• Alistair Tait

The most annoying phrases in real golf


Don’t tell me I haven’t missed a fairway if you’re playing golf with me. It’s one of the most annoying things you can say because you know exactly what’s going to happen.


Yes. I’m going to miss the next bloody fairway!


The European Tour currently features a package on its website dealing with the phrases tour pros most hate: https://bit.ly/38wNUq1 These phrases apply to professional golf, such as “staying in the moment”, “one shot at a time”, “I don’t watch leaderboards” and other clichés tour pros have been trotting out for generations.


Real golfers, i.e., those of us who play the game for fun, are subject to a plethora of phrases that drive us nuts. Here’s a collection of mine. Perhaps you’d like to send me a few of your own.

“You’re driving the ball great today”

This is akin to “you haven’t missed a fairway yet.” The reason I’m probably driving the ball great is because I’m not thinking about my golf swing. Sure thing, as soon as someone tells me I’m driving it great, I start to wonder why and guess what? I start missing fairways.

“You’re putting great today”

The twin sibling of the above. As soon as someone tells you you’re putting great you invariably start missing putts because you become conscious of the fact that you’re putting well.

“Got it”

It’s amazing how many prophets this game has, people who can see into the future. The “got it” quote does my head in. My ball is travelling towards the hole on a good line and nine inches from the hole a playing companion says “got it” or “made it” only for the ball to lip out. So you go from pure elation at making a nice putt to abject misery at being robbed. In fact, “you were robbed” is usually the next line out of you’re playing companion’s mouth. Please stay schtum until the ball comes to rest.

“Never up, never in”

This might be the biggest cliché in amateur golf. Usually it’s said when you leave a putt in the jaws. The last thing you need is for the person you’re playing with to remind you that you should have hit the ball harder.

“You’ve got this for the win”

Your opponent always seems to say this in the most innocent voice as you eye up a four-foot putt to win the hole. I’m convinced most of the time the speaker knows exactly what he’s doing: applying a wee bit more pressure. Sure enough, you miss the putt and invariably your opponent says “that was a tough putt.” Made all the tougher by you opening your big mouth!

“I hate this tee shot”

Turns out I end up hating it too even though I didn’t hate it beforehand. I played my first medal at Woburn Golf Club on the Dukes course. I stood on the tee of the par-5 first hole (pictured above) trying to stay calm and relaxed when one of the guys I was playing with said: “I hate this tee shot. All I can think about is the out of bounds running down the left-hand side of the fairway.” I wasn’t actually thinking about the out of bounds but my ball finished there anyway thanks to you. I had another guy once say: “Nick Faldo once hit two balls out of bounds here.” True story, but not one I want to hear BEFORE I tee off.

“I can see what you’re doing wrong”

I know a wee lesson is coming when I hear this. There are just some people who can’t resist giving a lesson during a round. I’ve got wise to this now and usually head them off at the pass. “STOP,” I say. “Please tell me afterwards.” I’ve got so many swing thoughts and theories running through my head that the last thing I want is a fellow mid-handicapper adding more. “I can see what you’re doing wrong is a twin of “What I like about your swing is….” When the person you’re playing with highlights an aspect of your action that you don’t really want to think about.

“That’s not an easy two putt”

I played a lot of golf with a friend who used to wind me up with this phrase. The other one he used was “that’s a tough up and down.” So I’d go from thinking this is fairly routine situation to thinking I was in danger of taking three shots rather than two. Usually I did!


There are times when sometimes I wish I’d brought ear plugs to the golf course.


What annoying phrases have I missed? Let me know.

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