Most people, sport lovers or otherwise, can see the perks of taking to the golf course be it for the golf or simply getting outside. If though you’re an inexperienced player then there are a few key etiquette rules you should follow for a good first impression. Here we look at the must-knows of gold etiquette.
So, how do you fit in on the golf course?
Be on time
When you’ve got a tee time, make sure you can stick to it. That doesn’t mean getting to the course just as you’re due to tee off either. Always aim to get to the course 15-20 minutes early.
This allows you time to get your clubs sorted, signed in and buy you five to 10 minutes of warm up time. If you follow the rule of ‘on time, is late’ then you should arrive at the start of the first hole loosened up, understanding the conditions and speed of the course and having got your ‘shanks’ (or at least a couple of them) out of way already.
Know when to talk
We call this section ‘know when to talk’ but, really, we mean know when to stay silent. Everyone loves a pat on the back for a good shot, but players should wait until the ball has settled. Even if someone has a baseball grip to rival who tops the MLB odds, whether it’s the rising Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, or any other legend in the making, they don’t need your compliments on their shots before they find their resting spot.
Furthermore, comments on wayward shots are even more infuriating. If it’s a bad hit – shush. If it looks good, don’t pre-empt and never, ever chatter when someone is about to take their shot. More experienced golfers will respect you for this verbal control!
On the green, get out the way
They say it’s not how you start but how you finish that matters most. With that in mind, where you choose to stand on the green is super important. It can be a defining factor in whether or not the group invite you back for another round in future.
Think about it, another player is lining up their shot and trying to get a lay of the green. The last thing they need is you standing directly in their line of sight or wandering around causing them to become distracted. You need to be careful of your shadow too, which can impact how someone lines up their putt even if you are stood behind them on the green!
Finally, it’s important to remember that not every put will end up going in or falling short. Remember that standing the other side of the hole can cause your fellow players issues if they put too much on a putt, which is something even the best putters of all time do from time to time…
Dress to impress
Yes, yes, from the outside the golfers attire can look a tad on the pretentious side when you’re just playing as an amateur. It’s a really important rule for most clubs though and you’ll be embarrassing your group of you fall foul of their guidelines.
Although there is a bit more flexibility where golf clothes are concerned nowadays compared to years gone by, it’s still amongst the strictest sports out there. You cannot just rock up in a pair of trackies and hoody and start slinging shots around. Always check the club website in advance and be sure to dress within the stipulated rules.
In reality, this will probably see you donning a polo shirt and trousers – barely ever jeans – whilst you might see clubs insist your tee is tucked in too. The addition of a cap and sunglasses will be up to you!
The cart rules
If your knowledge of golfing comes from televisions and movies then there is a strong chance that you can’t wait for the reckless golf buggy rally cross. Sorry folks, that isn’t how it works and not will you be thanked for jokingly riding off in that manner either.
It is common practice for course operators to ask for their players to stick to ‘the path’ or the ‘cart path’. This is regularly the case when playing in poor weather conditions and/or in wetter seasons. Failure to stick to this rule not only sees you look foolish ala Happy Gilmore but you’ll run the risk of wrecking the course for other players too and nobody wants that.
Leave your mobile in the car
Last but not least in our rundown of the golf course etiquette is our request that you leave your phone behind. The temptation to Instagram live your round of gold might be high in the modern world but don’t. Just don’t.
You’re on the course with a group, who likely want you present, whilst the groups behind you won’t be fans of you plodding around owing to slow play. Play golf, you can update your socials afterwards – hopefully with news of a solid score!