If you are new to the game of golf or thinking about starting a game, you may be hesitant to step out onto the course because you don’t know how a typical game goes from tee box to green.
To help with that, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to golf etiquette, breaking it down for you. From arriving on the course, taking the first shot, to the green and anywhere in between, we have the information you need to demonstrate proper golf etiquette on the course.
Here’s the breakdown:
Before the round
arrive early – Give yourself enough time before your round to warm up, stretch, or set up your bag or stroller. Check in at the clubhouse and confirm your tee time, organize your cart and try to head to the practice areas.
Warm-up – A proper warm-up will go a long way in helping you play your best on the golf course. Try using a range of drills to hit a few balls with each of your clubs in your bag. Work from wedges to woods or vice versa, whichever works best for your training routine.
Many golfers find that spending time on a practice green will help you get a feel for the speed of the greens on the course. The short game is all about winning or losing, so don’t forget to take your time to warm up on the green.
Before each training session at the shooting range or on the green, take some time to stretch to loosen up your muscles and prepare for your shots.
On Tee Box
Start the hole right by using your tee box time wisely. You will most likely wait for the group in front of you to clear the fairway. Make sure you give the group enough time to take a second shot from a distance long enough to hit the tee without landing on them.
Like any part of the game, the pace of the game is important to everyone around you. The right pace of the game helps you keep the rhythm of the game for yourself and the environment. On the teeing ground, try to make about two to three practice swings before hitting the tee.
To help the pace of the game, try to help your group by carefully watching their tee shots to help them locate the ball faster in the fairway (or uneven terrain). If you or another player tees the ball out of bounds or into the woods, the rules allow a second stroke, also known as a provisional ball.
Finally, your tee box has tags. Your ball should not pass the tee box markers when teeed. Rangers will move the tee-markers forward or backward periodically to allow the turf to regrow after it has been hit for an extended period of time. Respect the course and tee in line with the markers so that you and other players on the course can hit from sound turf.
On a fairway (or uneven)
Now that you and your group have ridden the fairway, keep the following tips in mind for fairway golf etiquette (or unlucky tee box hitting):
- If your group uses a golf cart, be sure to follow the golf cart rules.
- If the rules only apply to the path of the cart, keep the cart in the path and go to your ball from the path.
- Another rule you might see is the 90 degree rule. This means that you can take your cart off the path into the fairway, but you will need to get within the distance of your ball from the path of the trolley, then immediately turn right or left from the path to your ball.
- To decide who should take the next shot, this will be determined by each player’s distance to the hole. The ball furthest from the hole will make the next stroke.
- Lost your ball and think you can find it? The rules give you time to look for the ball. To maintain proper golf etiquette, you have three minutes to look for the ball. If you cannot find your ball within this time, you should take a penalty shot, drop a new ball and strike.
- Taking care of the course also applies to the fairway. If you are making a trench with an iron on a fairway, fill it with sand so that the turf can grow back. The golf course usually provides sand in a cart to fill divots. The last thing you or any other player wants is to take a shot from the bare ground.
In the sand
Scary sand trap. While no golfer wants to hit the ball from a bunker, it is important to leave the bunker with a rake for the next unlucky player to venture inside.
Make sure you enter the bunker from the lowest side to prevent the sand from shifting too much. Proper golf etiquette for kicking out of a bunker is to keep the wedge off the ground until you make your shot.
After taking a shot, grab the shot spot and bounce the footprints back to the lower side of the bunker. Leave the rake close to the bunker to make it easier for the next player to use.
Green is where players are likely to be closest to each other. Giving each other space and being able to set their putts is essential to good golf etiquette. Keep this in mind when you and your group are on the green:
- If your ball fell into a groove on the green when landing, make sure you fix it with a divot repair tool or even something as simple as a tee. You can take the repair tool and pierce the grass around your partition and push the earth towards the center of the partition. After pushing the ground inwards, take your pitcher and pat the ground to flatten the grass. Thanks to this, the grass will regenerate quickly.
- One of the most important things you can do on the green is to avoid crossing your own and other players’ lines of putt. Remember to walk around the putt line of each ball if you must walk on the green.
- If your ball is in or near the path of another player’s ball, mark it with a round plastic marker or even a coin to allow players to position their shot correctly.
- If you’re wondering who puts first on the green, follow the same golf etiquette as you do on the fairway. The player furthest from the hole hits first. Marking the ball gives the furthest player a chance to read the green correctly and make the best shot.
- Once a player has placed his putt, providing him with adequate space is equally important. Try to stay out of sight of other players for as little distraction as possible when putting on the green.
- Wondering if the flag stick should stay in the hole or should it be removed? A recent rule change allows players to hold the flag in the hole while putting on the green. If you want to remove the flagstick from the hole, place it completely on the ground, preferably off the green, to avoid damage.
If you’ve ever watched the pros play, you’ve probably seen them take off their hats and shake hands with the group they were playing against. Do as you see fit with your group and thank everyone for the round, and above all, don’t forget the wedge you used to drive onto the green or escape the bunker! Too often golfers run back to the 18th green to catch a wedge they forgot to pick up.
If you were in a wheelchair, be kind to the staff and remove anything belonging to you and any boxes or trash you had. You can leave them a tip and the golf game will be a success.
Golf Etiquette is a simple and helpful tool for golfers to help everyone enjoy the game. Not only will you enjoy the game, but the people around you, including the golf course staff, will appreciate the way you treat the course.
For more tips and guides on how to improve your golf game, check out more guides from us at All Purpose Golf!