The Top 10 Tips On Good Golf Etiquette – The (sometimes) Unwritten Rules of Golf

Top 10 Tips On Good Golf Etiquette infographic

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Golf is a game which, in a way, has two sets of rules. The first set is the rules of the game – penalties, where to play from, what to do if you lose a ball etc. – whereas the second set of rules are the etiquette behind the game – how you’re supposed to act on the course.

Etiquette is incredibly important in golf, and is something you will be remembered for. We’ve discussed how important etiquette is in business golf and how, no matter how good a salesperson you can be on the course, you can still break a deal by having bad etiquette.

To help people new to the game with etiquette we’ve put together this useful infographic on how to stay clear of some of these unwritten rules of golf:

  1. Put cigarette butts in a bag, then in the bin – if you’re smoking on the course, put the butts in a bag and then in a bin so they don’t create a smoke smell around the tees
  2. Don’t give unwanted advice – giving unwanted advice can, in some cases, really annoy the person you’re advising – even if it’s meant in a helpful manner. It’s best to hold back on advice unless you’re asked for it and not be a backseat golfer
  3. Pick up broken tees – breaking a tee when you’re hitting your drive is bound to happen at some point, so when it happens to you make sure you pick up the broken tee and put it in the bin (or at least move it off the tee area) so it’s not in anyone else’s way
  4. Make sure your phone is on silent – as bad as talking through someone’s shot is, having your phone go off is worse. The golf course isn’t a place for phone calls, so if you do need your phone when you’re playing, have it on silent so it doesn’t distract anyone
  5. Repair divots, repair pitch marks and rake the bunker – these seemingly small acts all come together to help keep the course in good condition for your fellow players. Repair divots by putting the grass back where it was, repair pitch marks by working the edges towards the centre (don’t raise the centre as this doesn’t make it any stronger) and rake bunkers so there are no footprints or club marks
  6. Don’t stand too close to the person hitting the ball – standing close to someone about to hit their ball can be incredibly off-putting, and can be avoided. Make sure you’ve left a good gap between you and anyone hitting their ball
  7. Don’t be late – being late is a cardinal sin, and should never happen. Always aim to get to the club/course early enough to warm up and be ready for your tee time
  8. Avoid slow play – slow play not only affects the people you’re playing with, but can hold up an entire course as people wait behind you. Although taking time to ensure you have a good shot is fine (and encouraged) you should get to your ball as quickly as possible
  9. Shout “fore” if your ball is in danger of hitting someone – if your shot goes a bit further than you predicted (or, dare we say, a bit wayward) and is heading in the direction of another group, make sure you let them know there’s a ball headed their way by shouting fore
  10. Respect the dress code of the course you’re playing at – much like slow play and being late, there is no excuse for not being dressed for the course. Wearing inappropriate clothing (some courses don’t permit the wearing of shorts for example) is embarrassing for both you and your playing partners, and could result in you not being allowed to play. Most, if not all, courses have websites with their dress code on, so make sure you check before you get there

This is an overview of some of the most widely-recognised parts of golf etiquette, and a more in-depth version can be found on the PGA website.

Remember; hitting good shots can make you good at golf, but having good etiquette can make you a good golfer. For the latest golf clubs, golf GPS watches and golf clothing think OnlineGolf - saving golfers' money since 1999!


What other etiquette do you wish golf players followed on the course?