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Top 10 Golf Course Etiquette Tips

By Editorial Staff

Contributed by Emily Gerson, Info Guru

Golf is a challenging but peaceful sport that requires strict etiquette to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all players.

Here are 10 of the most important golf course etiquette rules needed to maintain the integrity of the game.

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10. Mulligans and gimmies

These should be kept to a minimum and avoided it possible to keep the game about skill. A gimmie should not be allowed unless it is completely certain that the player cannot miss the shot. Mulligans generally should not be permitted.

9. No distractions

A great golf swing requires concentration, so etiquette calls for striving to not distract your fellow players. Keep your cell phone on silent during the game. When another player is about to swing, do not stand too close to the ball and do not talk or make movements that would disturb the player.

8. Putting politeness

Once your group has finished putting, you should immediately leave the putting green. Avoid standing in a position that casts your shadow in another player’s putting line, and don’t walk through a player’s putting line, as this may alter the putt’s path, according to the USGA.

7. Volume level

Golf is a relatively quiet game. It is impolite to talk while another player is swinging. You should also avoid yelling out after a shot (cheering or cursing!).

6. Golf cart manners

Pay attention to the signs, as different golf courses have different rules about where you can drive the carts. Some courses only allow you to drive on the cart paths, which prohibits you from driving into the grass. For your safety, don’t drive near water or bunkers. Use safety rules you would in any other car; be cautious at intersections, avoid distractions, and keep your eye open for golfers.

5. Lost balls

Along the same lines of keeping up your speed, you should also not spend more than a few minutes searching for lost golf balls. According to the United States Golf Association, a player should play a provisional ball if the lost ball is out of bounds or outside a water hazard. If you want to spend a few minutes searching for your ball and there is a group waiting behind you, allow the group to play through, and do not resume playing until they are out of range.

4. Keep up your pace

Golf courses run on a tight ship. Tee times are organized to a minute, so it is respectful to show up and begin right on time. While golf can be a leisurely sport, you need to keep a good pace. To respect the players behind you, keep your practice swings to a minimum. You should always be ready for your shot once it’s your turn; try not to take more than 30 seconds to swing once it becomes your turn. You should have your ball ready, select your club and do any other planning before it is your turn.

3. Leave no trace

It’s important to help protect the course. When taking a practice shot, avoid taking a divot. Be sure to repair any ball marks on the green and divots in the fairway. Rake the sand bunkers to remove any damage and footprints.

2. Good sportsmanship

Unlike many other sports, there is no referee or umpire to call the plays in golf. This requires players to be considerate and maintain the integrity and spirit of the game on their own. Be honest with your scores and be respectful of the other players.

1. Safety first

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With metal golf clubs swinging and balls flying through the air, golf can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Wait to take a shot until you’re certain the other players are out of your range. If your ball accidentally flies toward a player or a group, yell “Fore!” to warn them. You should also refrain from practicing a swing in the direction of a player in case pebbles or anything else flies in that direction.


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