Golf Course Etiquette: The Ultimate Guide to Getting it Right

Golf Course Etiquette

Golf course etiquette explained

Imagine turning up to a new workplace and saying and doing all the wrong things. You’d look like a total idiot! There’s a certain behaviour and etiquette that belongs in every environment. It’s not written in stone, but for the enjoyment and fairness of those around you it’s important it is followed. Golf is no different, and for the game to be enjoyable and fun for everyone it’s vital that you abide by your local golf course etiquette.

Behaving in the right way on the golf course is not only important to you but to your playing partners and those other golfers around you.

A lot of the etiquette is not set in stone or in the rule book, but is best practice if you want to have a long and enjoyable golfing life.

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What most golfers do

Golfers often take up the game and learn everything to do with the golf swing. However, they often are not shown how to behave during a round of golf. It’s not just a matter of walking up to the tee, swinging a golf club and everybody is happy. Golfers often inadvertently say or do the wrong things around a golf course causing anger and distain from local members.

More often than not this is a case of not being properly educated in the etiquette of the game.

The good news is proper golf course etiquette can be learned by anyone in just minutes.

Understanding the simple do’s and don’ts is all it takes to becoming a golfer everyone wants to play with.

Here are my 10 most important golf course etiquette rules to remember during a round of golf: 

Don’t talk during someone else’s golf swing

This one is so obvious it still surprises me that it happens so often.

Golf is hard enough as it is without having someone yapping away in the middle of your backswing.

If you feel you have to talk to someone, walk far enough away so the player hitting can’t hear you.

Performing the right golf course etiquette is an important part of playing golf

Don’t walk on other golfers line on the green

I played with a guy once that did this all the time.

He had no concept of where the other players were and continued to trample all over my line to the hole in his large size 13 shoes.

It’s common courtesy and being respectful to your fellow players.

Help other players find their balls

Be a team player and help others find their balls when they have hit theirs offline.

If you’re down the middle and they have sliced one out into the trees help them out.

It speeds up play and they will be appreciative for helping them out.

You may even help save them a stroke by finding their ball nestled in some thick grass!

Shout out ‘fore’ if you hit the ball offline

This one is important as you can do some serious damage if you’re not careful.

Yelling out ‘fore’ warns other golfers that a ball has been hit offline and to take cover.

Even if you think they are safe, yell it out just to be sure.

You could save someone’s life!

Don’t hit up on other golfers

This happened to me about 2 months ago. During three holes in a row on the back nine a ball came flying onto the green before my partners and I had finished the hole.

Not only is it dangerous but extremely rude and lacks of common courtesy.

This is a big NO, NO! Always wait until the green is clear before playing your shot.

Looking after your playing partners is an important part of golf course etiquette

Hold the flag if your ball is closest to the pin

Even experienced golfers can lazy on this one.

When all players are on the green ready to putt, the golfer closest to the hole is responsible for holding the flag.

Ask the first player to putt if they want it left in or out and move away from behind the hole so as to not be in their line of sight.

Hitting out of turn

Never hit out of turn on the golf course. The player farthest from the hole should always play first.

It is safer and it speeds up play.

If for some reason you have to play out of order, talk to your partners to make sure all are in agreement.

Giving out golf tips is a bad way to perform golf course etiquette

Giving out golf tips

I find this one the most frustrating of all.

There’s nothing worse than a golfer (higher handicap than you) trying to give you tips after a poor shot.

Whilst you’re intentions might be good, never ever give out tips unless the player requests so.

Taking too long to hit your shot

Slow golfers on the course are the most frustrating of all. If there’s one part of golf course etiquette you need to get right it is this one.

Walk briskly in between shots and try not to take too long whilst standing over the ball ready to hit.

As they say “a fast game is a good game”.

Fill in divots with sand on the fairway

Every time you hit a shot on the fairway you will invariably take a big divot out of the ground.

Use a sand bucket provided and replace all divots you make.

Placing sand in the divot helps the grass grow back plus it also makes it easier for someone else to play a shot if they happen to land in that same divot.

What you need to do now

Practice and abide by these golf course etiquette tips.

You’ll enjoy the game more and your player partners will thank you for it.

Please let me hear your thoughts on golf course etiquette?

What’s your worst experience of poor etiquette on the golf course?


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