The only 5 rules of golf etiquette beginners need to be mindful of

Adult man taking a selfie at golf course

Selfies are fine so long as you're not holding up play.

getty images

We golfers are a well-intentioned lot, keen to share our hard-earned wisdom with newbies to the game.

Problem is, our wealth of knowledge can be overwhelming. 

Head down! Loose grip! Left arm straight! How many swing tips can one aspiring player take?

And that’s just instruction. There’s also etiquette, with its dizzying array of do’s and don’ts. Good luck trying to list them all. You’ll exhaust yourself and inundate your partner.

Better to stick to the fundamentals, basic guidelines for getting started. There aren’t many. 

In the spirit of simplification, here are the only 5 etiquette rules that every beginner needs to know.

1. No one cares how you play

There are two things we all must do alone: die and putt. And while some folks might care about how you do the former, no one gives a whit about how you perform the latter. This might sound cold-hearted. In fact, it should be freeing. No need for apologies, excuses, explanations. Because, really, no one’s paying attention to your putting, or anything else about your game. Provided that you’re keeping up the pace.

2. Keep up the pace

Yeah, about that. Although people don’t care how well you putt, they do care how long you take to complete your stroke. So, don’t make an agonizing ritual of it. Same goes for every shot on the course. Be ready to hit when it’s your turn, then step up and fire away. Oh, and if you must take a quick call, reply to an email or snap a selfie, do so on your own time, so as not to delay your playing partners.

3. Stay out of the way

How you swing the club is less important than how you move around the course. The more familiar you get with the rhythms of a round, the more you realize that you’ve got some latitude when you’re not on the tee. In some cases, for instance, it’s okay to walk or ride ahead of your partners while they’re hitting in the fairway, so long as you’re not in their line of play (in fact, it’s often the right thing to do to keep things moving).

On the tee, though, you always want stand to the side or behind (though not directly behind, which many people find distracting) your partner. Don’t move, talk, whistle or jangle change while they’re hitting. And try not to sneeze. Similar rules apply on and around the green. While it’s fair game to stand still in someone’s peripheral vision, directly behind them is a no-go, as is standing in their sightline when they’re putting, chipping or blasting from a bunker. In that last case, you not only risk being a distraction. You’re also put yourself at physical risk. 

4. Leave no trace

Pretend that you’re camping in a National Park. When you depart, no one should know that you were there. That’s another way of saying: rake bunkers, fill divots and repair ball marks. No doing donuts in the fairway, either.

5. Mind your temper

Sulking. Whining. Screaming. Flinging clubs. You’re not good enough to engage in such behaviors, which you should plan on avoiding, no matter how well you learn to play the game.

Exit mobile version