Golf has long been known as a gentleman’s sport. This sport even has its very own rules of etiquette. Despite the common assumption that these rules of golf etiquette are all about maintaining the gentlemanly state of the game for the most part, they each have practical purposes. The general reasons behind the rules of golf etiquette are 1) to insure the safety of golfers on the course 2) To keep the flow of the game going or 3) to assist in the maintenance of the golf course.
Let’s break these down for a few specific rules of golf etiquette:
1) Safety of Other Golfers:
a. Don’t swing your club until the area around you has been cleared of people. You do not want to risk hitting a fellow golfer.
b. Do not hit your ball until the group playing in front of you is completely outside your range.
c. If you find that your ball is heading in the direction of another player or group of players, be sure to yell “Fore!” to signal that they should be watchful of your incoming golf ball.
d. Never throw your golf clubs. Besides being unseemly, you could injure others in the process.
2) Flow of the Game:
a. You want to keep the game moving by being ready to take your shot when it’s your turn. By being ready at the ball you save time walking to and from and setting up your shot.
b. The ‘away’ player (the player whose ball is farthest from the green) always hits first. This saves time debating about whose turn it is and allows everyone to go ahead and get set up for his or her next shot.
c. If you are searching for a lost golf ball, wave ahead the next group.
d. Leave the green immediately after you’ve finished putting so the group behind you can continue their game.
3) Maintenance of the Golf Course:
a. You want to be certain to follow the golf cart path and stay off the greens with your cart as much as possible. Carts can cause damage to the course that will be costly to repair and make the game play for those behind you much more challenging.
b. Never drive a golf cart onto the green. The greens are probably the most delicate and often abused part of the golf course it is not designed to handle the weight or the abuse that golf carts can place on them.
c. Repair all divots and ball marks on the green. This is a no brainer, golf balls falling at high speeds are damaging to the delicate greens, you want to leave your greens in good shape for those behind you and hope those ahead of you did the same for you.
d. Always rake sand traps to erase footprints and ball marks.
While these rules aren’t all inclusive, they are general guidelines that will get you off to a good start on the golf course. Cheers!