hole. They didn’t hold us up but we kept pace with them. What the hell?
    My group always plays in three hours if we don’t run up behind someone.

    I have followed the lesson giving guy. It’s really fun when your group is right there on the same tee with his and he gives lessons to everybody while 7 people watch.

    Every group should be given a timer by the starter on the first tee that goes off with an ah-ooga horn at 3 hours thirty minutes, at which time they should be escorted off the course, having used up the time they paid for. 🙂 Anything over four hours for a round of golf deserves jail time.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      I give plenty of lessons on the course…until it MIGHT POSSIBLY hold up play…then forget it.

      • Calvin D

        This guy was no pro. I’d give him 5 a side.

  7. Eric32

    I love the guys who sit in there cart after the hole and write there score down.. I love to hit into those guys until they learn to write there score down on the next tee box

    • Calvin D

      It makes no difference when you write your score down unless you are mentally challenged and have to add it up on your fingers and toes or you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Beyond that, there is no good reason to intentionally hit into another group even if they are writing their score down.

      Just try to keep it movin’, movin’. 🙂

    • north

      The guy is in the cart – are you going to miss the green, seriously?

    • Mike from Canada

      Don’t hit up on me if I’m taking the 2 seconds to mark score (literally) before I drive off. I’d come back there and make you pay for it… you can bet on it.

      • john

        the type of people with your attitude are the ones that hold up plan and don’t give a shit cuz u think u can kick everyones ass ur prolly a 25 hcp

  8. s.

    Seriously…Murphy’s Law…if something can go wrong, it will.

    Ask Van de Velde. Open Championship.

  9. Roy Gilley

    What if you let the group play through and there is no gap between them and the group that was behind them? Let them play through, I guess, plus every other group until there’s a gap. That works.


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