Golf Etiquette 101 – Because We All Need A Refresher Course!

It’s the start of golf  here in the ol’ US of A and after seein’ one to many pictures of unrepaired divots like the one above at a grass driving range, Scratch here has come to the realization that not every golfer knows how to act during a round. Now some of you Rock Heads out there may have just started playin’ golf and have yet to learn the unwritten rules of golf. For the rest of you, consider this a quick refresher course(ha, get it!) on your basic golf etiquette. Hopefully keep all of us Rock Heads out of hot water!

Etiquette is a word often associated with golf and not often with cavemen. I’ve never quite mastered that napkin thing; in my day we just used pelts. ANYWAY, what is golf etiquette? Etiquette guidelines are in place for the game to keep safety, pace and quality of the sport and its facilities. All golfers need to know the basic guidelines before you step foot on the fairway unless you what to hear some choice four letter words from other golfers.

Safety First:

  • When swinging your club: Check your grip, and make sure there are no fellow golfers in your trajectory, or behind you. This will help avoid a bump or two (this goes for practice swings too).
  • Make sure the group ahead of you is out of range before hitting the ball, and don’t forget to yell Fore if someone is in the path of the ball.
  • If you decide to rent a cart, make sure you follow the suggested guidelines and take caution before you start your reverse spins.
  • And above all, NEVER Swing or throw you’re club out of anger. Not only do you look like a child, but you could harm yourself or others

Pace Of Play:

  • Avoid slow play. Pay attention and always be ready to hit the ball when it’s your turn. Don’t make groups wait for you, you never know when a golfer is gaining on you who has had a bad day.
  • The player Away (who’s ball lies furthers from the hole) should shoot first, but if you are in a friendly match, you can play as ready.
  • You are allowed 5 minutes to look for a lost ball, but if you REALLY want to take this time, allow the group behind you to play through before you take your penalty, because I doubt you will find it. Or to be a nicer player and save time, if a ball is lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds, play a provisional ball.
  • If you are riding a car, be sure to bring a few clubs with you as you approach your shot, this will prevent you from having to walk back to the cart if you grabbed the wrong one.
  • Always leave the putting green as soon as you have finished.
  • Limit yourself to one or two practice swings. Any more won’t really help.
  • Keep up with the group in front of you and always let faster groups play through.

Maintaining the course :

  • Repair your divot marks and ball marks on the fairway and green. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough: REPAIR YOUR MARKS! It’s the responsibility of every golfer to leave the course in the same – or better – shape than they found it. Don’t know how, check out the image below!
  • Observe the cart rules of the course. Don’t go driving all over, unless you absolutely are sure you can jump the sand trap (wheels can damage the sensitive areas of the green and fairway).
  • Before leaving a bunker, players should fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made by them and any nearby made by others.
  • Replace the flagstick in an upright position.
  • Try to avoid making a divot on practice swings

Consideration For Other Players

  • Turn off or silence any electronics. Players should always ensure that they don’t disturb others’ play with unnecessary noise.
  • Silence is golden. Don’t move, talk, or stand close to a player making a shot. They could lose concentration and a club may find its way into yer mouth. Have fun explainin’ that one to the ER nurse.
  • Don’t curse out loud after a bad shot. Try your best to contain yer emotions after a shot, even though your golfin’ buddies might not mind, you may startle someone who is within ear shot.
  • Do not stand close to or directly behind the ball, or directly behind the hole, when a player is about to play.
  • Watch where your shadow hits. Don’t stand or cast a shadow on another player’s line of putt.
  • Remain on or close to the green until all players have holed out.

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