Golf Etiquette… Learn The Rules Of Basic Golf Manners (P1)

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According to golf etiquette, the sport of golf is played without guidance, supervision, or control by a coach, referee, or an umpire on the golf course. Beginning golfers usually are not aware of the customary practices and behavior on the course. Basically the game relies upon each golfer to be considerate of their fellow players and to abide by the “Rules “. There are unspoken rules of etiquette and more stringent rules of good golf etiquette. The rules are in place to make the game more enjoyable, but many of them relate to the golfers safety and to the pace of play (which helps keep the game more enjoyable). Several other rules of etiquette relate to maintaining the overall quality of the golf course itself. The following are the essentials a player must understand concerning golf etiquette during the process of playing the game of golf.

Section 1: Consideration of Others – In General … Show Respect

If you are arranging a round… invite the players and be clear on their responsibility to pay (or not) for the round so they are clear. Advise (and then send reminder) on the tee time for the round. If you are inviting the other players as your guest, be there in advance of your invitees to greet them at the course. If just arranging a round, be clear on communications on what they should do upon arriving at the course and what to expect in terms of tee times, groupings and potentially after-golf arrangements.

Arrive on Time – In general, leave home with enough time to reach the golf course at least 20-30 minutes before your “Tee” time (note – if you are arranging business golf or guests, this should extend to 45 minutes).

Golf etiquette includes showing respect:

  • To the bag-handler (don’t forget to tip either before or after your round) and starter
  • During your “warm-up” on the practice putting green and golf driving ranges
  • To the Golf Marshall on the course
  • To a Caddy (if you have one). Tip caddies commensurate with their performance.
  • To your fellow players
    • Upon meeting, introduce yourself. Shake hands, share names
    • Determine your group rules (if not in a tournament) including ‘ready golf’, tee boxes each of you is playing, what ball each of you is playing
    • Encourage each other as appropriate … “great shot” (for example)
    • Watch each other’s balls and know (generally) where other’s balls are on the course o Help each other find lost balls if asked or desired
    • Shake hands at the end of the round and say “good game” or “I enjoyed playing with you”

On the Tee Box:

  • When standing on the teeing ground, be sure to stand to the side that faces the player who is hitting on the tee. Standing behind the player can be very distracting.
  • Keep a watchful eye on the direction of all tee shots in your group.
  • Wait until the previous player exits the teeing ground before proceeding to “tee-up” your golf ball.

In the Fairway

  • Take note of the location of fellow players’ golf balls so you can be prepared and know when it is your turn to hit.
  • Assist fellow golfers if they are searching for their golf ball.
  • Announce to others in your group if you choose to take an unplayable lie or have to follow a dropping procedure for any reason (water hazard, cart path, etc.).
  • Assist fellow golfers with raking a bunker or filling a divot if they seem to be struggling with their games temporarily.

On the Greenp

  • Fix a ball mark even if your ball didn’t make it.
  • The person who hits her/his golf ball on the green first should remove the flagstick once all players in the group are on the green.
  • Set the flagstick gently on the fringe of the green in an area that is not distracting to others in your group.
  • Who’s away? Knowing the order of play will help you be ready when it’s your turn (the farthest ball from the hole plays 1st).
  • Analyze your putt before it’s your turn to hit. Do so without distracting the person who is hitting.
  • The 1st person to hole-out should replace the flagstick when all players are finished with the hole

Do not….

  • Walk or stand on another players putting line
  • Leave your ball on another players putting line
  • Leave your golf ball marker on another players putting line if it is bothersome to them
  • Cast your shadow on another players putting line or setup area. (Your shadow should not be visible at all to the player when he is about to putt)
  • Stand within a player’s peripheral vision while they are putting
  • Stand behind another player to visualize the path of their ball during the process of putting
  • Talk or whisper while another player is preparing to putt or during the process of putting
  • Leave the putting area until all other players in the group have holed out

No Distraction and/or Disturbance

  • Do not bring electronic devices to the course which will bother other players. If you must carry a cell phone for emergency purposes, use it only for emergencies and put it on “vibration” ringing mode.
  • Don’t talk prior to or during another players turn at taking their shot. Avoid any unnecessary noise or movement that will distract or disturb other players.
  • At the Tee Box, do not take practice swings or tee your ball when another player is about to play.
  • Avoid shouting loudly anywhere on the golf course, as there are always other players nearby.
  • Do not stand directly behind a player who is about to play. Stay out of their peripheral vision to avoid distracting them.
  • Do not give advice to your opponent or fellow-competitor. Official Rules of Golf, Rule 8.
    • 8-1. Advice – During a stipulated round, a player must not:
      • Give advice to anyone in the competition playing on the course other than his partner, or
      • Ask for advice from anyone other than his partner or his golf caddie.

Section 2: Pace of Play

Play At a Good Pace

  • Play at a pace which keeps up with the group ahead. If there is an open hole ahead, and the group behind is pushing your group, either pick up your groups pace, or invite the group behind you to play through regardless how many players are in that group.
  • Take only one practice swing for each shot, and then hit the ball. Don’t linger over your shot.
  • Plan your shot before it’s your turn. Prior to arriving at your ball, know how you want to play your shot and determine which club you will want to use.
  • If riding in a cart – if your cart partner is hitting, you may wish to prepare for your shot by getting your clubs out (without disturbing your cart partner’s shot) and, if appropriate, walking to your ball.
  • In general, the player who is away hits first in a group, this “rule” eliminates the confusion as to whose turn it is and keeps the game moving. Official Rules of Golf, Rule 10.
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