Respecting the ‘game of golf’

By Ian Callen

Golfers, as in most competitive sports, will sit down with each other after their rounds and talk over play.

It’s an enjoyable tradition that attracts others to gather and join the conversation.

Last week in such a circumstance, discussion focused on social golfers being allowed to play between groups competing in the clubs organised competitions.

In other words, members who pay in advance for the privilege of being able to compete.

Such golfers are then obliged to honour all rules or be struck from the register; a threat reinforced to them on a regular basis, but not to social players or visitors.

Those at the table were obviously frustrated and talked of having to stand in the fairways or on tee blocks motionless as social golfers, time and time again spent up to 10 minutes looking for golf balls or delaying play with other disruptive antics, one story was told of a social golfer miss hitting a drive and throwing his golf club widely in the direction of an unsuspecting golfer.

Enter Max Mcintosh, and for those fortunate to have played with Max, they understand he’s a strong believer; that what separates golf from the majority of other sports, is the very essence of the game.

That it be played properly, with respect for others on course or around you and most importantly, in accordance with the rules of the game.

“Let me be clear about it,” says Max, “I do not give a hoot, what players do in their social round, but when competition is being played, then the order of the day is etiquette. This requires honest compliance to the rules of golf.”

The McIntosh “CV” in golf is a distinguished one, it includes being a Boardroom Director of golf clubs in the service of the game.

And his long career in the game as a mentor and player is far from over, because he’s still playing excellent golf and his passion for the game infectious.

Most probably inherited from a playing competition golf where the rules and player honest adherence to them was paramount.

“Woe betide any loose interpretations,” he exclaims.

“My rules education was stringent and disciplined. I came to love and respect those rules and the ethics associated with the game and the spirit in which it’s played,” Max explained.

Mcintosh tells the story of when he moved to Healesville, where he was so unhappy with a playing partner that he could not sign his card.

“It was because of a blatant rule breach and the player was astounded. He went straight to the incumbent Professional at the time.” Max said.

To his disbelief Mcintosh was told not worry about the breach because this is after all a “resort” club to which Max replied… “Sorry guys, but I find this acceptance disgraceful and degrading to golf,”

It should be said, that all the golfers involved in the conversation that day unanimously agreed that accepting anything less than the rules of game; was to play it without the respect needed to preserve its beauty.

“The very essence of our game is the issue here, and the matter should not be lightly brushed aside just in the hope of attracting more folk onto courses.” Max asserted.

Perhaps it is time to make it compulsory for club management to attend “rule refresher courses” and that Golf Administration bodies actively encourage club Professionals to enforce rules and etiquette during all play.