Golf Etiquette on the Course

It’s important, when on the course, to be┬ápolite to other golfers. While most golf etiquette is simple common sense, the sad fact is that some people don’t understand, or just don’t care. Here are a few tips about how to behave while out on the golf course.

  • Always be patient, and treat other people on the course the way you’d like to be treated.
  • Silence is golden. Don’t make any loud noises. While it’s okay to speak in a normal tone, you should never laugh loudly or shout, even though you’re outdoors.
  • Arrive at your scheduled tee-off on time and prepared, so no one else has to wait.
  • Always be certain to check your ball number and marker to avoid confusion. This will also prevent you from accruing possible stroke penalties.
  • Never make a practice swing in the tee-off zone.
  • Don’t stand too close to any other player on any side. This way, others won’t have to avoid you while swinging.
  • Don’t talk, laugh, or make other noises while another player is making a shot.
  • Normally, the player who has the lowest handicap starts the game at the first tee. On other tees, it’s traditional for the player who had the best score from the previous hole to play the ball first.
  • Pay attention and be prepared to play your ball when it’s your turn. This avoids any delay in the game. You should also make sure you leave the tee immediately after your shot, and never stand or wait if it’s not necessary. This preserves game flow.
  • If other players intend to make their putts on any green in the neighborhood, don’t make your stroke. Likewise, don’t play a shot if any player in front of you could be hit by the ball.
  • Always replace divots and step them into place. Any damage caused by pitch marks, spikes, or other causes must be repaired immediately. After bunker play, use the rake, leaving the bunker in as good or better condition than you found it.
  • Never drive a golf cart or buggy over greens or tee-off areas, or through a sand bunker. Before putting, leave it beside the green, ideally in an area next to the next tee-off zone.
  • Pay attention to how your partners walk, and try to match your speed to theirs. Don’t walk too fast, or lag behind. Think about how best to play your ball while you’re walking to it, not after you get there. Also, try to pay attention to where your ball lands, and to where other players’ balls land. If someone else can’t find his or her ball, you can assist. If anyone has to look for a lost ball, invite the next party to follow through before you continue looking.
  • Remember that the ball that’s the longest distance from the hole has to be played first. Don’t step on other player’s putting lines, and mark your ball as soon as it lies on the green.
  • If you’re holding the flagstick, don’t stand too close to the hole. Avoid casting a shadow that might interfere with others’ play. Never stand too close to others when they want to take their putts, and avoid speaking while they play.
  • Avoid pulling the ball out of the hole with your putter. This can damage the hole. Instead, bend over and pick the ball up in your hand.
  • Never damage the green if at all possible. There should be no trace you were there when you leave. Replace flagsticks carefully, so as not to damage the hole.
  • Leave the green as quickly as you can. You can note your score while you’re waiting to tee-off on the next tee.


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