Golf

Colonial pro-ams: Knowing etiquette keeps amateurs in line, and off it

Franklin Corpening is all smiles after retrieving his eagle from the cup on the sixth hole during the Hogan Pro-Am at the Colonial Country Club in 2013.
Franklin Corpening is all smiles after retrieving his eagle from the cup on the sixth hole during the Hogan Pro-Am at the Colonial Country Club in 2013. Special to the Star-Telegram

Differences between professionals and amateurs are not limited just to distance on a tee shot or the ability to make 10-foot putts consistently, but also a recognition of the undocumented rules of the game.

The Hogan Pro-Am is Monday and the Crowne Plaza Pro-Am is Wednesday.

Whether it’s stepping on another player’s putting line or throwing a golf club farther than their actual shot (all egregious enough), nothing compares to trying to grind out that snowman in a pro-am.

“Yeah we had one last year,” Fort Worth resident and author Jeff Bacot said. “If you’re 150 yards out and it’s your fifth shot, bogey is your buddy pal, pick it up.”

Bacot played with PGA Tour player and Colonial regular Matt Every in last year’s pro-am and said there were plenty of amateur fouls that day.

Yes, amateurs pay a healthy fee to tee it up with Colonial’s best. But that doesn’t mean there’s a discount for holing out on all 18 holes.

Here’s a look at some amateur golf faux pas to watch out for at this week’s pro-am events:

1. Putting for an 8: Really anything above a player’s handicap when it doesn’t help the team. It drives tour players crazy, especially if they just hit it to a foot and are tapping in for a team birdie.

2. Asking for swing advice: Just don’t do it. A tour professional needs several years to fix your swing, not four and a half hours.

3. Stepping in a putting line: This one is actually throughout the course, but let’s keep it simple: Know where everyone’s line is.

4. Club selection: J.J. Henry just hit it 7-iron from 180 on the eighth tee. You went up 20 yards to hit your tee shot and you still shouldn’t hit a 7-iron. Go ahead, grab your 4- or 5-iron like you’re supposed to. J.J.’s not going to be impressed that you blew it right out of bounds with a 7.

5. Taking a drop: Refer to rule No. 1: You probably don’t need to take one, you should pick it up. Besides, you’re not going to take the right drop anyhow. “They never do,” one pro said.

6. Pitch marks: Yes, there’s a four-day professional tournament the next four days; please fix the ball marks on the greens, or at the very least, acknowledge the professional for repairing it for you.

7. Driving range divots: You know those pancakes that fly off the end of your club when you’re warming up? You’re leaving checkerboard divots all over the place. Watch the pros; they damage one small area with minimal divots and fill them with sand.

8. Ready, golf: For the love of the game, “Hit the ball now!”

9. Talking to a pro’s golf ball: Bo Van Pelt just fired a missile up the right side of No. 16 tee and you just screamed “Get down!” The balls lands below the hole and ends up a foot away. Yes, you sound stupid.

10. Know what a nice shot looks like: Just because Jordan Spieth hammered his drive on No. 1 330 yards and it ended up screaming into the fairway bunker, it was only a nice shot to you. Remember, these guys are pros.

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