Whether consciously or subconsciously, all golfers are influenced by tour pros in some way, shape or form. You know you’ve mimicked a tour player’s pre-shot routine or swing, bought similar attire, or even reacted similarly to a shot, and you probably do it more often than you think.
My friends and I began doing this years ago when we started thinking we were way better than we were. We began intentionally acting as if we were tour pros playing inside the ropes in front of large galleries. What started as a joke morphed into a full fledged side competition and reached the point where we celebrated a well-executed tour mannerism more than a great shot.
Below are some ideas for how you can join in on the fun (ordered by degree of ridiculousness). And remember, throw subtlety out the window when trying any of this stuff. We call it #TourSauce.
You’re a pro now, remember that. You did not “get new clubs this offseason” – rather, you’re “going through an equipment change.” Yes, those 6 year old Mizuno’s you bought at Golf Galaxy count as an equipment change. And don’t forget to throw in some fabricated stat like “I got them bent so my traj is 1.5 degrees lower than last year” or “My ball speed is up 6 miles an hour.”
You haven’t been “taking lessons.” Instead, you’re working with a new swing coach. It doesn’t matter that your lessons cost $25/hour at Ranger Rick’s (they just put in lights this year!). You’re going through some swing changes, and you need to make it clear to everyone that you feel good about where you are in “The Process.” Just remember, all the hours you’ve been putting in with the new “physio” you brought on the team a few months ago are going to start paying dividends soon (nevermind that this new “physio” is just the instructor in your group Cardio Jam class at L.A. Fitness).
This is probably the only tour thing you can do that isn’t completely ridiculous. You may even already do this as part of your routine, but you can absolutely go next level with it. My favorite is the tee shot where the club is twirled away from the body, and the tee is picked out of the ground before the ball has even reached its apex. No need to watch the ball. It really doesn’t even matter if you hit it well – remember, you’re trying to be as arrogant as possible.
The Crowd Wave
You wedge in from 130, knocking it to 12 feet, sprinkling goobie dust on it and making your ProV1x dance just a little bit. Your playing partner acknowledges you with a “Good ball.” Your instinct is to reply with a simple, “Thanks.” Resist the urge – even though you’ve missed six greens in a row, you’re not satisfied – 12 feet is mediocre. Remember, you’re playing in front of a gallery. You just stuffed it to 12 feet. There is a smattering of applause. And while you want to acknowledge the applause, the subtlety of the crowd wave is the key here as you need to convey two things: 1) that you’re not thrilled with the shot 2) that you’re still grateful for their adulation. Basically, you want to find that spot one step above the Tiger crowd wave and one step below the Matt Kuchar smile/Phil Mickelson thumbs-up-fest. This is guaranteed to at least get an eye-roll from your partner, probably to the point that they’re going to stop complimenting your good shots. All for the better. You’ve got the crowd behind you now. The utter silence after you drain your next 15 footer is going to be deafening.
A similar move is to work in the casual tug of the hat after picking your ball up out of the hole, or after a modest approach shot. The key here is not to pull on the cap. Just touch your index finger and thumb to the bill of the hat. Don’t remove the hat under any circumstances. Act like you’ve been there before.
The Divot “Fix”
Let’s say you hit an 8-iron to 14 feet on the next hole (you’re really starting to groove your irons, although you hit your first drive OB), and the crowd is getting into it. You really want to convey that the shot was no big deal to you. Suddenly, you feel the urge to tap the area around your divot repeatedly with your club, which does absolutely nothing to fix the divot. Your heart is weeping for the piece of turf you just dug up. However, you can’t completely ignore the crowd. You take your free hand and briefly acknowledge with a wave, NEVER breaking your focus on the divot.
Once you’ve mastered this move you’ll also be able to utilize a similar technique after you hole the 14 foot bogey putt that you’re about to start grinding on. Immediately after you snag your ball out of the hole, tap down your imaginary spike marks as you walk away from the hole, while throwing in a subtle crowd wave. Of course your soft spikes didn’t make a mark on the furry public green that you just bogeyed, but why would that matter?
The Wayward Drive Directional Point
Sometimes, even a tour pro like yourself hits one off target. Luckily you play on tour, and you’ve got a marshall up ahead to help you spot your ball. You do all you can do make sure he knows which way to look. When Bubba Watson isn’t calling out a cell phone user or berating his caddie, this is typically what he’s doing when he’s pointing left. You’re not going to look for the ball yourself. The marshall is going to find the ball – you’re doing him a favor by offering up a directional hint.
The Follow Through Club Throw
You crank a drive, but it’s slightly off line. You’re DISGUSTED. As a tour pro you can easily feel any flaws in your swing prior to impact. You have to let everyone know how displeased you are, so you just throw your club on the follow through. But you really don’t worry about potentially hitting someone with the club – I’ll give you something to remedy any collateral damage in a bit.
After hitting a mediocre iron shot, you’re pissed. I mean it’s still on the green, but for godsake you’re a freaking tour pro. Something had to have gone horribly wrong for that ball to go 10 feet offline (you tell yourself that it’s just a byproduct of where you’re at in “The Process”). It’s time to rehearse your swing until you’ve figured it out. Nevermind that your group is now at the green, and the foursome of ladies behind you is ready to tee off…. you need to figure out what the hell just went wrong.
The Caddie-Ball Toss
You’ve hit yet another green in regulation. Big deal. You’re used to this. Time to clean off your ball and drain another birdie. But there’s no chance in hell you’re cleaning the ball yourself. Mark your ball, and toss it to your “caddie” (unsuspecting playing partner) to clean it.
Be Incredibly Confused by the Wind
Keep a scorecard in your back pocket. As you get ready to hit a shot, back off and pull it out and act like it’s a yardage book. Act like you’re talking to your caddie, and get REALLY specific. Throw every blade of grass in the air and act as if you’ve never seen wind on a golf course before, and you have no idea what to do. Look high up at the trees, as if that somehow gives you more information about the wind.
No Cameras Please
If you’re feeling uncomfortable over a shot and need to back off of it, it’s time to blame it on someone else, usually the crowd. This is done best if you can stop your swing halfway through.
This works for after a poor shot as well. Point at the groundskeeper minding his own business a couple of fairways over and act like he’s the camera man that clearly clicked in your backswing.
This is one by far my favorite, and by far the most difficult to pull off. Say you hit a ball out of bounds (someone snapped a picture on your downswing AGAIN). Once you finish belittling the fool that won’t quit capturing Kodak moments, you realize you hit it into someone’s yard and the homeowner happens to be out trimming the hedges. You walk up, feigning genuine concern, and lead with your standard, “Is everyone ok?”. After you’ve played your shot, you take off your glove, walk over to the fan (confused homeowner), sign it, and give it to them and apologize. Throw in a gratuitous “I’m not gonna find this on Ebay next week, am I?” joke in there, as if your John Hancock has some real monetary value.
You just completed your round. Everyone in the clubhouse is dying to know how it went (were they not watching the telecast? Geez). You stroll through the pro shop and the club pro (we’ll call him “Tom”) casually asks you how your round was. This is your cue to go into full interview mode:
“You know, Tommy, course looks great, greens are really stimping right now. I like my chances.”
Or… “All-in-all, felt like we got some good work in today. Left a few shots out there, the one on 13 hurt, but I really flighted the ball well and I’m seeing my lines. This track is so gettable right now, so hopefully I can rest up and post a low number tomorrow.”
Drop a “Thanks Tommy” as you walk away.