Low-handicaps reveal the most annoying etiquette mistakes golfers make


Golf is a complicated game just to play, and often gets even more confusing when you delve into all the unwritten rules of good etiquette. Enter GOLF’s resident low-handicaps, who are here to offer some helpful advice, golfer-to-golfer, about some of the most annoying things they encounter on the course, and how to avoid them.

1. Not letting others play through

Dylan Dethier (+3.3 handicap): Not letting faster players through. Far too many slow groups see fast players behind them and make all three mistakes: 1. Panic and rush 2. Stress out 3. Get resentful. All three of these would be instantly alleviated by just letting that faster group through. That’s not embarrassing — it’s praiseworthy.

2. Stepping in my line

Luke Kerr-Dineen (1.8 handicap): When somebody steps in my line, I’m instantly rattled. To me, it’s the epitome of rudeness on the golf course. It’s not just that you’re hurting your playing partner by making their next putt more difficult, it’s that you’re also disregarding them — you’re so self-consumed you’re not even bothering to look at where your playing partners in your immediate vicinity, so you step right in their way. Like cutting off somebody in traffic and causing an accident. The worst. Don’t step in my line, lest you want to receive a frosty look.

3. Not being ready to hit

Josh Sens (2.5 handicap): No shortage of annoying behavior on golf courses. But one serious bummer is when two people are playing in a cart, and one player sits and watches while the other plays while making no effort to get ready to play. Finally, after their partner hits, the long pre-shot routine begins. That should have been happening five minutes ago.

4. Delayed pre-shot routine

Ashley Mayo (3.1 handicap): I get annoyed when people start their pre-shot routines only after every golfer is done hitting their shots. The right thing to do, in my opinion, is to start thinking about your next shot well before it’s your turn to go (as you’re walking up to your ball, as someone else is putting, etc). This way, you’re ready to hit as soon as you’re given the green light. Over the course of a round, shaving 30 seconds here and 30 seconds there really adds up, and playing faster is always more fun.

5. Not picking up their ball

Zephyr Melton (6.7 handicap): It’s always annoying when a player who is struggling doesn’t know when to pick up and move on to the next hole. Have some humility and wave the white flag when need be. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is, if you can keep a good pace, you won’t be a nuisance to the group.

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.