What are some basic golf etiquette rules that will make the biggest difference in having fun while playing?
Golf is a gentleman’s game. And like any sport, there are a set of etiquette rules that should be followed in order to make sure everyone has a good time.
On this page, we will discuss 17 fundamental golf etiquette rules. If you’re new to the game, or just want to brush up on your skills, make sure you read these tips!
Why Golf Etiquette Rules Matter
Golf etiquette might seem like too many rules to remember, but many of these non-written rules are common sense and extremely simple. By following them, you make the game more enjoyable for everyone. Plus, it shows that you respect the game and the other players.
These rules below appeal on a more general level to golfers everywhere and should always be kept in mind whether you’re playing with friends, family or even strangers.
Keep your cell phone silenced while on the golf course
As most golfers know, there are a few critical etiquette rules that should be followed while on the course. An essential rule is to keep your cell phone silenced. Nothing ruins a game of golf more than having a phone ring in the middle of a swing. Not only is it disruptive to your golfing buddies, but it also shows a lack of respect for the game. If you must take a call, step away from others and speak quietly.
Proper attire is required at all times on the golf courses and the practice facilities (putting & chipping greens and the driving range).Clothing items NOT appropriate for the golf course include, but are not limited to:
- Jeans/denim, tank tops, tee shirts, short shorts or short skirts, sweat pants, swimsuits (board shorts), spandex or bike shorts.
- This policy applies to both male and female golfers.
- Golf shoes and sneakers are acceptable footwear.
If golf etiquette exists, being respectful to golfers and staff at the club is one of the core rules to follow. This basically means avoiding loud and disruptive behavior, being considerate of others on the course, and following the club’s rules and regulations.
Some golfers think they can get away with bad behavior because they’re paying customers. But generally, golf clubs have a way of weeding out these golfers and they will eventually be asked to leave.
Let’s make golf a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone by being respectful to those around us.
The following etiquette rules relate especially to other golfers, whether it’s your buddies or strangers on the golf course. No matter if you’re playing in a small group or a bigger one, respecting golfers around you is key to having a good time and making the game more dynamic.
Don’t talk or make noise while another golfer is taking their shot
One of golf’s most basic traditions is that players should remain silent while others are preparing and executing their shots. This rule exists because as a golfer you’ll need concentration in order to make a good shot, and any distractions can ruin it. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule – if someone is in danger or any other extreme situation for instance. But for the most part, it’s best to stay quiet until it’s your turn to play.
Don’t stand in another golfer’s line of sight when they are about to take their shot
This one’s pretty obvious but perhaps it will serve as a quick reminder. When another golfer is about to take their shot, make sure you’re not standing in their line of sight as this will block their view and clearly distract them. It’s always best to stand behind or to the side of the golfer so they can focus on making their shot. Additionally, if you are close to the hole, your shadow can also block their view so have these things in mind while playing.
Remember to keep a safe distance in case you’re waiting right behind a golfer for your turn – golf clubs can be dangerous (and painful)!
Don’t step on another golfer’s putting line
A rule that especially applies to the putting green. This is more common than you might think. Whether you’re placing your coin on the green or are just moving around to spot the green’s slope, be mindful not to step on another golfer’s putting line as this can easily ruin their shot.
The same goes for golfers who are waiting to putt – don’t stand too close to the hole as you might end up blocking someone’s shot.
You can congratulate and make small talk before and after the game or between shots
As far as you’re not disrupting a player while they’re preparing their shot feel free to congratulate your golfing buddies (or even strangers) on a good shot. It is totally fine to make small talk before and after the game. This can be a great way to create new connections and learn a few tips from the day’s winners. Perhaps they did something you completely missed and you can learn from their experience.
Allow faster groups of golfers to play through if you are holding up their game
Golf is a game that takes concentration and focus, so it’s important to not lose your focus by worrying about the group behind you. That extra pressure can easily take a toll on your shots and overall round. Conclusion: It’s not worth it.
If you see there’s another group of golfers behind you who are ready to play and you’re holding up their game, the golfing etiquette rule is letting faster groups play through. That will keep the game more fun and dynamic.
Limited practice swings – Quick and easy
It’s totally fine to take a few practice swings before teeing off or making your shot. In fact, routines are critical to gaining and maintaining consistency.
However, taking too many practice swings can get you out of focus pretty quickly. A good rule of thumb is to take one or two practice swings for every shot. You want to keep the focus on the distance and direction of your shot rather than overthinking your body motions and postures.
Golfers should always shake hands at the end of the game
This is another one of these unwritten rules that are more based on ‘feelings’ than strict etiquette.
But at the end of each game or round, it’s always fun and nice if you shake hands with your buddies and playing partners for that day. Even if they’re strangers. In fact, this can be the start of long-term friendships with many golfers. I’ve made new golfing buddies at new golf courses just by shaking hands and congratulating others.
Of course, there’s more to shaking hands than just being polite. It’s also a way of showing that you’re a good sport.
These rules apply to maintaining and respecting the golf course itself. How cool is it to find perfectly trimmed turf and greens, smooth bunkers, and holes that look like they were designed by nature? All golfers should feel a sense of responsibility to help maintain the golf course and keep it in perfect shape.
Be sure to repair any divots that you make on the golf course
An important rule of golf etiquette is to replace divots (pieces of turf that are pulled up when a club hits the ground) and repair divot holes (the craters created on the ground).
Every time we make a divot, we’re tearing up grass and soil, which can leave the turf vulnerable to disease and pests. And over time, this damage can add up and lead to bare spots on the fairway.
And let’s be honest, it’s just plain rude to leave a hole in the ground for someone else to deal with.
So next time you tee off, take a moment to repair any divots that you make. It’s easy enough to do – just grab a divot tool from your bag and press the turf back into place. With everyone pitching in, we can keep the course looking its best.
Raking the sand in bunkers after your shot
It’s time for bunkers now. Leaving bunkers full of divots, holes or footprints makes the game less enjoyable for everyone. So, golf etiquette rule number one in bunkers is to always rake them after your shot.
Raking helps to ensure that the next player has a fair shot. If a ball lands in a heavily divoted bunker, it may be difficult or impossible for the next player to get their ball out.
A final thought, raking is simply good manners. It shows respect for the course and consideration for other players. So next time you’re finished with your shot, take a moment to rake the sand and help keep the course in good condition.
Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also gives you a better lie to play from. And who doesn’t want that?
On the green, the player furthest from the hole putts first
This golf rule is based on the idea of fairness. Usually, in competition, the player who scored best in the previous hole is the one that tees off. After these initial shots, the player who is farthest from the hole should putt first because they have the most difficult shot.
This rule also helps to keep the game moving along at a good pace of play. If everyone took turns putting in order from closest to farthest, someone would always be waiting around for their turn. This way, everyone stays engaged and the game flows smoothly.
Golf carts are a great way to get around the course, but they can also be dangerous and cause damage if used improperly. Let’s now review some interesting etiquette rules for these funny vehicles.
Golf carts should never be driven in a way that endangers other players or golf course staff
As obvious as it may sound, some golfers don’t have this clear enough, trust me. Golf carts should never be driven in a way that endangers other players or golf course staff. This means no speeding, no sharp turns, and no driving on the wrong side of the cart path.
Not only is this dangerous, but golf carts can also block the game flow in some holes. So golfers should always use caution when driving and be sure to follow the posted rules for cart usage.
Keep golf carts off the greens and tee boxes
Another basic rule, although this one might apply to newcomers to the game. Golf carts should never be driven on the tee and green areas.
This rule is in place to protect the greens and tee areas from damage. Greens are the most delicate and important part of the golf course, and they need to be kept in great condition at all times. We don’t want to see divots or tire tracks on the greens.
Golf carts can easily compact the soil and damage the grass, so it’s important to keep them off these areas.
Golfers should always park their carts next to the cart path or parking areas and walk to their golf ball. It might take a little extra time, but you can always crack some jokes or chat with your golfing buddies while you walk.
Avoid Wet Turf
Whether it’s a deep puddle or simply a patch of moisture, avoid driving your golf cart over wet turf. Your golf cart may drive right over it without any problems, but there’s always a chance of getting stuck or damaging the turf. Plus water and golf carts are not ideal friends…
When a golf course becomes moist and soggy, the ground weakens to the point where it’s easy to damage. The weight of a heavy golf cart can easily tear through a patch of wet turf.
So golfers should always take the safe route and avoid driving their carts over any wet areas. If you can’t avoid it, be sure to drive really slowly and carefully.
The 90-Degree Rule
This is a basic rule. Golf courses will generally have signs playing the message from the picture above. When you see these signs or hear from an attendant to use the 90-degree rule, this means that the course allows you to carefully drive out to your ball on the grass, however only at a 90-degree angle from the cart path.
In other words, do not drive up the middle of the fairway from the tee. They are asking you to stay on the cart path until you are near your ball, then drive straight out to your ball and straight back.
This allows golfers to get close to their ball while reducing the chances of damaging the golf course.
Thank you for reading and understanding our Rules & the Proper Etiquette we expect at Marion Lake Club.
If you would like further reading on the Rules directly pertaining to our club for Golf please read Article III located here https://www.marionlakeclub.com/about/rules-regulations.
For more detailed information from the USGA, please read the links associated with this page https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/2023-rules-of-golf/2023-rules-resources.html.