Golf etiquette is incredibly important whether you have been playing golf for 10 years or 10 days. I’ve always said that I have no problem playing golf with a higher handicapper or beginner player that scores high, but if they don’t know the rules of golf etiquette, it’s not fun.
The game of golf is all about traditions, respect, and fun at the same time. Proper golf etiquette ensures that golf stays the way it was created.
What is golf etiquette?
Golf etiquette is a series of rules or suggestions designed to make the golf course more playable, the game of golf safer, and allow all golfers in the group to have a great time while playing the course.
The rules of golf etiquette have been around since the beginning of the game, but they have changed slightly through the years to accommodate new golf technology and golf course conditions.
The easiest way to break down golf etiquette is by looking at the different areas of the course and the golf facility. Mainly, you have golf clubhouse etiquette, etiquette on the tee box, golf maintenance etiquette, and etiquette on the greens.
Golf clubhouse etiquette
When arriving at a golf course to play, whether public or private, you will want to ensure that you arrive ahead of time, giving you ample opportunity to warm up.
Here are some general golf clubhouse etiquette rules that can change from one course to the next.
Don’t change your shoes in the parking lot or on the golf cart, do this inside your car or in the locker room.
For male golfers, having your shirt tucked in before you walk into the clubhouse is generally expected and preferred.
Some golf courses require you to put your cell phone on silent and for men to remove hats when walking into the clubhouse facilities.
Before heading to the first tee, check in; if you decide to hit a few balls at the range, follow any of the recommended procedures for divot patterns.
Golf teebox etiquette
Once you get to the first tee box, your round is ready to begin, and your playing partners are also eager for their turn to play a great round of golf. Here are the golf tee box etiquette rules that all golfers should know.
On the first tee box, be sure to play ready golf (in fact, it’s fine to play ready golf for your entire round, it will lead to the fastest pace of play.)
Check your scorecard to see if there are local rules you must follow or be aware of while on the course.
Be mindful about matches and Golf gambling games on the golf course; not everyone in your group will be comfortable with that, so be polite about what is expected.
While other players are hitting, make sure that you are not speaking, nor are you in their line of sight. They should not have to think about where you are standing and if you will impact their game in any way.
Always walk at a reasonably fast pace, you don’t need to rush and disturb your golf game, but at the same time, you should not be the cause of slow play.
Always make sure you are watching where your golf ball goes; it is your responsibility. Politely watch your playing competitors’ shots so you can help them find the ball faster.
Maintaining the golf course – On-course etiquette
The golf course is expensive to take care of, and it’s important to put in the effort to keep it in great shape for all players that frequent the course.
Always replace your divots or fill them with sand/seed mixture, depending on which course you are playing.
Use a rake in the bunkers to clear your footsteps and the area where you struck the golf ball.
Try not to walk on any steep terrain that could get damaged by you walking on it.
Repair all pitch marks on the green.
Follow all rules about the cart path and where you should and shouldn’t be driving your golf cart.
Etiquette on the putting green
Remember that putting green is the area where the score counts. People are sensitive about etiquette on and around the greens, so follow this closely.
Never step on the line of another player.
Always mark your ball and move it if necessary, when it is in the way of another player.
Don’t stand in a distracting position or move around while another player is putting.
Be careful where you place the flagstick, so it is not in the way of another player.
Pay attention to your shadow and ensure it does not cover another player’s line.
Don’t spend a lot of time on the putting green after everyone has made their putts; this causes a slower pace of play.
Park your golf cart in a position that makes sense for you to walk off the green and then get directly into your cart.
On the last green, shake hands with your playing partners.
Is golfer etiquette a thing of the past?
Golf etiquette has been here from the beginning, and it’s not going away anytime soon. For all golfers to enjoy a round of golf, the course needs to be in great condition, and golfers need to know where to stand and how to conduct themselves.
What is considered bad etiquette on the golf course?
In addition to knowing what you should do on the golf course, experienced players know what you shouldn’t do. Here are a few of the worst things you can do on the course; with these mistakes, be prepared to annoy your golf buddies.
Don’t repair ball marks.
Refuse to help a fellow player look for a lost ball.
Take more practice swings than necessary.
Walk across the golf green without paying attention to another player’s line
Never tend to the flag or put the flag back in.
Leave a large divot hole and do nothing about it.
Refusing to allow faster players to play through your group
A personal grip….Slow play!
Whether you are on the practice green or hitting your first tee shot, there are ways in which you can practice proper golf course etiquette. The next time you find slow players, spike marks on the green, or a bunker that was not raked, make sure you don’t add to the cause. Follow great golf course etiquette, and you will be a much more enjoyable player to play with.
One newer aspects of the game that has grown in popularity since Covid is people playing music on the golf course. Be sure to check with your playing partners first to see if they are disturbed by you listening to your Bushnell wingman bluetooth speaker, and be sure to play it at a reasonable tone if they allow.
I started playing golf at the age of seven. After college, I turned Professional but fell in love with teaching the game of golf. I became a Class A PGA Professional and had hundreds of students from age 3 to 93 come to me for lessons. Teaching and player improvement is my passion.