Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.
Golf has many rules, and if you learn golf etiquette before setting foot on the course, you can enjoy the game. Here’s how to play golf as an overview and must-know’s.
Your fellow players will appreciate open play when everyone follows the rules.
Before we get started – check out these recommended golf rule books that are always good to keep on hand no matter what level of golfer you are.
Getting Ready For Your Round: Dress Like You’re On A First Date
A round of golf isn’t a formal occasion, but you should still put your best foot forward. Treat your course, your golfing buddies, and the others players with respect at all times.
Many golf courses have a dress code. All players and visitors should dress appropriately.
Some typical requirements for golfing attire include:
- Shirts should have collars
- Avoid tight or revealing clothes
- Trousers, knee-length shorts, or golf skirts are allowed
- Avoid t-shirts and denim
- Hats and caps should be clean and worn correctly
Take the time to check your golf course‘s dress code before your round.
Don’t Be Late
Do you have a tee time? Did the clubhouse tell you to be on the tee at 10ish?
Tee times help ensure that all golfers get to play without a lot of waiting. If you’re late to the tee box, you’ll delay all the players scheduled after you unless you’re kicked out of line for your delay, of course.
Warm-up with some practice swings, and be ready to play before your tee time. When the group in front of you leaves the tee box, step up. Once they are a safe distance down the fairway, begin your round.
Pick Up The Pace
Playing golf is fun for you and everyone else in your group. Waiting to play golf is not. Waiting before every shot can be incredibly frustrating.
Your group’s pace of play should be similar to those in front of and behind you.
Golf etiquette directs slow players to allow faster players the chance to play through. If a player behind you is fast, take a break at the end of the hole. When the speedier player catches up to you, allow them to continue ahead of you or ‘play through.’
Groups should play ready golf to keep them moving down the fairway. The rules of golf dictate that you should hit the ball farthest from the pin first. But the other golfers do not need to stand by while each takes their turn.
As the farthest shot is lining up, the next player should be moving toward his ball. If you’re ready to take your shot as soon as the previous one is hit, your whole group will move faster.
Keep Your Eye On The Ball
We practice and practice, but golf balls don’t always go where we intend.
If you find your shot traveling farther up the fairway than expected, your ball may endanger the group in front of you. If there’s a chance your ball may land near or roll up to another player, yell ‘Fore!’
Other players understand that shots sometimes go awry. But golf etiquette is very clear about giving people a warning.
But what if you can’t keep your eye on the ball?
The sun was in your eyes. Or maybe your ball landed just over the hill. Maybe (gasp) you landed in the rough.
Lost balls happen to everyone, but searching for a lost ball can strongly impact the play’s pace.
If someone in your group loses a ball, everybody should help look for it. The rules of golf state you should take no more than five minutes looking for the lost ball.
If you haven’t found your ball after time is up, play your provisional or drop a replacement, and take your penalty.
Leave No Trace
Golf etiquette includes the same courtesy people expect off the course. This includes respect for property and leaving areas as you found them.
Here are a few reminders of manners on the golf course:
- Only drive your golf cart on the cart path or dry, designated areas. You can damage the turf if you go through wet or newly planted areas. Your cart does not belong on the green or the fringe.
- Fix your pitch marks. Even the pros smack divots out of the ground. Even the pros will stop and replace or reseed the ground.
- Put litter in its place. There are trash bins at most tee boxes.
It’s In The Hole! Golf Etiquette On the Green
Many golf games have been won or lost on the putting green. When your group reaches the green, keep these tips in mind:
- Mark your ball the same way every time. Place your ball mark directly behind your ball in its line to the cup. Some players have (mistakenly, I’m sure) marked in front of their ball when picking it up, then set the ball in front of their mark when setting it down. Marking the same way each time ensures you don’t accidentally inch your ball a bit closer to the pin.
- Fix any dents in the green, whether you made them or you happen to see older marks. Players appreciate a lovely, smooth green.
- When others are putting, do not stand in their line of sight. Don’t let your shadow fall across their intended path, either.
- Do not step on the player line between the ball and the cup. The indentation from your shoe can throw off a close putt.
- Do not talk or move around while others are putting.
Are You A Golf Fanatic?
Golf has a way of getting under your skin. The more you play, the more you want to play. And when you can’t play, you daydream about playing.
We’re with you! At Our Golf Clubs, we love everything about golf. We are obsessed with everything about this game.
Remember to check back often for more tips to improve your game!