Of course, sometimes I'll run into other groups on the course. The links aren't always deserted. And most of the time, a group will quickly wave me through when they see a single rolling up in a cart behind them, and there's plenty of wide-open spaces ahead of them.
But not always. Sometimes I run into that group. You know the type. Perhaps yours is the type. The group that never offers to let anyone play through, no matter the circumstances.
This happened to me yesterday, as a matter of fact. There were two groups on the front nine - myself (a single), and four holes ahead of me when I teed off, a threesome.
I caught the threesome when it was on the No. 6 tee. I finished on No. 5 green, and drove up behind them as the last of the threesome was heading back to his cart. They all three looked my way. One said hello. Then all three drove off.
No, "Hey, want to join us?" Not, "Want to play through?" A slow threesome just getting off the tee - and with nobody in front of them for at least four or five holes - neglected to offer to let a single play through.
I know what some of you - some of you who make up groups like this - are thinking. You're thinking, "yeah, but the rules say a single has no standing on the golf course, so I don't have to let you play through."
Two problems with that: First, it's idiotic and asinine and just plain rude to take that attitude when there's nobody in front of you for several holes. A slower group should always let a faster group play through, when it is possible to do so.
Second, the rules don't say that. It's true that the Etiquette section of the Official Rules of Golf once included a section on "priority on the course" that said that twosomes always have priority, followed by foursomes and then threesomes, and that a single "has no standing on the course."
But the Rules don't say that anymore. Besides, see point No. 1. In fact, the rules probably don't say that because of point No. 1 - because too many morons were using that part of the rulebook as an excuse to act like jerks.
What the rulebook says now in its etiquette section is pretty straightforward:
If (a group has a clear hole ahead of it) and is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group.
So don't be that group on the golf course. Don't be that group of morons, that group of jerks, who can't take a few minutes of its time (time it's using up in huge quantities already with its slow play) to do the courteous thing, the right thing, and offer to let faster groups play through.
Do the right thing. Golf is always a better game when you do.