Considering trying your hand at Johnnie Walker’s Blue Eagle Challenge? Consult our Golfing Etiquette to give you the best shot at success

We walk a fine line in today’s modern world, no more so than on the golf course, where a minefield of stuffy tradition collides with an assemblage of friends with varying takes on appropriate behaviour. Given the increase in our collective passion for this sophisticated sport, those engaging in play should be encouraged to brush up on the required golf etiquette. The ‘golfer’s code’ — though often not strictly enforced — is in place to ensure golfers (and we use that term lightly) get the most out of their play — particularly when the stakes are as high as they are at the Johnnie Walker Blue Eagle Challenge, taking place over the coming weeks at Remuera Golf Course.

Remuera Golf Course

This year, Johnnie Walker is teaming up with the premiere Auckland golf club to celebrate two of life’s rare joys — shooting an eagle and Johnnie Walker’s iconic Blue Label whisky. Twelve of New Zealand’s best amateur golfers attempted the remarkable feat (which was only achieved by 53 people on the course last year) on Monday, alongside celebrities and golfing influencers, including Black Caps legend Grant Elliott, with two securing the elusive eagle on the 18th hole. The event officially kicked off the Johnnie Walker Blue Eagle Challenge, where across June, golfers are encouraged to try their hand at shooting an eagle on the par 5, 18th hole at Remuera Golf Club, to see how they stack up against the pros in a feat that, much like the sought-after Johnnie Walker Blue Label — is incredibly rare and hard to come by (Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a drop that only one in 10,000 of the best casks of Johnnie Walker are selected for).

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To help you put your best foot forward when attempting this feat, we’ve crafted a (somewhat) comprehensive etiquette guide, meaning that all you have to worry about is enjoying yourself — and focusing on hitting that eagle — Godspeed.

Stepping Out In Style

Before you even step foot on the fairway, you must consider the dress code.

01. A collared polo. Minimal colour and branding, and under no circumstances are collars to be popped. Considered illegal in the golfing world, there are harsh penalties for such sartorial mishaps, starting with sideways glances and moving swiftly to loud sniggers, or worse still at lack of service at the 19th hole.

02. If you’re cold, a sweater may be donned, or even better — a sweater vest — bonus points for v-neck, double bonus for argyle print, triple word score for cashmere.

Will Smith and Matt Damon in The Legend of Bagger Vance

03. On the bottom half, jeans are an absolute no, as are sporting shorts or tracksuits. Formal shorts or trousers should be worn, skimming just above the knee — never below, never too short, and shirts should be tucked in at all times. Belts are encouraged. Pockets are essential.

04. Now, footwear. Novices needn’t race out and purchase golf shoes (although, if you want to look like you know what you’re doing even when you don’t, smart golf shoes with soft spikes or a hefty grip are a great start), but tidy footwear is essential. Bizarrely, it seems that boat shoes are appropriate on the course, and, even more bizarrely, so are loafers. We don’t make the rules.

05. Visors are an inspired addition to any golfing attire, while a branded cap is a great way to showcase your golfing prowess. Choose your brand wisely, as fellow golfers will be on high alert and ready to judge your every choice.

Basic Rules of Engagement

06. Be considerate of others, which means avoiding making any unnecessary noise. This includes but is not limited to swearing profusely when you miss your tee-off for the third time, celebrating by letting out an ear-piercing ‘cha-hoo’ when you finally do connect with the ball (despite it landing in the bunker), exclaiming about another player’s performance (despite your’s being terrible), sighing loudly while waiting for the group in front to move off the hole. Any other unnecessary chatter — golfing is a quiet sport — hush-hush.

Rory McIlroy

07. Turn your phone off. This is not, I repeat, this is not the time to capture Instagram content. You don’t look anywhere near as cool as you think you do.

08. Stay in your lane and give others space. Give the player whose turn it is the space they need to get the job done (remember, hush-hush), and stay on or close to the putting green until everyone’s had their turn.

Tiger and Charlie Woods

09. Hustle. A good game’s a fast game. Play at a prompt pace, and make sure you’re well-prepped for your next hit ahead of time. If you think your ball might be lost, it is. Play another.

10. Care for the course. Players should avoid causing damage to the course, which includes not hacking your club angrily into the ground every time you miss a shot, swinging around in circles and throwing your club as far as it will fly, and using your club as a walking stick or leaner when your legs get tired.

To Land an Eagle

An eagle is achieved when a golfer completes a hole two strokes under par — for example, on a par 5 hole, an eagle would be achieved with just three strokes.

11. Confidence is critical — we’re not going to lie, making an eagle ain’t easy, but that’s irrelevant. Approach the hole as if you’re Lydia Ko in her prime, and swing as if your life depends on it.

Lydia Ko

12. Concentration is king in golf (hence the associated frustration), so keeping cool, calm, and collected will go a long way. A sip of Johnnie Walker Blue Label and some deep breaths will work wonders in this regard.

This competition is now closed.


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