Golf Etiquette 101

Golf is a social game. It’s meant to be enjoyed with a group, and even if you’re moving through the course alone, you’re still sharing it with dozens of other people. So it’s important to follow a few simple rules of etiquette, in order to make sure that the game is safe and fun for everyone. A lot of the “rules” of golf are unspoken, so it can be easy to make a faux pas if you haven’t spent a lot of time holding a club. Even if you have, it’s not a bad idea to refresh your memory every now and then when it comes to proper golf etiquette – after all, good etiquette benefits everyone on the course! The first entry in our three-part etiquette series is an overview of some basic guidelines.

  1. Arrive early. Make sure that you have time to change, get ready, and warm up before your scheduled tee time. Remember, being late for your tee time doesn’t just hold up the rest of your party – it can also affect the people behind you as well! Get yourself there with plenty of time to spare, and if you’re going to be late, let your party know so that the tee time can be adjusted.
  2. Set it to vibrate. If you need to bring your mobile phone onto the course, make sure that you turn off the ringer. It’s bad etiquette to disturb other players with your ringtone, even at low volume. Only use your phone if it is an emergency – you’re here to relax and enjoy the game, so focus on that!
  3. Watch your own volume. Avoid shouting or speaking loudly while on the course, as there are always other players around. If other players are taking a shot (or preparing to), refrain from making any unnecessary noises or movement that could distract them – no matter how tempting it may be!
  4. Safety first. Nobody wants to get hit by a ball or a club. Keep your head in one piece by following a few simple rules: Do not stand directly behind or in the peripheral vision of someone who is about to swing. Do not play until the group in front of you is out of range. Be aware of any club staff who may be on the course. If you’re practicing your swing, do not swing in the direction of another person.
  5. Keep a good pace. Under good golf etiquette, it’s your responsibility to keep up with the group in front of you, so that you’re not holding up the group behind you. There are a few things you can do to make it easier: Maintain a reasonable walking speed between shots. Plan your next shot as you’re approaching the ball – it should take no more than 45 seconds between selecting your club and taking your swing. Take only one practice swing, rather than half a dozen. If you’re not ready to play, let another player take their turn first. If you’re chipping near the green, carry your putter with you. Mark your score when you reach the next tee, rather than right after your shot.
  6. Learn to let go. The rules of golf allow only five minutes to find a lost ball, but it’s generally good etiquette not to take up that entire five minutes. If you can’t find your ball in a timely manner, put another ball into play. If you really need to find your ball for whatever reason and there is another group behind you waiting to play, wave them through.

Next week, we’ll continue this series with golf etiqutte: course care. Ready to play a round of golf? Book your tee time online.

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