Golf Course Do’s and Don’ts

So, you’ve taken up golf as a hobby. Congratulations on that note. You may have done enough research to know all the important rules and regulations there are regarding the sport. If you haven’t already, we have a handy guide to the most common USGA rules.

After the rules, come the etiquette at a course. These are not ‘regulations’ per se. But these are definitely considered sensible approaches to make the stay at the golf course enjoyable for both you and other players.

In this post today, we’re going to look at the basic dos and don’ts for a golf course. Again, these are not punishable offenses or penalties. These are just to show that you’re a civil human being who knows their way around a course.

The Human Aspects of a Golf Course

In this section, we’re going to cover the things that have an impact on other players on the course. These are normal etiquettes on steroids.

Respect the Dress Code

There are no official dress codes for golf. However, many individual golf courses may have a dress code. It’s usually a collared shirt and slacks/shorts. With that being said, you should walk into a golf course that doesn’t have a dress code in inappropriate clothing.

By inappropriate, we mean clothes that will make other players uncomfortable. For example, if you’re a man and you walk into the course in a skirt, that’s inappropriate. We know it may have never crossed your mind once, it’s just something you should know.

The same goes for shoes. You shouldn’t go to a golf course in football boots. The spikes will damage the grass by simply walking on it! These are very minimal etiquettes that we all should comply with.

Be Conscious About Other Player’s Positions

According to the rule book, you’re required to yell ‘fore’ if your ball heads into another player’s direction. It’s not a very likely scenario to happen but it can happen if you’re absent minded. There have been records of players getting injured due to other players’ shots.

So, be thoughtful about each of your shots. Look at your surroundings before you strike the ball. If you think a player or a group may cross paths with your ball’s flight path, get their attention with ‘fore’.

Lastly, if the unexpected happens, be mindful and apologize. Walk up to the people or the group that has potentially been injured by you and say that you’re sorry. It’s one of those things that help you bond more with people and helps you become a better human being.

Don’t Bring Something Loud

Enjoying golf is all about enjoying the natural landscapes and having a purpose to hole the ball. Most golf courses around the world are very quiet and peaceful establishments. So, even if you’re a fan of music big time, maybe you shouldn’t bring a huge boombox or speaker to the course.

If you can’t help yourself from listening to music, use headphones. The slacks/shorts you’ll be wearing to the course have pockets, right? Just connect your headphones to your smartphone and listen to music as much as you want. The goal here is very similar to the previous one. Don’t make anyone uncomfortable.

Keep Your Phone Silent

When you’re at a golf course, your instinct should be to keep your phone switched of for the session. But that’s not always possible for everyone. You may need to attend important calls regarding your work. Or, you may simply want to keep it open to receive important messages. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Just make sure that you’re putting your phone into silent mode before you start playing. You are absolutely free to check on it between your shots. The reason you need to keep your phone silent is that there may be other players around you. And they might be trying to concentrate on a putt. Or, a tee shot. Whatever the case is, your job is to make sure that you’re not bothering fellow players in any way.

The same goes for speaking on the phone. If you have to pick up a call, walk away from players. You’ll get your privacy with whatever matter you need to talk about and you won’t be bothering other players at the same time.

Don’t Sort Your Bag While Others Are Playing

If you have experience with sorting your golf bag, you may know that golf clubs can make quite a loud noise if struck together. And sorting 14 clubs is not a silent task.

Think of a scenario to understand it better. Suppose you’re done with your round. Now, it’s time to pack everything up and head home. But if you start doing it on the green or right outside of the green, you’re technically not an obstruction to the next player.

However, the cluttering noise from sorting the bag is more than enough to distract anyone. Keeping little things like this in mind can go a long way when it comes to golf etiquette. Simply walk far away from the other player and now you won’t be disturbing anyone.

Don’t Take too Long to Set Up

We know that properly setting up is very important. The outcome of that particular hole can depend on how well you set it up. You should always be following the standard sequence for doing so to ensure that you cover all the aspects of your shot.

What you shouldn’t do is take too long to do any of this. We’ve all seen players who take ages to set up. It’s not like they’re doing it intentionally. They’re just nervous about their hole.

To avoid such situations, you should practice setting up at driving ranges. It’s quite an easy technique when you master it. Just don’t use the course as your practicing ground.

Don’t Step on Other Players’ Putting Lines

Putting is a stressful situation. You know that from your experience. Along with your skills, reading the green correctly can help tremendously with lining your shot properly. But how would you feel if someone walks all over your putting line after you just finished your reading?

Or worse, what if someone ruins your putting line with their inappropriate shoes? That would be really bad, right? So, don’t do it.

Minimize meaningless walking around on the green. Although the green is a quite big area, you develop a sense of putting a line over time. And it’s going to be identical for most players. So, consciously avoid those lines when you’re on the putting green.

Don’t Keep People on Hold

This is a very important point. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you won’t realize how dreadful it can be. You’re waiting and waiting while the player in front of you is looking for his ball. Minutes after minutes go by but he doesn’t declare a lost ball. Frustrating, right?

Well, don’t be that guy. If you’re acquainted with the rules, you should know that you get 3 minutes to find your ball. If it’s past 3 minutes, it’s time to call it lost and move on. It’s regulation as well as general etiquette.

Another similar scenario may occur at the putting green. You must have come across players who take scores right on the green after they’re done. It’s another very frustrating scenario for the players in line.

Once you hole the ball, you’re aware of what your score should be. So, why not move away from the green to let other waiting players take their turn?

Make Sure it’s Your Ball

This is a pretty common mistake to make if the course is particularly crowded on that day. You don’t want to hit another player’s ball, ever. It’s offensive and it shows the lack of awareness on your end.

So, every time you’re preparing for your next shot, make sure that you’re hitting your ball. There are various ball markers available on the market now. You can use them to put a personal identification mark on your ball to avoid any confusion.

Repair the Course When You Can

We don’t mean going out of your way to fix the problems with a course. What we mean is you can easily even out a divot or rake the bunker after your shot. It’s a very simple etiquette but can help you and other players at the same time.

If you’re wondering how repairing the course can help you, place yourself in the position of the player next in line with you. If you found a huge mess on the bunker where you get your ball stuck, you wouldn’t be too happy, right? Or, if your ball ends up in a divot after you had to take a relief, it would add to the frustration.

By performing simple repair jobs, you can take the frustration out of you and the next player in line. It’s a practice that benefits both parties.

Another thing to remember when you’re repairing the green is not to be in sight of the player. If you think you can fix a ball mark that’s out of the player’s viewing area go for it. If you’re not sure, it’s best not to engage.

Don’t Go Crazy with the Golf Cart!

Riding the cart on a sunny evening is certainly an amazing experience. And you should enjoy it by going slowly. Golf carts are designed to go slow so you should respect it. Don’t try obscene stunts or drive roughly even for the fun of it. It’s rude.

The Mental Aspects to Keep in Check

Golf is a mental sport as much as it is physical. You may be keeping other players happy by doing what we’ve discussed so far. But what about your mental health?

Up until this point, we’ve only covered the physical etiquette at a golf course. But what about the mental ones? In this section, we’re going to look at some of the mental things you can do to help yourself.

Think of the Positives

We’ll start with the thinking process.

When you’re at the tee, don’t get too hung up on the negatives of the shot. There might be trees on your right and water body on your left. If you worry too much about the obstacles, your subconscious mind will tense up your muscles. And when you tense up, chances are that you won’t hit your best shot.

So, get out of the vicious cycle of negative thoughts and think about the positives. Yes, there might be trees and water bodies all around you, but you still have an open area to hit your shot. And if you do it with confidence, you’ll get out of the position easily.

What you have to remember is that golf courses are mostly natural landscapes and the course curators try to preserve the natural elements as much as possible. So, it’s very unlikely that you’ll encounter ideal conditions at every golf course you visit.

Don’t Play When You’re Frustrated

Some frustrations are closely tied to your playing style rather than with your etiquette. And no one has control over those. It’s very normal when you don’t complete a hole as you wanted. Things may go south all the time. And the frustration generated from such scenarios is also very normal.

What you shouldn’t do at this point is continue playing. If you’re frustrated and you move on to the next hole, chances are that you won’t think rationally. You’ll hit the ball as hard as you can from the tee without assessing your surroundings. And that’s how you hurt your handicap.

If you ever find yourself in a frustrating situation, just take a deep breath and walk away. There’s no need to complete the round. However, the case is different if you’re at a tournament. You can’t just walk away from a tournament. But you should try to manage your anger and frustration as best as you can.

An extension of this point can be throwing a tantrum. Never throw your clubs around or yell in obscene language. It’ll put a bad impression on yourself for life. Learn to control your anger. You can always make for the points lost in the last round. But you can’t make up for the wrongs you do to other humans.

Wrapping Up

There are subtle things that you don’t realize unless you experience them. It’s particularly true when it comes to golf because there is just so much to cover. We’ve tried our best to incorporate the major do’s and don’ts at a golf course. The next time you hit your local course, keep these in mind.

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