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An Overview Of Proper Golf Etiquette

Updated on February 14, 2015
An Overview of Golf Etiquette
An Overview of Golf Etiquette

Be Ready And Have Fun

Golf is an old and traditional gentlemen’s game. As such, there are two different sets of rules of golf. There are the rules of the game itself and the rules that govern proper golf etiquette. The Golf etiquette rules are there to keep the game of golf safe and enjoyable for all of those involved. The etiquette rules are also designed to make the game efficient and keep the players moving around the course.  The most important rule of golf is, of course, to have fun and do what you can to make sure the players around you have fun as well.

Be Ready To Play
Be Ready To Play

Before You Get To The Course

The Rules of Golf Etiquette begin before you even reach the course. First, it is important to set a tee time. Most golf courses require that golfers make a reserved tee time. Generally, most courses prefer that groups of four be reserved as four players are the maximum amount of golfers that can tee off at any given time. If you golf alone, most courses will still take reservations and pair you off with another group with less than three players. Many courses will take singles but you may have to wait for a while. No matter what time you play, you should show up early to make sure you are ready when it is time to tee off.

What you wear is also part of golf etiquette. Some golf courses have strict clothing policies which usually require that slacks and a colored shirt be worn with golf shoes. Many courses don’t have strict rules on clothes but it is a good idea to call ahead and check to see if there are dress codes.

After the first tee, generally the player furthest away from the hole hits first. Then the player with the lowest score on the last hole tees up first on the next hole. However, to speed up play, many courses encourage that players play ready golf. This means that players who are ready to strike the ball go first regardless of who had the lowest score. Just be sure that all players in the group agree to this otherwise many feel slighted.

Set A Tee Time And Be Ready To Play
Set A Tee Time And Be Ready To Play

Teeing Off

Once your tee time arrives players should be ready to play golf. The player should have with them the appropriate amount of tees, golf balls and putt markers. Also make sure that your golf balls are properly marked to identify as yours along the course. The Golfer should slected the correct tee for their skill level. There are different tee lenghts for different skill levels. Then the golfer can tee off. Please note, mulligans are not automatic and a golfer should get permission from the other players of the game but should be used sparingly.

Golf is a game that demands concentration. It is important to remain silent while other players are striking the ball. Golfers should also not run during play or make loud notices on the course except for warning other golfers of wayward shots. Players should also stay out of the line of sight of the player striking the ball. This means standing to the side of the player and not in front or behind the player.

Avoid Slow Play
Avoid Slow Play

Speed Of Play

One of the most egregious violations of golf etiquette is slow play. Slow play occurs when players are playing their away around the course that it holds up other golfers. Slow play also occurs when players take too many practice swings or take a long time to address and strike the ball . Slow play also occurs when when players take mulligans or hit too many wayward shots. If a beginner is having a tough time making it around the course, allow the players behind go ahead. That way they get their round in and the new player feels less stress.

While slow play can ruin a round of golf, it is also important not to play too fast as well. When striking the ball make sure the players ahead of you on the course are out of harms way on the fairway and on the green. If the players in front of you are constantly slowing you up, simply ask them if you can play through.

Every Player Has A Duty To Keep The Course Beautiful
Every Player Has A Duty To Keep The Course Beautiful

Golf Etiquette Video

Repairing the course.

Many golf courses are located on some of the most beautiful real estate in the country.  A Golf course should be a beautiful place and every player has a duty to do what they can to keep the course in good condition.

This means not purposely harming the course by throwing clubs into the grounds or hitting the ground with practice shots.  Of course, even the best players in the world leave divots.  But every player should also repair the divots they make.  Many courses supply a bucket of sand to fill divots made on the course.  There are also divot tools available and every golfer should carry one in their bag. 


It is also part of the game that hitting the ball on the green will leaves marks and sometimes even divots.  When a golfer arrives at the green, he or she should make a point to find the marks made and repair them.  Using a turf tool insert the tool into the ground on the high side of the green mark.  Then press the tool forward to push the soil back into place.  The player can use their putter to lightly press the soil down and leave the soil even. 


By Remembering The Rules Everyone Can Enjoy The Beauty Of Golf
By Remembering The Rules Everyone Can Enjoy The Beauty Of Golf

Be Ready And Have Fun

 While there appears to be many rules and regulations in regards to golf etiquette, they are all designed to ensure that a round of golf is enjoyable for everyone on the course.  The basic rule of golf is to be responsible for yourself and appreciate that there are other players on the course.  But the main rule is to have fun enjoying the outdoors and enjoying a good round of golf.


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    • bgpappa profile image

      bgpappa 2 months ago from Sacramento, California

      Well said. Thank you for reading

    • Mike Oakville profile image

      Mike Oakville 3 months ago from East Sussex

      Yes! I agree the most important thing in golf is to remember it is a leisure passtime for most of us, and it is all about having fun. Just remember commen curtesy to others on the course.

    • bgpappa profile image

      bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Fore!!! Golf is a great game and you good way for you and him to spend time together. Don't allow too many Mulligans!!!

      Thanks for the comment

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 6 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Here I thought my husband made up that term 'Mulligan', I guess I have to now go apologize. Smiles. Thanks for the tips. I am a new golfer and all that you say has great merit to a new person. There is a lot to know, but once you do relax and have fun...right!! FORE!!!

    • profile image

      Hpy Daz 8 years ago

      It would be nice if players would play from the tees that match their skill instead of their age. Duffers teeing off from the white tee instead of the senior (forward tees) slows the game excessively. They are taking casual golf to a new level of exasperation.

    • bgpappa profile image

      bgpappa 8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I wouldn't do that MM. I want to teach my wife to golf at least as bad as I do. Be a nice thing to do together.

      More coming?

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Whew! I almost expected one of the "rules" of etiquette to say that since golf is a "gentlemen's" game women have no place on the course (unless they are driving the beer cart!).

      Very good hub. Is there more coming? MM