Etiquette in Golf

Etiquette in Golf

Over the years of playing golf it amazes me that so many golfers out there still struggle with etiquette in golf, I have highlighted a few points in this article to help you on your way!

Not being called through when group ahead is slow

For all of you golfers who don’t really understand this one, its quite simple, if you are slow and there is a log jam behind you call the groups through, you might be having a ball taking 15 shots per hole but the golfers behind you are having a mare of a round because of YOU. To recap how it works in terms of group sizes out on the golf course – this basically means that the pro shop has sent out groups of either a one ball single player through to a four ball which is four players. Basically, a person playing on their own means that a) That they are either just out practising or b) have no mates, so one ball has no standing on any golf course so if you don’t want to let them through then don’t feel obligated to do so. However, a two ball has the most right of way on a golf Etiquette in Golf - Player on Fairwaycourse, they could be in a singles club match so a two ball is deemed to have the highest priority on a golf course, so keep an eye out behind you and show some etiquette and let them through, you will feel less pressured and they will appreciate your gesture. As far as a three ball or four ball goes, in theory they should be as slow as you are so this goes down to you as a player making a judgement call on waving them through – if in doubt, the best signs are that if the players behind you are making gestures about speeding up I would recommend letting them through, you can normally tell by these gestures because steam is normally coming out of the ears at the same time!!

Golfers playing the wrong ball

You are playing in the club championships, you are on the 18th hole, you have hit the perfect tee shot down the middle of the fairway and when you get to where your ball should be it has now changed to a completely different brand, different number on it, markings are not like yours etc etc – I think you are getting the picture – you then have to track down the players who are playing on the next fairway to find out who played your ball so they can replace in its original spot, because you cannot just play their ball which they have abandoned for your lovely looking new ball, no never that simple is it!! If you don’t get your ball back you face putting in an NSR ( No Score returned ) and you were only a couple over par on the last hole of the championships. This is to the extreme but I need to make the point, if you cannot correctly identify a ball as your own then don’t play it, don’t pick it up and think I have just acquired a nice new ball – it’s not yours so leave it for the correct owner!

Being attired correctly

Now this is not a tough one to get your head around, wear a golf shirt with a collar that has got enough length to be able to tuck it into your trousers or shorts – simple has it seems but I can be on a golf course and see other golfers looking like they should be on a beach, if you want to wear board shorts and sleeve less shirts then get down to Spain and frolic on the beach, not on a golf course. This means shirts with collars, tailored trousers or shorts, correct socks if wearing shorts and proper golf shoes – simple yeah? No it’s never that simple, I see golfers regularly wearing U2 or Rolling Stones T-shirts, board shorts as in surfers attire, socks that were last worn when they were 10 years old and good old trainers/running shoes – A BIG FAIL CHAPS – if you need a clue on how to dress on a golf course just look at every professional golf tournament on the TV, the professionals set the standards and if it’s good enough for them then its good enough for the rest of us. I regularly read golfers reviews on their visits to other golf clubs and always read – I could not believe the members at that golf course they were really pompous because I was asked to tuck my shirt in by one of them – please refer back to paragraph about ‘frolic on a beach in Spain and not on a golf course’ for those who still don’t get the message!

Players walking over your putting line on the green

This generally doesn’t apply to actual members of a golf club because they have been pulled up over doing so in the past and tend not to do it club competitions. However, we have all been to other courses or playing in corporate days, you know the corporate days when the players only play once in a full moon and just don’t seem to get the fact that ‘your putting line’ is like the Holy Grail and is not to be trifled with – it’s a simple one to grasp, if your partners ball is 12 feet from the pin and the line between their ball and the hole is like the Demilitarised Zone, you do not enter that zone or line until after they have played their shot, if you do prepare yourself for some abuse, you may be offended but you have just broken a major golden rule of golf so be warned! Etiquette in Golf - Golfers on green

Players who cannot seem to be able to add up correctly

I have saved this one till last because it’s one of those unspoken things in golf that another player or member is a cheat because he told me he had a five on a par four and I actually added it up and it was definitely a seven! I would like to add for the record books that ‘cheats never prosper’ and that is so true in golf, what that means is that when the club competition sheets are displayed on the club notice board for entries, it’s the same players who never seem to have any takers who want to play with them in the club competitions or in fact anytime. So to all those golfers who have actually signed for a wrong score or entered a wrong score ‘you are only cheating yourself’ – it is so much more rewarding to win a competition on your own merit than having to cheat to win one – I rest my case!

Enjoy this beautiful game and take the ups and the downs, even the pro’s can’t win week in week out , it’s a proven fact that professional golfers win 80% of their winnings from 20% of the tournaments they have entered and they are the best in the world, so when week in week out the same old players post the same ridiculous scores under par for their handicap they are either on a good run or you smell a rat!

This is the bane of most golfers, golfers have come out for a nice relaxing round of golf and get held up by the group ahead who think they are playing for the US Masters – the culprits and they know who they are – seem to take double figures to get to the green and then proceed to plumb line a putt, stalk a putt, attempt to read a putt and then proceed to four-putt a putt – AAAARRRRGGGHHH – either stay off the course or have a lesson to at least have the capability to get around the golf course, we have some very high handicappers at my golf club and they seem to know when they have had over their quota they will pick up, unless it’s a medal round but then that’s only once a month so you have to allow for that one I am afraid. Where this is pretty common is public pay and play courses, they let any level of a golfer on regardless because its all about revenue and turning over the cash! Perhaps golf courses should adopt something similar to skiing, stay on the nursery slopes until you have the skill or capability to manage your way around a golf course?


How many times have you been standing over a shot or a putt and some moron has to bellow at the top of their lungs about something – this might sound like fun to the morons who are having a song and dance on the adjacent fairway, but come on and learn some etiquette before you venture out on the golf course?

So when it comes down to letting other players play their shots have a bit of courtesy and stand still, shut up, no moving around in their line of sight, get off that mobile phone ( if you need to be on the mobile on a golf course you shouldn’t be on it you should be in the office ) and let your fellow players play their shots, it’s only fair isn’t it!

Bunkers not being raked

How many times have you hit that perfect tee shot straight down the middle of the fairway, it has taken a really bad kick and ends up in a fairway or greenside bunker? That’s all fine you can deal with those unlucky breaks playing golf, but then you get to the bunker and some thoughtless golfer in front of you has decided to not rake the bunker after themselves, it looks like an elephant has been walking about in the sand and your ball is conveniently located at the bottom of an elephant’s footprint, brilliant – so going from seeing your great looking tee shot fly through the air, get a really bad kick and there you are staring down the barrel of a double bogey because someone else thinks they are the only players on the course – learn the rules of golf and learn the etiquette around the game and please please rake the bunkers after you have chopped and spluttered your way out of it, you might be on your way to a score in the high one hundreds but players behind you might be having the round of their lives and you have just inflicted your bad score on them too. Etiquette in Golf - Sand Bunker

Players who don’t repair their pitch marks on the green

It is a proven fact that a pitch mark repaired immediately will return to its natural state within 24 hours of the mark being repaired, ones that are left without being repaired can take weeks to restore the grass back to its original state – so if you want your golf course looking great and the greens rolling true then repair those marks – these are the players that get back to the 19th hole for a well-earned beer and curse the greens because they are not looking great or rolling true, don’t blame the green staff for that problem, it’s the inconsiderate golfers who don’t do the correct housekeeping on the greens. When you are lucky enough to play a members only course, just watch all the members do the right thing and not only repair their own pitch mark but also look around the green for others to repair – this doesn’t slow the game down, all of this can be done while other golfers are preparing themselves or lining up putts – so next time you are on the putting green have a scan around and repair some pitch marks then all golfers can enjoy great greens throughout the year!

Players who don’t repair their divots

This is another pet hate of mine, it’s a bit like repairing a pitch mark, it doesn’t take a lot of time to replace that divot you have just dug up, go and find it and place it back down on the turf you have just extracted it from – not a tough one really or is that too much to ask for? A number of times I have seen golfers take serious amounts of real estate with their shot, completely duff the shot, then proceed to take more lumps of turf going over what they did wrong in the first place! If you want to dig up lovely manicured fairways then I would suggest going home and doing the same to your own lawn and see how you like it.

To make matters worse it’s always my luck that my ball comes to rest in one of your craters, repair and replace your divots guys it isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

If you liked this article you might also like this recent article on golf balls – CLICK HERE.

As always if you have any comments or feedback regarding this article etiquette in golf please do not hesitate to leave a comment below, I will be glad to respond to any responses received.

Happy Golfing.

Michael Baker, Bogeys to Birdies

2 Responses

  1. I have swamped it out there on social media and the culprits must know its them, but time will tell especially when the top tour pros take nearly 6 hours a round no wonder Joe Blow thinks 4.5 hours is OK

  2. Richard Simkin says:

    Most golfers can’t pronounce the word let alone spell it or understand The meaning of it – you should be putting this article out on the main stream media for those golfers to get the message?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *