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green carry on bag

Is it bad etiquette to walk across a green carrying your clubs?

Pointless traffic on the putting surface, or a big fuss about nothing? Should you take a stroll on the green with your bag on your back?

 

Winter is coming. I know it doesn’t feel like it as we’re sweltering but it won’t be long before the trophy season is over and we take to shortened courses.

As the nights get darker, my carrying habits change. I wield a trolley all through the campaign but once the back tees disappear, I swap it out for a pencil bag.

This isn’t a criticism of those who do use trolleys all year round – particularly those that need to – but when the course gets wet I tend to think those who can should at least try and protect playing surfaces.

Even with the help of roped off areas, spinning a trio of wheels through soaking grass tends to make a muddy mess and at a time when it won’t heal for months.

Occasionally, though, I’ll find myself toting my carry bag across a green. Sometimes, this will raise an eyebrow among my playing partners. And, to be honest, it feels a bit weird to me too.

It’s not a regular habit. If I can walk round, I will. But if it’s going to keep play moving, and if the alternative is a sizable diversion, then I’ll take the guilty path and get where I need to go.

Titleist's tour success

Green carry on bag rules: Perfectly acceptable or golf etiquette fail?

Is this bad etiquette? Trolleys on the tee really seems to split opinion – particularly depending on which side of the border you’re on. I’ve been called onto the tee with my trolley at the Old Course but have seen enough social media rage in England to know it’s really discouraged here.

This isn’t the same, though, is it? My pencil bag, clubs, balls and all, probably weighs no more than about six pounds and I’m weighing in at just shy of 12 stone otherwise.

The extra weight going across the green is negligible. I suppose a case can be made for footprints – especially when the greens are borderline as to whether they should be on temporaries or not. Anything that saves a few extra steps might be helpful.

On the other hand, now that metal spikes have all but been eradicated from our golf clubs, and we often turn up in shoes where we can move straight from the car to the course, the potential for any damage seems even more reduced.

Would this make any difference at any other time of year? In the professional sphere, I’ve seen caddies hawking those massive tour bags across the most manicured of surfaces.

And isn’t one of the best things about carrying, rather than using a trolley or going round in a buggy, is that you can go anywhere you wish?

Or is it just one of those things that’s actually perfectly fine but just feels strange? And if a club does have a convention to avoid it, perhaps it’s just worth following it out of respect?  

That’s a lot of questions and so I will let you be the judge. Carry across a green, or steer well clear. You decide.

Green carry on bag rules. What do you think? Perfectly acceptable or etiquette faux pas? Is it OK to carry your bag across a green? Let me know with a comment on X, formerly known as twitter.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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