The ‘F’ Word – When Is It Appropriate on the Golf Course?


Golf is a gentleman’s game – handshakes on the 18th green, honors on the tee box, fine cigars on the fairways. The game values integrity, honesty, and humility, and these principles have been passed down since the sport’s beginning.

However, there are times when these principles go on hiatus – and golfers throw clubs, quit on holes, and swear. If you’ve played this game long enough, you can relate. ‘Shanking’ a ball into the woods and then swearing loudly, well – they seem to go together, in some twisted way.

Today, we hear a lot of talk about the ‘F’ word, and its appropriateness on the golf course.

We’re talking, of course, about the word FORE!!!

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed when someone hits a ball dangerously close to someone else on the course. All these things occur. The player strikes the ball, it’s well off line, the player notices another golfer in the ball’s path, they glance at the ball and pray it doesn’t hit the person, then try and gauge how close of a call it’s going to be, and only then do they yell “Fore” like they’re playing hide-and-seek.

I was playing the other day and a ball came precariously close to hitting someone in my group. Upset, my playing partner confronted the other golfer as he approached his ball.

“A little ‘fore’ would’ve been nice,” he says.

“Oh, we yelled it… Sorry about that,” the other player responds.

Well, now the guy in my group is pretty agitated. He goes on to play pretty poorly, seemingly unable to regain his focus from earlier in the round.

Not yelling ‘fore’ is not only dangerous, but it’s also ungentlemanly. A gentleman acknowledges when he makes a mistake. Yelling ‘fore’ lets people know, ‘Well, I screwed that one up. But at least nobody is going to die.’

Also, don’t give it some little pipsqueak-mouse-voice effort. Bellow it from deep in your soul. The entire course should take cover. The players in your group should join in. Wake up the neighbors. (After all, they live on a golf course. What do they expect?)

So fear not, golfers. There is no shame in hitting a wayward golf ball.  We’ve all been there, and rest assured, we’ll be there again soon. Let’s not hide from this, but rather embrace it, for the safety and enjoyment of everyone else out on the course. Be a gentleman (or gentlewoman) and yell the ‘F’ word as loud as you can.

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