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Today, at Barfield Crescent, I birdied the first three holes. I player joined the game and my game changed drastically. I proceeded to bogey then double bogey. I manage a few hard pars then he left after hole 9. My game miraculously recovered the rest of the round. I have heard other players say that they will not let a player join mid round. I presumed it was for a reason similar to this. Any thoughts?

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Nah!......It doesn't really affect my game...unless they're female....and she's really hot! ...I'll sometimes forget it's my shot. ;)~
Get used to it... This is part of the game sometimes.
It's all in your head. Superstitions and jinxes are as real as you make them.
Most of the time it's a mental block that I incurr when this happens. You can usually tell if its someone you want to throw with. However, you can't tell from a distance if they're a chattermouth. I've found it's best just to be antisocial and ignore people whenever possible.(not really).
i feel like when i join or people join me i play a little better i make more of those long putts. and better drives.
all depends on who that person is, chatter box , or someone you respect
That's just part of casual golf. You should look at it as a positive training tool. Ever been in a tournament playing with someone you don't care to much for? Same thing, say what you have to and try to focus on the task at hand. That's just my two cents.
I find that I play better when I play against strangers, so I love the chance to pick up a game mid round against some one I don't know. I haven't really noticed any effect on my game when its some one I know. I have noticed however that when the course is really backed up with groups in front and behind us to the point that its pointless to allow people to play through that my game goes right to the toilet fast.
I often add or subtract players in my group, no big deal. It slows things down once the group gets bigger than 5 or 6. And, as much as we screw around, I still expect players in my group to try to play well (within their skill set) and to show Pro level courtesy (I am a cranky old Pro, don't be moving in my line of sight when I am putting).

Usually when someone needs to leave, we cancel the old game and invent a new one. At any time a game becomes a blow out, it is time for a new game. It helps mental toughness when one team is on a run and can do no wrong, to start a new game (new partners, new rules) and see if they can continue to light it up.
We went from 3 to 4 to 7 to 9 to 7 again by the end of the round at Renaissance. But I shot better.
I say this as a very average player who is easily affected by outside forces...

If someone joins your group and your game goes in the tank, the problem is right between your ears. I feel your pain.
i learned golf at zboaz and it is always packed (always people joining or leaving) so i have never thought this through. seems like the norm to me. maybe this contributes to the above my head tourny scores?

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