Learning golf etiquette is important when first starting out. You do not want to be the guy holding up everyone on the course. Just like you wouldn’t want to be eating with your mouth open. For the most part, golf is played without a referee. Therefore the game relies on the integrity of the players to show respect. Golf etiquette is about being respectful to the course and fellow golfers around you. Remember this is a gentlemen’s game. Here are some simple rules that will help guide you to become a well mannered golfer.
1) Don’t Be The Slowest Player
Every golfer has come across a slow player in their lifetime. No one wants to be held up, especially when they are on a roll. Evaluating your pace of play, you will start to see how quickly or slowly you are moving. A good staple rule is to play “ready golf”. That means being prepared to hit when it is not your turn.
2) Be A Silent Player When Necessary
Striking a ball well takes concentration and coordination. Humans tend to lose concentration when they are distracted. Do not talk when other players are prepared to swing. Not only is it disrespectful, but it may cause the golfer to mishit and lose their temper (next rule). One thing I noticed when playing golf is that everyone likes to give advice on the golf swing. I believe you should not give advice unless another player asks for advice. Giving advice when a player does not want to hear it may frustrate the player more because the advice may or may not help. Everyone has a different approach to their swing. Sometimes the best advice is no advice.
3) Controlling Your Temper
The game of golf is a tricky mistress. We have all gone through the moment of frustration, especially when you miss that one foot putt. Sulking, swearing, and even throwing clubs can degrade a group’s mood. You might not be having a good round, but don’t spoil it for the others who are having one. When emotions take over, your golf swing will usually plummet. Take deep breaths in and out to calm down. If you are throwing tantrums, you are missing your chance to analyze your bad result with a clear head which will more likely cause you to repeat the mistake. Set reasonable expectations and remember you will only get better the more you play. Don’t expect to be the next Tiger Woods after a few rounds of golf.
4) Respect The Time of Other Players and Staff
Time is the most precious asset we have as human beings. You may not think much of it, but arriving to your tee time early is important. By being late, you cause a domino effect. The staff at the course must now delay everyone’s tee time. They could let other people take your tee time, but what happens when you show up? (The answer is more chaos). You should sign in at least 15 minutes before your tee time. That way the group after you can tee off at their correct time. Another good rule of thumb, when you are on the course, is to take a look at the group behind you. If the group is right on your tail and waiting for you to finish on every single hole, let them play through. It’s in your best interest because the group won’t be nipping at your heels and you won’t feel pressure to rush your shot.
5) Never Walk In a Players Line Of Play
Amateur golfers are the ones to commonly make this mistake. I know I first did when I started out. The line of play is the invisible line a golfer visualizes before making his putt or shot. This imaginative line extends past the hole. When a player walks through another players line of play, the golfer taking his shot must then readjust his position and line of play in order to make an accurate shot.
6) Get Off Your Cell Phone!
Everyone has a cellphone in this day and age. It’s okay to send a quick text or check the score on a sports game between holes but turn your phone on silent or off. Nothing can screw up a swing more than a sudden noise. Checking your phone often will make you look like you don’t care about your group. You are telling your group they are boring even if you don’t say it out loud. Enjoy the time with your friends and nature atmosphere.
7) Help Maintain The Course
The ground tends to break apart when a swing impacts the ball. Replacing the divots and raking bunkers will help the course look great! Ball marks can be repaired with a ball repair tool. To repair the mark, gently working the edges of the mark without lifting the center. Finish it off by smoothing the area with a putter or foot. Some courses will leave soil in the golf cart for players in aid of repairing marks.
Here is a video on how to repair ball marks:
8) Flagstick Etiquette
Any player can ask for the flagstick, also known as the pin, to be removed whether they are on or off the green. If you are the closest player to the hole, you are considered the flagstick attendant. Help your fellow golfer out by asking if they would like the pin removed. If the pin is to be removed, lay it on the green where it won’t interfere with play. The pin must be taken out when players are putting on the green.
9) Proper Usage of Golf Carts
The golf cart is a great way to traverse around the course. There are a few things to remember when using the golf cart. First off, you want the cart to stay behind the golfer when they are about to swing. Even if your 200 yards out, a well placed ball can hit the cart driver or damage the cart. Damaging the cart is not only disrespectful to the course, it can lead to injuries if your not careful. A common way carts get damaged is joyriding. As fun as it sounds, it may damage the course with skid marks. Remember your on a golf course not on a race track. Use your common senses and judgement when operating these vehicles.
10) Always Lend A Hand To Fellow Golfers
Helping other players will make not only help your group members but also enhance your golfing experience. A simple “Nice Shot!” will encourage the player to keep playing with confidence. Happy golfers will control their temper better and not beat themselves up as much if they hit a bad shot. Another simple way to help others is to watch where their shot went so they don’t have to go look for it. If you can prevent lost balls by seeing where it went, you can save a lot of time looking and spend more time playing. Golfers have a lot of equipment from balls, clubs, gloves, the list goes on. If you see someones equipment laying on the course, pick it up and return it to the owner or bring it to front desks lost and found.