Today our golf lifestyle piece explores the differences between how golf differs between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The biennial Ryder Cup isn’t the only way in which the USA and UK compete for supremacy in golf, as the years have shown a huge difference in all aspects of the sport. From style, etiquette and mentality to golfing personalities produced, they do things more than a little differently on courses across the pond.
Inclusivity vs. Exclusivity
Even today, golf in the USA is seen as a sport for wealthy people, exclusive only to those who can afford to play. From real-life experience to parodies in films, golfers are always considered snooty and elitist. Contrarily, here in the UK golf is seen more as an everyman’s sport. Although it still upholds its traditional values of gentlemanly conduct and etiquette, which may be seen to some as somewhat elitist, in essence they are just acceptable rules of behaviour that any golfer should play by, and can only serve to benefit the sport as a whole. Any given course in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland will as likely have any range of golfers at any given time, from wealthy businessman to working class fanatics. The USA, however, seems to be heading in the same direction more recently with the emergence of more and more courses available to the public, which can be played for as little as $20.
Muirfield vs. Augusta
Muirfield, the host of last year’s Open Championship, could be considered as one of the UK’s most exclusive clubs. If you really want to play the famous course, you are able to on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as it hosts thousands of non-members every single year. When compared to the Augusta National, the home of the Masters, playing a round as a non-member is absolutely impossible. When Golf Digest ranked the Top 10 courses in the USA, only one was open to the public. When they did the same for the UK, all but one were open for non-members to play on.
Sportsmanship vs. Etiquette
In the USA, you grow up thinking that anyone can be the next President. Here in the UK, we are generally told that it is never going to happen to us, someone else is always better. As such, our mentality is much more focused on integrity, etiquette and, above all, being able to lose with grace. The American mentality is much more (although not exclusively) a win-at-all-costs mindset. Not always as cutthroat as it may sound, it does give golfers from the USA an edge when playing their British counterparts. Whereas we may hope to win, they expect it. It all boils down to who you want to be, both off the course and on it. ETIQUS timepieces show that you know who you are and that, as a proper golfer, you care about the integrity of the sport as much as you do about winning. It’s down to people like you to ensure that the next generation of British golfers maintain these same standards of integrity, etiquette and accessibility in the game.