Karma – the dictionary defines it as the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one situation according to that person’s deeds in the previous situation.
Whether you believe in it or not I think it can be a huge factor in golf – let me explain.
If you as a golfer treat the course with respect and leave it in better condition than it was when you started, you will be rewarded with good karma.
Let me give you some examples and how you can ensure good karma.
Fixing ball marks – if you leave a ball mark unfixed for 24 hours it will take two weeks before it is totally healed. In other words if you leave a ball mark unfixed one of your putts will surely be knocked offline by an unfixed mark in the next couple of weeks.
Raking bunkers – if you choose to leave the bunker without raking the sand you will surely find your ball in someone else’s footprint when a bunker shot means the most to your score.
Driving the golf cart too close to the green – courses have rules that attempt to keep drivers of golf carts at least 30 feet away from greens and tees.
A golf cart compacts the turf and tramples down the grass. If you continually drive near the greens and tees the quality of the turf will suffer and the lies that the balls will find become increasingly tougher.
If you happen to drive your cart too close to the green you will surely find yourself with a tough lie when that shot will mean the most to your score.
Replacing your divots – when you hit your shots from the fairways and tees and you take a chunk of turf you should always do your best to either replace the divot or fill the divot with sand if that is what the course provides.
The rules of golf do not provide free relief if you hit a beautiful drive and find yourself in a deep divot in the middle of the fairway. Typically you will find yourself in an unrepaired divot when you have hit your longest and best drive of the day and when that shot will mean the most to your score.
Playing slow due to lack of attention to etiquette – speed of play is more of an etiquette thing than it is a skill thing.
If you are always ready to hit when it is your turn and you don’t dawdle between holes most people can play at an adequate speed of four hours for 18 holes.
If you don’t pay attention to others around you, you will most certainly find yourself behind the slowest group on the course when you need to get home for an important date with your spouse and that will certainly effect any shot when it means the most to your score.
Karma, I don’t know if you believe in it, but I certainly believe in it when it comes to golf.
The course has many ways to either help or hurt your score. I don’t ever want to tempt fate so if you play with me I am sure you will get tired of me fixing multiple ball marks on every green, raking my footprints and any others in any bunker I happen to find myself in, always heading directly to the cart path as soon as it comes, usually emptying my sand bottle and one or two more fixing divots in 18 holes, and always paying attention to the others around me and trying to be as quick as I can. I can’t point to any round or shot that I know has been aided by karma, but I can tell you that when I take care of the course it usually takes care of me and my score.
Larry Norland is the director of golf at Green Haven Golf Course.