Dear Bonnie,

I suspect my playing partner sometimes incorrectly counts the number of strokes she takes on a hole. What is the best way to talk to her about it? I feel awkward correcting someone.

Almost every golfer, at one time or another, inadvertently drops a stroke when scoring a hole. Most players will appreciate the correction because they want their scores to accurately reflect their level of play.

However, if you are going to question a score, you want to be able to do so in a way that doesn’t disrupt your own game and concentration going forward. If you are feeling awkward and uncomfortable when you voice a correction to your partner, there is a risk you will carry distracting thoughts about the exchange in your head to the next hole and beyond. When you voice the possibility of an error, you want to do so with no uncomfortable feelings, or your game could be affected.

To avoid feeling awkward in questioning a score, I suggest you always be mentally prepared for the situation. Choose to believe that speaking up is the right action to take, and that you would want your partner to do the same if the situation was reversed.

Most golfers will appreciate you noting the miscount with no negative feelings attached. I believe the awkward feeling you mentioned comes from anticipating some type of adverse response. There is always a chance you may encounter someone who responds with embarrassment, irritation, or defensiveness. However, if this happens, remember you are not in control of other people’s reactions regarding the exchange. Their feelings and reactions are their responsibility, not yours.

You asked about the best way to tell someone about a possible mistake. I offer that you ask yourself how you would want your playing partner to deliver a correction to you. Looking at your own thoughts in the situation may give you the words to create a comfortable response to use with others.

Another suggestion is to simply ask in a friendly manner, “Did you say 5? I had you for a 6.” In most cases, your partner will respond by re-counting her strokes with no negative reaction toward you.

When the situation is handled with neutrality, curiosity, and respect, there is no need to feel uncomfortable, whether you are voicing the correction, or are the one who is being corrected. Accurate scoring supports the integrity of the game for everyone.


If you, our readers, would like to share how you prefer to receive a score correction, please leave a comment below.