Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have my grandfather teach me the fundamentals of the game. From a young age, he would take every round played together as an opportunity to ingrain the basics of proper ball positioning, grip, alignment, and stance into my practice. While all these things are important in developing a decent golf game, he always stressed one thing above all else: etiquette.
For those unfamiliar, there’s an endless list of both written and unwritten “rules” you should be following when playing the game. While some of these rules are antiquated and should be left in the past, the majority are still relevant and make the game more fun when followed.
With the game facing a newfound resurgence in popularity, I feel a personal responsibility to help share some of the lessons I was taught growing up with you all. For those of you familiar with the game, I’m sure you’ll find many of my points as common sense however as I age, I find common sense isn’t necessarily common anymore.
Always arrive early to ensure you give yourself time to warm up and are ready to tee off at your appointed time. Punctuality matters. Not just in golf but in all aspects of life.
There is a right and wrong way of taking divots on the range. Make sure you’re taking divots in the shape of long lines. This is easier for the course to maintain and enables other range-goers to have grass to hit from after you leave.
When warming up on the putting green, you shouldn’t need more than three balls. Have awareness and don’t putt in the way of others.
Always introduce yourself to the people you’re playing with (if not already familiar). I’m not great at remembering names and find it beneficial to write their names down on my scorecard after I introduce myself.
On the Course
Remain on the teeing area until everyone in your group has played their ball.
Show other players the same consideration you’d expect when preparing for a shot. This includes keeping quiet in their backswing, ensuring your cell phone is on silent and standing out of their line of sight.
Congrats if you hit the green in regulation, now go repair your pitch mark.
At all costs, keep up with the pace of pay. If you’re new to the game, it’s understandable that you’re not going to be a single digit handicap anytime soon. However, if you’re playing bad, play bad fast.
Always keep an extra ball in your pocket in case you need to take a drop. This helps with the previous point in keeping up with the pace of play.
When in doubt, yell “FORE”. It’s your responsibility to know where other golfers are on the course. If your ball is heading towards another group, make sure to yell “FORE” loudly.
Avoid walking on another player’s line when on the green.
Shake hands with your partners after the round concludes.
Wager enough so that losing stings, competition is healthy. I caveat this by saying you should never gamble with money you don’t have or can’t comfortably afford to lose.
Never welch on a bet or get over-competitive. These are easy ways to lose playing partners and friends.
Avoid tallying up scores or exchanging money on the greens, this slows play.
Always keep cash on you for when you have to pay up. Sure Venmo/Zelle accomplish the same thing, but cash is king on the course.
Golf etiquette is something that takes time to learn and understand. I’m thankful my grandfather took the time to instill these lessons into my game from a young age. I hope by sharing these, I’m able to spread this knowledge with others just as my grandfather shared with me. Regardless of how your game is, always be respectful, follow the rules and have good etiquette. If you do these things, you’ll be the player everyone wants to play with and always invites back. Please feel free to expand upon any of these points or add any I’ve missed in the comments.