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Golf Etiquette – It’s more than your swing

August 31, 2010
The "Island Green" 17th hole at the ...
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Labor Day is approaching quickly and as summer winds down you have to plan on getting the most out of it.  We recently traveled to Maryland to help some friends celebrate CB’s 50th birthday bash.  Dennis and the fellas set up two rounds of golf.  Golf, unlike other sports, has its own set of customs and expectations for fans and spectators.  These range from what you should wear to etiquette on the course.  Here are a few rules to stay in check while on the course.

  1. Be sure to sport the appropriate attire (pun intended) some courses require collared shirts.
  2. Keep It Safe
    • Do not swing your club until you know that others in your group are at a safe distance. Likewise, keep your distance when others are swinging. Be aware to steer clear of trouble.
    • Do not hit the ball until you are certain that the group ahead of you is out of range.
    • A golfer should avoid stepping within at least a one-foot radius of the hole.
    • Never throw clubs in anger. In addition to being rude and childish, it could also be dangerous.
  3. If your ball appears headed toward another player or another group, give them a warning by yelling out, “Fore!” (an internationally recognized alert)
  4. Observe the safety suggestions posted in golf carts and drive carefully. Golf etiquette requires keeping your cart off the grass as much as possible.
    • When two players in a cart hit to opposite sides of a hole, drive to the first ball and drop off that player with his club, then drive to the second ball. After both players hit, meet up farther down the hole.
  5. Golfers should note each player’s putting line, and avoid stepping on it as they play on the green or stand on a line of sight, that is, in the line of sight either ahead or behind a player who is attempting to putt.
  6. The player with the best score on the previous hole has the honor of teeing off first. If there is no outright winner of a hole, then the order of play does not change from the previous tee

Here are some additional tips to make note of:

  • Maintain a good pace: Keep the round moving by being prepared to hit your shot when it is your turn. You probably don’t like waiting on other groups – don’t make other groups wait on you.
  • The player who is furthest away hits first in a group. However, in friendly matches (as opposed to tournament play), this rule can be ignored in favor of “ready play” – players hit as they are ready. All players should agree to “ready play” before it is put into effect.
  • Do not spend too much time looking for a lost ball, particularly if there is a group behind you ready to play. If you insist on taking the full five minutes allotted in the rulebook to look for lost balls, golf etiquette says wave up the group behind to allow them to play through.
  • In the tee box, other players should stand alongside the person playing, out of the way and not behind the player getting ready to swing. Should the player about to play the ball ask his partners to move, the request should be honored.
  • Always try to keep pace with the group ahead of you. If space opens in front of you, allow a faster group behind you to play through.
  • Select your clubs before walking to your ball, take a couple clubs with you. Taking only one club and then having to retrieve a different club, is a huge time-waster.
  • Always leave the green the way you found it. Fix the divots.

The R&A rule book states that “[t]he overriding principle is that consideration should be shown to others on the course at all times.” However, Dennis says don’t take yourself too seriously play to have fun!  Do you have any pet peeve golf etiquette issues?  Let us know.

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