11 Rules of Golf Etiquette

For the beginner golfer heading to the course, there are some essential rules to follow related to golf etiquette.

The last thing a new golfer wants is to do something that makes them look completely lost or to ruin another person’s experience.  So we are here to help.

Golf doesn’t have to be stuffy, but there are some basics we can help you to ensure everyone has a fun and enjoyable time. 

11 Rules of Golf Etiquette

  1. Keep up your pace of play
  2. Replace your divots and repair your ball marks
  3. Don’t talk when others are hitting
  4. Don’t spend a significant time on your cell phone
  5. Arrive in plenty of time for your tee time
  6. Look the part
  7. Be complimentary
  8. Don’t complain about your own game or swing
  9. Don’t throw clubs
  10. Stay out of the sight of the person hitting
  11. Have fun!
Green grass, beautiful sky and being outdoors! Life is good! Enjoy your round of golf and check out our 11 rules to help you fit in!

Rule #1: Keep up your pace of play

If you are the new golfer in the group, make sure you aren’t the slowest player in the group.  Even if you struggle to break 100, keep up your pace of play and be ready to hit when it is your turn.  If you are completely out of the hole and your score is double par, consider picking up the ball and let the others finish the hole.  The normal pace of play for an 18 hole round of golf is 4 hours.  Keep moving, look to play ready golf and don’t be the slowest player.

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Rule #2: Replace your divots and repair your ball marks

The golden rule is to leave the course in better condition than how you found it.  This means replacing your divot.  When you arrive at the green, fix a ball mark and one other.  Improve the course and keep it nice for everyone that will play that day or in the future.  We all have some responsibility to do our part!

Rule #3: Don’t talk when others are hitting

When someone is within 5-10 seconds of hitting their shot and has approached the ball, the rest of the group should remain silent.  The conversation can carry on once the ball is in the air and the golf has hit the shot.  Other golfers in your group will respect this same silence when it is your turn to hit.

Rule #4: Don’t spend a significant time on your cell phone

If you are invited to play at a country club, you can ask the host if there are strict rules on a cell phone.  Sometimes when groups of business people are golfing together, a quick phone call at certain points can be acceptable.  However, if you are on your phone every hole, this is a problem.  Checking the internet or your email briefly at key times can be fine, but don’t make it a major habit after every shot. Read the rest of your game and see what they are doing.

Rule #5:  Arrive in plenty of time for your tee time

Don’t be the person running up to the first tee right at your tee time.  At least arrive 15 minutes ahead of your tee time to pay your green fees and get situated and set up for your round.  Golf balls, golf tees, etc.  Ideally, the golfers will arrive 30-60 minutes early to possibly even warm up.  We are aware that life is busy and this might not always be possible.

Rule #6: Look the part

While you don’t need to go out and buy a completely new outfit, at least look the part of a golfer.  This means a nice pair of pants (no jeans) and a collared shirt.  Golf shoes, while not required, do help out in many ways.  They can keep your feet dry and comfortable and improve your overall performance!

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Rule #7: Be complimentary

Make sure you tell others “nice shot” or “great putt.”  Regardless of how you are playing, be a quality playing partner by watching and being aware of how others are playing and helping them find their golf ball when hit in a difficult to locate position.  

Rule #8: Don’t complain about your own game or swing

There is nothing worse than the golfer who is constantly complaining about their score, swing or announcing to everyone “I usually play better than this.”  The bottom line is that most people don’t care what you score as long as you keep pace and are a quality playing partner.  Most golfers don’t care about your latest golf lesson or that you haven’t played in a month.  Be ready to hit, hit the best shot you can and be complimentary if someone else is hitting quality shots.

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Rule #9: Don’t throw clubs

Never throw a golf club.  It doesn’t matter how bad you are playing or how angry you might be.  Respect the game, understand that you are going to hit some bad shots in your golf journey and compliment other quality shots!

Rule #10: Stay out of the sight of the person hitting

Make sure you are far enough away from the person hitting and that they cannot see you out of their peripheral vision.  If you are struggling with this, take note of where others int eh group are standing and stand further away than they are.

Rule #11: Have Fun!

Enjoy the game and the outdoors.  The game is supposed to be fun.  Hit some quality shots, take joy in the opportunity you have to challenge your skill, spend time with others and to be outside!

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Final Thoughts

Golf is once known as a stuffy sport with a lot of rules.  Some of these unwritten rules have been challenged over the years.  Recently, some touring professionals have started to wear the stylish hooded sweatshirt.  There are some country clubs that allow music to be played through a small speaker in a golf cart.  Other places have relaxed their dress code.  Hopefully, these little changes can make the game more attractive to others and keep the game growing.

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