Golf’s Not So Special Relationship: Comparing US vs UK Golf Norms

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Andrew Wilsher

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Managing Editor of Pickswise. Born and raised in jolly old London, England, with an undying love for the NFL, NBA, soccer and horse racing. A big-time sports bettor who loves futures markets and backing underdogs. Long-suffering New York Jets fan. For Andrew Wilsher media enquiries, please email
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The British and Americans have a lot to be thankful for from their special relationship. Historical allies, trade agreements, Meghan and Harry, the list goes on. But when it comes to golf, it seems as though there is no love lost between the two nations that refer to each other as ‘cousins’. 

Although the Brits invented the sport, the Americans have been influential in evolving it into the global game it is today. And in just a few days’ time, the oldest golf tournament in the world tees off at Royal Liverpool for the 151st Open Championship.

To mark the occasion, we’ve conducted a study of US vs UK golf fans. And to no one’s surprise, nothing irks British fans more than an American shouting “Get in the hole!” with every shot on the course. 

We surveyed American and British golf fans to see how annoying they find one another. We also surveyed golfers from each side of The Pond to find out how much beer they get through per round. 

UK Golf fans voted more respectful of the game

Golf Grievances 

Golf is considered a genteel sport in Britain. It’s a pastime that demands etiquette. Silence must be observed during plays. So, when “Get in the hole!” is shouted from behind the ropes at tournaments, mild-mannered Brits roll their eyes in frustration, some looking for marshalls to eject the rebels from the course.

However, nothing annoys a UK golf fan more than Americans calling golf’s traditional tournament The British Open. It’s The Open or Open Championship. Just call it by its name!

Our research found that British golf fans aren’t too happy with the behavior of Americans at events. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being a disgrace to the game and 10 being respectful to golf and its traditions, British fans gave the Americans a score of 2.2.

Americans think more highly of their snooty cousins, scoring UK golf fans 7.3/10 at golf events.

Surprisingly, the US fans we surveyed are in agreement with British supporters in their opinions of spectators who scream phrases such as “mashed potatoes!” and “get in the hole!” because 87% of them think those people should be ejected for doing so. That’s almost equal to UK fans, 88% of whom thought spectators who shout out those gut-wrenching phrases should be kicked out.

Fans also agree that phones should be banned at major tournaments. Our survey found that just 9% of UK golf fans think handheld devices should be allowed. US fans are slightly more lenient, 27% of them thinking phones should be allowed at majors.

LIV Golf has brought an element of Happy Gilmore to the sport, with its loud music, shotgun starts and raucous crowds. Phones are allowed, recordings can be made (but only for personal use), cheering is expected.

However, if you’re heading to The Open, photography and filming is not permitted at any time on the course throughout the duration of the tournament.

When asked whether spectators should be allowed phones at non-major tournaments, our survey found that it’s almost a 50/50 split with American fans, with 49% saying they should be permitted.

UK fans were more conservative, only a third of those surveyed (33%) believed mobile phones should be allowed at non-major tournaments.

US Golf fans drink more beer per round than UK Golf fans

Beer We Go

Strength and conditioning has become an important part of the game for modern players. Bryson DeChambeau wowed many when he beefed up during lockdown, his game and success improving with his physique. Gone are the days when the likes of John Daly and Craig Stadler made normal folk believe they still had a shot at being a professional sport star.

We asked golfers on both sides of the Atlantic how much beer they guzzle per round. It appears as though beer on the course is frowned upon by British players. Whereas in Florida and Texas, golfers are averaging nearly five beers per round.

Players in America are more inclined to use golf carts or buggies on their rounds, why would they want to walk? So, this may be why more golfers are downing their booze between shots. Technically, it’s not driving, right?

Beers are also being consumed more in Arizona and North Carolina, perhaps because these are sunshine holiday destinations for keen players. New York, Nebraska, and Washington are other parts of the US where cracking a can or popping a bottle of suds while playing isn’t quite as common.

Take a British golfer to the 19th hole, and they’ll likely make up for those five brews being chugged deep in the heart of Texas, and then some.

Regardless of what they think, expect both sets of fans to be gathered around the big screens behind the tented village at Royal Liverpool, sharing a beer and checking the scores on their phones, courtesy of The Open’s available free WiFi.


With the Open Championship set to take place at Royal Liverpool, we wanted to find out what UK and US golf fans think of one another. For our research, we asked 1,000 golf fans in the UK and 1,000 golf fans in the US to rate the behaviour of their fellow fans from across The Pond. To determine the habits of players in each country, we asked 1,500 golfers in the US and 1,000 golfers in the UK about how much beer they drink while playing a round. 

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