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More Basic Etiquette for the Beginners
Showing Up On Time: It goes without saying, but you need to be on-time when playing golf. The phrase “you’re on-time when you are 15 mins early” doesn’t quite apply here. It’s recommended to arrive at least 30 mins before your tee-time. Otherwise, you’ll back up the golfers behind you and possibly run the risk of your slot being canceled.
Golf Balls On The Practice Green: A no-no on the practice green is putting too many golf balls on the green. If you’re there by yourself have fun, but if you are sharing the space with other golfers, be respectful and don’t take up the whole green. Using two golf balls on the practice green is the rule of thumb.
Picking Up The Flag: If you are first to hole out, pick up the pin (flagstick) and place it back in the hole when everyone is finished. You don’t want to forget to place the pin when you are ready to head to the next tee box. Plus, the golfers behind you need to see the flag to align their shots. With the new rules of golf, there is the option to leave the pin in. Just ask your golf buddy’s on their preferred style of play.
Carrying Clubs & Cart Path Only: Typically seen on par 3’s or if a hole is being worked on, there are some areas of the course where it states “cart path only.” To help keep the pace of the game, you should carry a few clubs with you when hitting your ball. Walking back and forth to your ball and the cart takes an unnecessary amount of time.
Looking For A Lost Ball: A lot like love “If it returns, it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it wasn’t. A ball is considered lost after 3 minutes. So, if you really hit in the ruff, you’ll have to take a stroke penalty and play your ball from where it was last hit from. If your pace of play is already slow, just take the penalty and keep going, it’s not worth the ranger being on you to speed up.
Standing Behind Someone When They Putt
It’s rude to be behind someone when they are putting, even if it’s not directly behind them. No one likes the feeling of someone breathing behind their neck. So, move to the side before they go in for their birdie.
Walking Through A Players Line
Never do this. A player’s line not only is the line from the ball to the cup, but it extends two-three feet past the cup in case the putt misses. Walking on the line will change the trajectory and path of the ball.
Golf Bag On The Tee Box
For those that choose to walk versus riding, do not place your bag on the tee box. Sometimes the bag can fall over or scuff the hitting area. Also, the bag can be a visual distraction, so it’s best to keep it off to the side.
Walking With Your Bags Across The Tee
The reason not to walk with your bags across near the cup is that the extra weight (from the bag) leaves an imprint on the green. Walking around the fringe is fine, but do remember to leave the green pristine as possible.
Divot Patterns At The Range
There are two common methods for divots at the driving range — either lined up in a row or vertical lines. The one no-no is to leave them scattered about. It ends up chewing more turf then you need.
Picking Up When You Are Behind
Many people are playing for fun, especially when starting. Don’t worry about your score. Sometimes you have to keep up play and pick up your ball. No shame in cutting your losses.
Being On Your Phone
It may go without saying, but you don’t need to be on your phone the whole time you are golfing, it can wait. Enjoy the game and the surrounding nature. Check your phone when appropriate like at the clubhouse, or in the golf cart. Don’t forget to leave it on silent. Otherwise, you run the risk of your notifications going off at the wrong moments (like during a swing).
The Give & Take
It’s generally accepted to give a golfer a tap in or allow someone to take a long putt. However, it’s all about balance. You don’t want to make a golfer finish every tap-in or be too generous. Calling a mulligan is fine, but not for every shot. Keep in mind that golf is fun, so you’ll want to cheer on your friends when they hit a good shot. And as a courtesy, you’ll want to help track their ball when they shoot.
Simple & Basic Golf Etiquette Tips
Beware of wet roads. Don’t drive your golf cart onto soggy fairways – the cart will leave deep grooves on this wet terrain, which can affect the playability of the fairway. The grooves can alter the course of a landing or rolling golf ball.
Be careful on the greens. Players should ensure that no damage is done to the putting green when putting down bags or the flagstick.
Fix your divots. Leaving them behind can cause a lot of damage to the course, so it’s important etiquette for golfers to repair their divots as they happen. Retrieve and replace the sod by pressing them back down into the divot.
Not overfilling trash containers prevents trash from blowing across the course. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Don’t leave your tee behind. Once you’ve hit your drive, don’t forget to pick up your tee and dispose of it properly, rather than leaving it on the teeing ground. If you’ve broken your tee, make sure to pick up all of the pieces.
Often good golf shots are accompanied by a solid divot. Good practice shots, however, are not. A golf course takes enough of a beating during the season that when taking a practice swing it is expected that no divot is taken.
Always repair your ball marks on the green. Be sure to have a repair tool in your pocket ready to go.
Enter the bunker from the low side. The edges of bunkers can be easily damaged, so always enter from the low side closest to your ball. Never walk on the steep face of the bunker unless it is absolutely necessary.
Ropes are a necessary evil on every course that receives heavy play. Do – Pay attention to ropes and the areas they are intended to protect. Don’t – Don’t step on the rope – step over it.
Leave no trace. Bring a rake into the bunker with you, and make sure to rake the area after you’ve taken your shot. You should be aiming to leave no footprints or other marks behind. Leave the rake outside of the bunker when you leave.
Tips for Speeding Up Play on the Golf Course
Choose the correct set of tees from which to play. If you're a 20-handicapper, you have no business playing the championship tees. Doing so only adds strokes, which add time and holds up golfers behind.
Members of a group should not travel as a pack, with all members walking together to the first ball, then the second, and so on. Each member of the group should walk directly to his own ball.
When two players are riding in a cart, drive the cart to the first ball and drop off the first player with her choice of clubs. The second player should proceed in the cart to her ball. After the first player hits her stroke, she should begin walking toward the cart as the second golfer is playing.
Use the time you spend getting to your ball to think about the next shot — the yardage, the club selection. When you reach your ball you'll need less time to figure out the shot.
If you are unsure whether your ball has come to rest out of bounds, or may be lost, immediately hit a provisional ball so that you won't have to return to the spot to replay the shot. If you are playing a recreational match with, shall we say, a "loose interpretation" of the rules, then simply drop a new ball somewhere around the area where your ball was lost and keep playing (taking a penalty, of course).
If you're following the rules, you won't be using mulligans. But if are using mulligans, limit them to no more than one mulligan per nine (you should never hit a mulligan if players behind you are waiting, or if you want to later claim that you played by the rules).
Begin reading the green and lining up putts as soon as you reach the green. Don't wait until it's your turn to putt to start the process of reading the green. Do it as soon as you reach the green so that when it is your turn you can step right up and putt.
Never delay making a stroke because you're having a conversation with a playing partner. Put the conversation on hold, make your stroke, then pick up the conversation again.
If using a cart on a cart-path-only day, take more than one club with you when you walk from the cart to your ball. Getting to the ball only to find out you don't have the right club is a huge time-waster on the golf course.
After putting out, don't stand around the green chatting or take any practice putting strokes. Leave the green quickly so the group behind can play. When leaving the green and returning to your golf cart, don't stand there fussing with your putter or other clubs. Get in the cart, drive to the next tee, and then put away your putter. Likewise, mark your scorecard after reaching the next tee, not while lingering on or near the just-completed green.
When using a cart, never park the cart in front of the green. Park it only to the side or behind the green. And don't mark your scorecard while sitting in the cart next to the green (do it at the next tee). These practices open up the green for the group behind.
If you're the type who likes to offer golf tips to playing partners, save it for the driving range — or only do so on the course when you're sure that you're not slowing down play (and sure that you're not annoying your partners!).
If you are searching for a golf ball and are willing to spend up the maximum three minutes the rules allow looking for it, allow the group behind to play through. If you are playing a friendly game where rules aren't followed closely, just forget the lost ball and drop a new one (with penalty). If you're not playing by the rules, you should never spend more than a minute looking for a lost ball. Don't ask your playing partners to help you search for a lost ball, unless you are absolutely certain there is time for them to do so (e.g., there is no group behind waiting). If the course is crowded, your partners should continue moving forward, not slow things down further by stopping to help your search.
On the tee, pay attention to your fellow-competitors' drives. If they lose sight of their ball, you can help direct them to it and avoid any searching.
When waiting on the tee for the group in front to clear the fairway, don't be so strict about order of play. Let the short hitter — who can't reach the group ahead anyway — go ahead and hit.
Work on building a concise pre-shot routine. If your pre-shot routine is a lengthy one, it's probably in your best interests to shorten it anyway. Limit practice strokes to one or two at the most.
Don't bother marking lag putts — go ahead and putt out if it's short enough and you won't be trampling on another player's line.
Leave your cell phone in the car. (unless its to take great pictures and post, tagging the course. and not getting in the way of the game!)
Walk at a good pace between shots. No, you don't have to look like a race-walker. But if your between-shot gait can be described as a "shuffle" or an "amble," you're probably going too slow. Speeding up your gait a little is good for your health, but also might help your game by keeping you loose.
Carry extra tees, ball markers and an extra golf ball in your pockets so you never have to return to your golf bag to find one when needed.
When chipping around the green, carry both the club you'll be chipping with plus your putter so you don't have to return to the bag.
When your group reaches the putting green, consider leaving the flagstick in and putting that way. That is now allowed under the Rules of Golf, and it saves a little time by not requiring that golfers deal with removing the flagstick, placing it off to the side, then retrieving it and putting it back.
These are all simple tips that can help your golf group move around the course at a better pace.
Bunkers & Sandtraps
This is more of a rule, but important to mention. When your ball lands in a bunker or sand trap, you can not perform a practice shot that touches the sand with your club at address prior to hitting your shot. If you do so, it can lead to a penalty stroke in your score.
Golf etiquette in bunkers means raking the sand trap after you hit your ball out of the bunker. You must rake the divot where your ball was as well as any footprints in the sand that you made. Leaving it as best you can for the next golfer who ends up there. No one wants their ball to land in a footprint or divot from someone else’s shot.
When you are done, you should leave the sand rake somewhere along the outside of the bunker. Do not leave the rake in the bunker.
White golf balls used to be the only ball you could find. Colors in all different varieties are now available which make it a lot easier to identify a golf ball you are playing.
Many golfers mark their golf balls with a permanent marker with some sort of unique pattern or line. This is to help identify their ball when it is out on the course or to help them line up their putts. Both are allowed in the game of golf. Being able to identify your specific golf ball can eliminate confusion and potential penalty strokes (hitting someone else’s ball).
After you hit your shot, be sure to watch the ball actually land and stop so you know where to go for your next shot. This is easy to do if your ball is in the fairway. Harder if you are near the woods or in thick rough. After you see the ball stop, pick a landmark that you can use to help locate the ball when you get up closer. The worst is if you can’t remember where you hit it. It happens a lot as a beginner!
The time allotted to finding a lost golf ball is 3 minutes. This helps with the pace of play. If you lose a ball, it is ok to hunt around for it just don’t spend a lot of time or the pace will slow considerably. This is why it is really important to keep an eye on your ball as it lands and stops so you can find it faster.
It is good etiquette to help others find their ball as well as long as you are not up next to hit. If that’s the case, hit first then go help. Remember.....Always think about the pace of play.
Pushcarts can be rolled pretty much anywhere on the course except for the greens or bunkers. They are a great addition to golf because instead of having to carry your golf clubs on your back or riding in a cart, golfers can walk, push their cart and still get exercise.
There are some tips on course management from a perspective of pushcart placement. As you approach the green on any given hole, think about where the next hole is located and park your pushcart on that side of the green if possible. That way when you come off the green, your pushcart is already there and you don’t waste time crossing over the green while the group behind you is waiting.
Also make sure your pushcart isn’t too close to you while you are taking your shot or too close to your playing partners or in their line of sight.
Respecting the golf course is a big deal. Superintendents and maintenance crews spend a lot of time & effort keeping a golf course in good condition.
When riding a golf cart, see if there are any rules for the day. It might be that carts need to “stay on the cart path”. This means that you can not drive the carts on the fairways or any parts of the grass. Typically this happens when there has been a lot of rain that day or the day before. Carts might tear up the course and do harm to the fairways.
Also, be sure to follow the “cart” directional signs.
These signs are usually up closer to the green and have arrows pointing to which direction to go. In most cases, you’ll see a cart path to follow around the green to park. The signs tell golfers to not drive their riding carts beyond this point.
Cart etiquette includes driving respectfully and being careful not to tear up the course. Beware of cars on roads if you need to cross any and other carts or walkers. And finally, do not drive up ahead in front of someone who is hitting their shot. This can be dangerous and it is disrespectful. It is best to stay abreast of or just back from the person hitting.
Replace Your Divots
We learn this as children – to leave something the way we found it. In golf, this means if you take a divot or leave marks in the fairway, the green or the tee box, you must remember to fix it as best as possible.
In the fairway or tee box, it is proper etiquette to replace your divots if possible. Find the clump of grass that came off when hitting your shot and replace it back to the divot it came from. Some courses have containers with a seed mixture that you just sprinkle on top of any divots. You can find these seed mixtures on the sides on riding carts and sometimes next to tee box markers.
On the putting green, a ball mark or pitch mark is what is typically seen. These are the little welts or indentations in the putting green surface. It is our responsibility and job as golfers to respect the course and repair these ball marks. If they aren’t fixed right away, these welts and marks tend to turn brown and can also leave greens pretty chewed up in the long run. The best method is to use a repair tool to properly fix these marks.
Keeping Pace of Play
Pace of play in golf is very important.
Let me say this again. Pace of Play is really important.
What this means is that you need to constantly be moving ahead towards the green or the next hole. Keeping up with the group in front of you is a good indicator of keeping pace. A typical round of 18 holes takes about 4 hours. 9 holes takes 2 hours. Some courses may even be less depending on the golf course.
Plan for about 15 minutes per hole except for the par 3’s, which should take less time.
Golf can be a long day and if you are following a group in front of you that is very slow, it can irk the most patient of players.
Sometimes it can be hard to know how fast or slow you are playing, but if you are keeping up with the group in front of you, then you are good.
Alternatively, if you look back and the group behind you is constantly waiting around, and the group in front of you is nowhere to be found or has moved ahead, you’ll want to pick up the pace or let the group behind you “play through”. This allows the group behind to move ahead of you and play through your group on a particular hole while you wait for them to play that hole.
This works well if you want to take your time. Just beware that there may be more groups behind them and if you keep letting groups play through, it can be distracting to your game and a lot of waiting on your end.
Sometimes, it might be better to pick up the pace of play.
Be Punctual for Your Scheduled Tee Time
A tee time is the scheduled time for your group to tee off on the first tee. You'll see times like 12:12 or 2:24 because times are calculated to allow for a specific number of minutes between groups. Usually its approximately 12-15 minutes between each group or tee time.
The last thing you want to do is be late for your scheduled tee time. Some courses may not even let you go out if you miss the time by even 5 minutes as it can back up the rest of the groups that day. And etiquette is an important part of the game of golf.
Here are some helpful tips.
1. Be sure to arrive earlier than your scheduled time. It is best to arrive with enough time to practice at the range, putt, use the restroom and get your clubs and bag ready. No need to be rushed, it affects your game.
2. It is typical to be ready and waiting to tee off at least 5 minutes before your scheduled time. This means you are checked in with the starter, the glove is on, tee and ball are in hand and you are waiting at the first tee or waiting for the starter to give you the signal to go ahead.
3. Respect the game and respect each other. By starting on time, you ensure that everyone's game is the best it can be.