12 Phrases No Golfer Wants To Hear

When things are not quite going to plan, there are countless phrases that no golfer wants to hear. We pick out 12 of the game's most irritating phrases...

When things are not quite going to plan, there are countless phrases that no golfer wants to hear. We pick out 12 of the game's most irritating here...

12 Phrases No Golfer Wants To Hear

Golf has many frustrations and irritations. Most often you're playing with great playing partners; sometimes they prove to be a little more annoying.

When the game isn't going well, the last thing any golfer wants to hear is a glib or careless phrase from a playing companion to compound the situation.

Here, we pick out 12 phrases no golfer wants to hear.

A word of warning, though - most of these are best reserved for your closest golfing mates who can take a bit of banter. And even then, you may have to judge whether or not they're in the mood that day...!

'Ted's already in with 43 points...'

You've just beaten the elements and the course on a tough day to return your once-a-year 40-pointer. Finally, hopes of a prize!

Just as you're pondering what to spend your winnings on, news breaks of at least one ridiculously good score. It may not be Ted at your club, but it will always be someone!

'It's still you'

A bad misjudgement sees your first putt sail past the hole still well outside your opponent's or fellow player's ball.

You're already raging at yourself inside, so the last thing you need to hear is, 'It's still you!' Cue missed return putt!

'That's a NITBY'

Facing a delicate chip over a bunker from an iffy lie is bad enough as you attempt to shut out negative thoughts. Having someone helpfully advise you that this is a classic NITBY does nothing to enhance your chances - Not In The Bunker Yet!

'That's a NITBY'


Always hilarious to others on the tee; less so to you as you stoop down to re-tee your ball after nudging it with the toe of your driver.

'One!' is the staple diet of the regular fourball, never mind that it isn't even correct when it comes to the Rules.

'One!' Not what you want to hear

'I can only see one ball on the green'

You're sure you've hit a good shot in to a slightly hidden green, so leave your bag some distance away and head on up with just your putter.

'I can only see one ball'

Just as you're pondering how close your birdie putt might be, your playing companion pipes up with, 'I can only see one ball and I'm pretty sure it's mine'. Instant deflation.

'That's a little too far left'

Forget whether or not it might constitute advice, but in a friendly you've just flushed your drive exactly where your playing companion told you to.

Just as you're bending down to pick up the tee peg triumphantly, you hear, 'Ah, I think that's a little too far left, though'. Grrrrr!

'That's a little too far left'

'You're not going to like it'

As the search becomes ever more frantic, the joy of someone calling out, 'I've found it...' rapidly turns to dismay when they add, '... but you're not going to like it'.

'You're not going to like it'

'I get a shot here too'

You're three down at the turn and the 18-handicapper you're playing against is hitting every drive 40 yards past you straight down the middle and hasn't yet missed a putt.

The last thing you want to hear is, 'I get a shot here, too'.

Four down!

'It's not this one then'

Someone finally finds a ball as the search nears its conclusion. Despair turns to hope... briefly. 'What are you playing?' they ask. 'Titleist 4,' you reply. 'Oh, it's not this one then,' they say.

'It's not this one, then'

Even worse if the found ball isn't even the same colour as yours!

'Great strike!'

Flushing a club out of the middle doesn't automatically mean it's a good shot, especially with modern drivers where everything sounds pretty well hit.

'Great strike!'

Having someone advise you it was a 'great strike' as your drive heads 40 yards into the woods or your approach plugs in a bunker way right of target does nothing for inter-player relations.

'My hole then'

You know full well that you have to hole this tricky five-footer for the half - the pressure is on.

As the ball slides by, the last thing you need to hear is a cheery, 'My hole, then,' from your opponent.

'My hole, then'

'Sorry, I wasn't watching'

There's an unwritten, but well understood, code between golfers that you will try to follow someone else's ball and they will do the same for you.

'Sorry, I wasn't watching'

So when playing into the sun or that milky grey sky in which white balls tend to disappear, 'Sorry, I wasn't watching,' is an incredibly annoying response as you fail to track your ball's flight and turn for help.



Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response