Golf Etiquette

Golf Etiquette: Understanding the Most Common Golf Rules of Course Behavior

By: Dan Davis, PGA Professional Thousand Hills Golf Resort

Golf Etiquette is described in the Rules of Golf as Behavior on the Course. Etiquette serves as a guideline on the manner in which the game of golf is to be played. The penalty for a serious breach of these rules can lead to disqualification by the rules committee. Remember: as in all rules interpretations always refer back to the official USGA Rules of Golf to better understand the technical version of each rule. The following are a few points to remember which pertain to using proper etiquette on the golf course.

  • Safety – Golf etiquette puts safety first, so Golfers need to stay aware of all other players, spectators and golf course staff to insure that no one is injured during the course of a round. Always alert maintenance crews or other players if a ball is heading in their direction by yelling the word “fore”. Make sure all body parts are kept inside the golf cart. Only two riders should ever ride on a standard golf cart. Avoid unnecessary horseplay especially around carts.
  • Distractions – Playing partners should display the utmost respect for fellow golfers before and during each shot or putt. There should be no noises or movement around the player whom is making a shot. Be aware of shadows cast by yourself and make sure that you do not walk in a person’s line on the putting green, even beyond the hole.
  • Pace of Play – Always be ready to play if you are the furthest one from the hole. Exit the green as soon as play is completed on each hole. If it appears as if your ball could be lost always hit a provisional ball. Always invite faster groups to play through. A little golf etiquette can make everyone’s day more enjoyable.
  • Caring for the Course – Golfers should also always respect the golf course. Always repair ball marks on the greens, replace divots in fairways, keep all carts away from greens and tees, obey all daily cart rules (i.e. cart path only), rake bunkers and avoid dragging your feet on greens. Golf bags should not be placed on the green. Make sure no damage is done when replacing or removing the flagstick.

To paraphrase the well known phrase, “Common Courtesy isn’t so common”. But that’s what golf etiquette amounts to in just a few simple steps and is easily one of the most common golf rules that are violated, especially for newcomers to the game. Have common courtesy for your fellow players and the course officials and follow golf etiquette guidelines and everyone can focus on improving their game.