- Etiquette has to do with manners. It is through the courtesy that we show to other people that we show our respect for them and that we show how important we think they are. The golf etiquette (or lack of it!) that you display will say more about you as a golfer than anything you ever do with your club. In a golfing context it also means respecting the traditions of the game, the course, practice and other facilities and leaving them in the good condition in which you would like to find them. One of the traditions of the game is the high standard of etiquette between golfers. EVERYONE CAN BE GOOD AT ETIQUETTE.
- Plan ahead. Check the golf club’s events diary to make sure that play will be possible at the time you next want to play. Occasionally both the 1st and 10th tee starting points may be booked for a short period of time. Not only is it NOT good etiquette to attempt to tee off at such a time, it is simply against club rules.
- Car park: Park only within designated areas. Changing clothes in the car park is not permitted and changing rooms really are more comfortable.
- Visitors should always report to the Pro shop first before entering the Club House and be given course information and key codes for security door & gates on the course.
- Mobiles phones are not to be used anywhere within the clubhouse. The exceptions to this will be within the locker rooms, patio, foyer and the upper car park areas. Phones may be carried in golf bags on the course but must be switch off at all times, and can only be used in golf related emergency situations.
- Observe a good standard of dress on and around the golf course & in the clubhouse.
- Green Fees should be paid on arrival and definitely before going out. In the event of a very early tee off (and also at any other time), precedence must always be given to any greens staff still working on the course. They will normally try to let you pass as soon as practicable. Allowing them to finish cutting a green you are approaching will significantly help them to cut all 18 greens before mainstream play begins.
- No Kit bags or golf equipment are allowed in any of the main club lounges.
- Instances will occur when those waiting to start on either starting tee, even if they are accurately in position for their tee off starting time, should meet players already part way through their round. So as to avoid disturbing the momentum of the round of those players, please consider the following. Examples of these situations are:
- Players may need to play extra holes to conclude a matchplay round.
- To maximise use of the course on occasions, golfers may start from the 10th tee. Players should only start on the 10th if the 9th hole is clear.
- In this situation, when those players reach the 1st tee (their 10th hole), it is recommended that the two sets of players ‘alternate’ with those players starting their round.
- Keep your voice down on the course to avoid distracting others. Consideration is required for golfers on any adjacent tees, greens or fairways. A common distraction on the 18th green is the friendly banter from the surrounding area’s of the practice putting green and 1st tee.
- Do take extra care on still days, when the sound of your voice carries much further than normal.
- Be aware of any noise you make when walking (e.g. on a path) or made by your clubs, trolley or buggy.
- If you meet someone on their own, it is good etiquette to ask them to join you regardless of ability. If it is you that is asked and you wish to refrain from doing so, a polite “no thank you” is all that is required.
- Do not take trolleys on to teeing grounds.
- In general play situations only, all players must offer the Club Captain the tee first, if they are waiting to play.
- When starting, the order of play is determined by the official start sheet, or if there is none, by the drawing of lots, e.g. by tossing a coin.
- Subsequently the player or side winning a hole plays first at the next tee. The original order is maintained if a hole is ‘halved’ or drawn.
- The player or side with the right to play first is said to have the ‘honour’.
- To avoid distracting the player, do not stand directly behind his line of play nor anywhere else in his peripheral vision.
- Remain still & silent while your fellow player is playing.
- Remote controlled trolleys must remain still while other players play their shots.
- Don’t walk into an area where you may be hit.
- Do your best to see where a fellow player’s ball finishes. Watch it in flight and help him find it if it is not readily found.
Playing from the Tee
- Don’t play until all players ahead are out of range. If in doubt WAIT.
- Do not risk causing damage to teeing grounds, fairways or your partners patience with excessive practice swings. Loosen up on the practice area or practice shed, not on the tee.
- If you think your ball might hit someone, warn them by shouting FORE, LOUDLY!
- Never attempt to Drive unless you are 100% sure that the fairway has been cleared by the preceding group.
- Do NOT replace your divots on teeing grounds. DO fill them in with the soil/seed mixtures in the tee boxes.
- Clearing the teeing area of your broken tees is expected.
- In the fairway (or rough!), the players will be more spread out. It is important that you are aware of where the other members of your group are located in order to:
a) Determine if it is your turn to play next. The player furthest from the hole would normally play first.
b) Avoid hitting your ball near to where someone is standing or inadvertently looking for their ball.
- Generally speaking it is safer not to walk ahead of golfers who have yet to play their shots. In practice, to save time, experienced golfers may be happy for each other to walk ahead but, the person ahead must keep well away from the playing golfer’s line of play and also continually observe the state of readiness of the playing golfer to be able to stop moving when that golfer is starting to prepare for their shot. Likewise, the following golfer then needs to stop moving when the player ahead starts to prepare for his shot.
- Always replace divots.
- You should give priority to those golfers already on and playing that hole. If you have a lengthy wait, you may need to call through the group that is following your own group.
- You must drop your ball off any wrong green, and take relief no nearer the hole in which you are playing. In general play, it is also recommended that you drop your ball off any green fringes, wrong tees and their banking so as to preserve the course.
- If a ball is proving difficult to find and the following group are waiting to play, wave them through before continuing your search. This helps to keep play flowing and reduces the pressure to immediately find your ball.
- Occasionally, having just waved someone through, you will immediately find the offending ball. You should still let the following group play their shots and then consider whether you and your group could play on to minimise a delay. If the following group have hit their balls into places where they may be difficult to find, a total course hold up could ensue if you do not play on. You will need to judge a situation to the best of your ability. Generally, having called a group through you should then let them through.
- Remember the rules permit a maximum of 5 minutes to look for a ball after which it is deemed lost. If you are not playing in a competition, you may wish to take less than this. If you are playing in a competition and you realise having played your shot that the ball may be difficult to find, before going forward and after the others in your group have played, DO play a provisional ball to potentially save time walking back to play a replacement ball.
- Play without delay. Do not spoil the enjoyment of others by holding them up.
- Plan your shot before it’s your turn.
- Focus on staying a reasonable distance from the group ahead.
- Avoid unnecessarily ‘pressing’ the group ahead. Standing on a teeing ground whilst the group ahead are legitimately playing their next strokes could be classed as discourteous.
- It is understandable that golfers can become impatient if the group ahead has lost ground on the group ahead of them and seem to be playing slowly; however, it is dangerous and never acceptable to send a message by hitting a ball at them. If you are tired of waiting, by all means walk ahead to their group and politely ask them to speed up play or to let you play through if they have clearly lost a complete hole on the group in front of them.
- Be additionally patient if you identify that the group ahead are visitors who may not know their way around the course. Do offer help if appropriate.
- Playing through another group is one of the most difficult and contentious parts of golf. It is difficult because, often, there is an implication that the group who is “being played through” is guilty of slow play and they typically resent that implication — even if it’s true. So if you are going to ask another group to allow you to play through them, do so in a courteous manner and at a convenient time in the round.
- Be sure there is room for you to properly play through before you ask permission. If there is another group immediately ahead of the group you are asking, they will naturally decline to let you through and they will be annoyed that you bothered them.
- Be courteous as you hit your shots in playing through.
- If you are playing slowly (more than a hole between you and the group ahead of you) you should invite the group behind through. It might be convenient when you are on a green (par 3 holes are particularly good places). Wave them up, stand aside and let them hit up to the green. As they are walking up to the green you can putt out. Then allow them to tee off before you on the next tee.
- Always thank a group who have allowed you to play through.
- Playing through is a courtesy extended and not a right assumed. However, some groups should be given precedence in certain circumstances.
- Players representing the club in a team match have precedence over those playing in a club competition who in turn have precedence over those pursuing General Play. More generally, a 2 ball (and foursomes over a straight two ball) should be given precedence over a 3 or 4 ball, and a 3 ball over a 4 ball (though a 4 Ball Better Ball could be given precedence as they may be playing more quickly than a 3 ball). The general principle to bear in mind is that of allowing faster groups to play through.
- Enter a bunker from the lowest side nearest your ball. Maintaining the high edge of bunkers is difficult and climbing down them is likely to cause damage to both the bunker and yourself should you slip.
- When you have finished your bunker shot, use the rake to smooth out all evidence of your ball, shot and footprints.
- In raking a bunker, do make sure some sand is pushed back towards the face of a bunker to avoid the ‘No sand/Lots of sand’ unevenness which can result from a combination of bunker shot execution and simply dragging sand towards the back of a bunker on exit.
- Before you reach the green, determine in which direction the next tee is located. Leave bags and trolleys on the side of the green in that direction, so that after putting, you will not delay following players.
- Only walk to greens via clearly defines routes, do not walk up embankments, which may be too steep, always use wooden steps
- Keep bags, trolley and buggies off all greens and their immediate surrounds.
- Do not take trolleys (or buggies!) between greenside bunkers and the greens.
- Be aware of the location of all the balls on the green to avoid stepping on the line of a fellow players putt. Try to walk outside of their putt rather than over it especially where their putting line is not obvious. Large steps can also put damaging pressure on the greens surface.
- Repair any pitch marks you make (always carry your pitch mark repair tool) & also any others that may have gone unrepaired. Remember to repair the mark by working the edges to the centre (NOT by levering soil upwards – this creates fungus breeding air pockets).
- Mark your ball with an acceptable ball marker if the ball is anywhere near a partner’s putting line.
- Be careful where you stand so as not to distract a player. Many putting stances give players peripheral vision which extends behind them to their left and right.
- Do not lean on your putter on the green at any time.
- Wait for all players to hit their balls onto the green before removing the flag.
- Be careful not to damage the hole or putting green when attending or when removing & replacing the flagstick DO NOT THROW the flagstick on to the green.
- Generally, the player closest to the hole will attend the flagstick.
- While attending the flagstick:
a) Make sure it is free in the hole & that it will not stick when you try to pull it out.
b) Stand as far away from the hole as reasonably possible (arm’s length).
c) Stand to the side of the cup which ensures your shadow does not fall across the line of the players putt.
d) Avoid standing on any other player’s putting line.
e) Hold the flag still (assuming you can reach it!).
f) Keep still and quiet.
g) Don’t forget to remove the flagstick when the ball is rolling towards the hole.
- All players should remain on or around the green until the last putt has dropped.
- NEVER attempt to take the ball out of the hole with your putter head (Hole edge damage risk).
Note: it is not always necessary to hole out. Doing so when your score does not count can hold up play on a busy course.
- When all players have holed out the flagstick should be replaced correctly, ensuring the flag is left unfurled.
- Always rake the practice bunkers after using them. Leave the practice area as tidy as you would expect to find it.
- Practice is not allowed on the course, and only a single ball is to be played at any one time.
- Do not lose your temper or throw your clubs in anger!
- Never drop your golf bag or throw clubs especially on or around greens where irreparable damage may be caused.
- At the end of a round, whether you win, lose or finish all square, you should shake hands with your fellow players in the spirit of good sportsmanship. It is also a mark of courtesy to remove headgear before doing so.
- Politely ask for the offenders name(s) and report any incident to the secretary on your return to the clubhouse.
- Remember, it is not possible to cover every eventuality in the above notes. Try to make your decisions within the spirit of the game to mutually help each other and preserve the course.
Last but not least enjoy your game.