As I reflect back over the course of my golf career, I am able to conclude that golf etiquette was something that I had to acquire based on my own observations– I didn’t really have any formal "Intro to Golf Etiquette" crash course. There are many rules that go sort of unspoken but are expected of other players while on the course.
So, this week’s blog will be especially helpful to those of you who are just beginning but I recommend reading, irrespective of your level, because these rules are important to know as a golfer of any level and skill set.
Why is golf etiquette necessary?
Golf etiquette ensures that the game remains a good experience for all of the players, promotes safety, and promotes respect for not only the game but other individuals participating. First and foremost, safety of the players is of the utmost importance and as such, there are rules which belong to golf etiquette that address this. Second, many of the etiquette rules relate to maintaining a respectful atmosphere for every party involved– that is, other players, yourself, and the game itself. Lastly, golf etiquette is necessary because each player should have fun while playing and doing so requires certain expectations and behaviors being upheld.
Take up to two clubs with you once you have left the tee box.
If you are playing a round with multiple people, have several groups playing behind you, or far from the golf cart path, you should plan on going to your next shot with two clubs in order to reduce the number of times you will need to access your bag, consequently, making the game go slightly faster. It will allow other members of the round to be able hit their shot from varying distances while also keeping the game continually moving so that other groups behind yours will be able to stay at a steady tempo as well. Additionally, once you and your group have approached the green and the area directly in front of it, take whichever club(s) you will be using to pitch or chip the ball onto the green in addition to your putter. Lastly, do not take your golf bag onto the green with you.
Avoid walking in another player’s line of sight– especially while on the green.
An essential part of the game is identifying the intended line that the ball needs to follow in order to meet the player’s intended shot. Therefore, it is essential that the player is able to properly visualize this line at all times— even while they are following through. So, it is crucial that other individuals do not impair this line of sight by refraining from stepping into it. This is of particular importance while on the green. Avoid stepping into other players’ line of sight by standing to the side of them, however, stand far enough behind them such that you are not creating a shadow that could deflect their line of sight. Additionally, ensure that you are not standing in their follow through line as you could impede the landing of the ball if it goes past their target.
Leave the bunker in good condition.
If you have just finished hitting a shot from the bunker, chances are you’ve created footprints in the sand. You probably have also moved some sand around as a result of making contact with the ball. So, always make sure to rake your footprints and other sand that has been moved around.
Always yell “fore” if you think the ball has a chance of hitting someone.
Earlier in the article, I touched on how golf etiquette is important for safety reasons. This is one of the most essential rules to put into practice. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry, so always remember to yell “Fore!” to alert other players if you have reason to believe that a golf ball may obstruct someone. Fore, in golf terms, tells other players that there is a ball that could potentially be coming their way and allows them to protect themselves accordingly.
Refrain from practicing your next shot while another player is taking their shot.
An integral part of golf, as I discussed earlier, is demonstrating respect for others throughout the game. Accordingly, you should never practice hitting a shot while another player is hitting theirs. Being a respectful player includes trying to minimize distractions for other members of the round. By hitting a shot, you could be causing them a distraction. Further, it could also imply that you are not giving them any of your attention which may come off disrespectful. So, keep your practice shots for the driving range or while it is your turn to hit.
Above all else, maintain sportsmanship throughout the duration of a round.
I want to leave you with one of the most important points, aside from etiquette related to safety, that I have touched on. Golf is meant to be enjoyable for all players involved in your round, so it is necessary to ensure that you are upholding sportsmanship while the round is occurring.
Best of luck on the course, and I hope that you will be able to apply this etiquette to your future rounds.