Everyone that plays golf wants to impress the golf gods in a positive way because they understand how powerful they are in influencing a round. Golf gods actually account for many hole-in-ones. Those are the shots that you hit fat and land short of the green but hit a sprinkler head and end up closer or in the hole.
After playing golf for 40+ years I am somewhat of an expert on what pleases them and what upsets them. If you abide by the following suggestions you will have an excellent chance of staying in their favor. I will warn you that they do, however, have a sadistic streak and sometimes, nothing you do will protect you.
The cardinal rule is to always leave the course in better shape than you found it. The quickest way to earn the wrath of the golf gods is to abuse the golf course.
Take care of the greens
Initially people tend to think only about ball marks, but it is more complicated than that. To really stay in the golf gods good graces use the “fix yours and one more” rule. This simply means fixing two ball marks on every green. Trust me on this one; it is no problem finding two or more. If you are the first to putt go ahead and putt and fix marks while the others are putting.
Take care of bunkers
Always take the rake into the bunker with you and rake your way out and leave the rake outside the bunker parallel to the line of play. I know that the location the rake is something that can cause arguments and the USGA only has a recommendation, not a rule for it. I have wasted hours in golf committee meetings listening to the debates.
The golf course superintendent has to deal with it also. There are two types of golfers, those that mow the fairways want them left in the bunkers and those that rake the bunkers want them left out.
Repair your divot marks
If you are one of those people that actually play the ball as it lies you know how frustrating it is to hit it in the middle of the fairway and be in a divot.
Just remember that what you see on TV is not reality. When a tour player has to hit out of a divot mark it was left by another tour player, not Joe Chop that leaves something that looks like the beginning of a new fairway bunker and is angled 40 yards left of the target.
Fill them with sand if it is available because that is best for the long term health of the turf. Otherwise just kick it in from the edges.
Be the fastest player in the group
This is one where the golf gods will reward you for effort. It doesn’t mean running between shots like that ridiculous show on the Golf Channel called Altered Course that they fortunately didn’t renew, it simply means always being ready to play when it is your turn.
Pay respect to the game’s history
This may possibly get you more brownie points with the gods than anything else. In the words of the great Bobby Jones;
“In golf, the customs and etiquette and decorum are as important as the rules of play.”
The golf gods tend to favor all those that appreciate golf for what it truly is, take care of the course, and respect their fellow golfers.