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Golf Etiquette - An Easy Guide to Basic Golf Etiquette

Aug 18, 2007
Golf etiquette guidelines are usually related to three distinct areas: taking care of the golf course, displaying courtesy toward other golfers, and the problem of slow play.

1. Looking After the Golf Course

Sand Traps.

Chances are you didn't want to be in the sand in the first place. But that's no reason to leave a mess behind once you hit out.

You should erase any footsteps and marks you've made as completely as possible. The golf course has most likely furnished a rake so you can do this.

If you can't find a rake, use your club to smooth out any record of your activity. The golf etiquette goal for the sand should be to leave it like you found it.

Holes in the fairway.

When you're taking a shot out on the fairway, it's possible for both professionals and new golfers alike to leave a divot when they take their practice swing or real shot.

Retrieve the divot, put it back in the damaged spot you made and tread it down with your left foot. Doing this bit of golf etiquette will give the grass a better shot at repairing itself.


The green is the most fragile part of the course. When your ball impacts the green, especially after pitching it from a short distance away, it's going to make a mark.

You can either use a special tool or the tip of your tee to repair the mark. Then take your putter and lightly tap the mark.

It may not seem like this would make any difference, but untreated ball marks can take up to 3 weeks to repair themselves. Ball marks, treated according to golf etiquette rules, can repair themselves in as little as 12 hours.

Other ways to care for the green include being careful not to drag your shoes. Nobody is interested in allowing for spike marks when trying to sink their putt.

Golf etiquette also suggests that you take special care with the pin.

Don't drop or toss the pin; rather, place it gently on the surface of the green.

2. Courtesy in Golf Etiquette

The essence of courtesy in golf etiquette is distraction. As in, don't be a distraction. It doesn't matter if you're playing with a teammate or an opponent, keep out of their line of sight when they're making a swing.

Don't take a position directly behind a golfer.

You should also avoid standing too close, not only for reasons of golf etiquette but for your own safety as well.

3.Slow Play

No one actually enjoys hurrying through a golf game. Golf is a game that's meant to be enjoyed, and there ought to be plenty of time for conversation, personal reflection and appreciation of the course.

At the same time, if you're golfing on a busy day and the course is crowded, you should be considerate of the golfers behind you.

Proper golf etiquette includes not making the players behind you wait any longer than necessary.

Think about what's next while your teammate is playing. Instead of analyzing your partner's performance or standing around in a daze, plan your next shot.

After you tee off, go straight to your golf ball instead of taking the detour to other players' balls at first.

This assumes you're walking the course and not sharing a golf cart.

Once you get to the green, take out your putter and put your golf bag on the way to the next tee. This will help you make a faster exit from the green and not delay golfers waiting on the fairway behind you.

Have you ever played in front of faster golfers? There's no point in trying to finish the game feeling hurried and anxious. Step aside and politely wave the faster players through.

This is especially true if you need to find your golf ball in the deep grass. They'll thank you and you'll be able to rest for a few minutes.

Golf etiquette doesn't just exist to define golf as a game for gentlemen only. Golf etiquette has developed over time to make the game of golf a rewarding experience for all golfers and to keep the golf course in the best playable condition possible.

So if you're not willing to follow the rules of golf etiquette for the sake of other golfers, at least do it for yourself.
About the Author
(c) 2007 Choosing Great Golf Clubs. All you need to know to make the right decisions before you buy your next set of golf clubs. There's all the information you could ask for, at Martin Haworth's website, http://www.ChoosingGreatGolfClubs.com
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