On the Tee in Golf

On the Tee in Golf

A lot is written about slow play in golf so this article on the tee in golf will help you be more prepared when you are next playing! There will also be a few tips thrown in about etiquette and ways to speed up your round.

To keep this article simple for the senior golfer, seasoned golfer and also the newbie golfer who wants to take up this great game of golf but is also unsure on the basic rules, so hopefully this golf article will help you all.

On the first tee in golf – how to be ready for your tee off

White markers on the tee are for club competitions and also restricted member usage

Yellow markers are the ‘Tee of the Day’ and also known as visitor’s tees and also member’s tees when they are not playing in a club competition

Red markers are the ladies tees and in some cases on certain golf courses can also be used by juniors

On the Tee in Golf - Picture of fairway

Now that you have established what tee you will be playing off, if you are not sure then just check with the starter hut on the golf course before teeing off.

In the rules of golf, you are allowed to go back two club lengths from the tee markers you are playing off of, this then allows you to find the best part of the tee to tee your ball up with a good size square footage to find the flattest and best part of the tee.

Who’s honour is it on the tee – in other words, who tees off first in your group

Dependent on whether it is a competition or social round of golf, if it is a club competition then dependent on the starter sheet whoever’s name appears first on the starter sheet then they should get the ‘honour’ and tee off first.

If it is a social game of golf you can draw lots, but if not the best tried and tested method is the lowest handicapper golfer in the group should tee off first, sort of leading the way because they are the better golfer in the group.

The only last thing to consider from the first tee in golf, and any other hole throughout the round is to be aware of white stakes on either side of the fairway, these denote Out of Bounds or OB as the seasoned golfer will tell you.

If you think your tee shot has gone out of bounds from your tee shot then I would recommend playing a provisional golf ball just case you do not find your golf ball or in fact it has gone out of bounds, by doing this it will save you time by having to walk back to the tee to play another tee shot off of the tee, this alone keeps the first tee moving and on time.

On the fairway – who play’s next

The easiest way to explain this is that the player with the ball that is furthest from the green plays first, if two players feel they have equal distance to the green then a bit of common sense prevails to keep the game moving, so it’s a quick judgement and agreement and the first nominated player plays next.

If a player has landed in a fairway bunker and they know that they cannot make the green then they could be nearer to the hole, but because the player in the bunker more than likely cannot make the green it would not be out of favour to let them play their shot prior to players on the fairway who are waiting for the green to clear – a bit of common sense throughout your round will keep you group moving at all times.

On the Tee in Golf - Fairway

Another quick rule to be aware of is red and yellow stakes around the golf course, red being a lateral water hazard or water running along the side of the fairway or a yellow stake which denotes a water hazard, a yellow water hazard may be a seasonal stream or ditch which doesn’t necessarily have water in it because of the time of year etc.

When you do see yellow stakes with a yellow painted line defining the hazard you are NOT allowed to ground your golf club in the hazard, pretty similar to a sand bunker when you are also not allowed to ground your golf club.

If it a red stake which defines a lateral water hazard and your ball is lost in the water, then the normal penalty of a drop shot and nearest point of relief applies for the player to carry on with that hole.

When on the green or around the green – who plays next

It’s the same rule of thumb as on the fairway, the furthest from the hole plays first, this could be just off the putting surface or on the putting surface, the furthest ball away is always played first.

Tending the flag when putting – first of all I must point out that the flag does not need to be tended by another player if your golf ball is not on the putting surface, however you may if you choose to have the flagstick removed if that suits you if you are playing a shot off of the green.

When all players are on the putting green, same rule applies until all players have putted out from the furthest ball to the hole, if a player putts the golf ball up close to the hole they are entitled to if they wish to mark their ball and putt after – the flagstick must be tended at all times until all players wish to have the flagstick removed until they have all putted out.

A few tips on etiquette when on the putting green:

1. Do not walk across the ‘line’ of a putt of your playing partner, by doing this your body weight and foot marks can change the line of a putt drastically so do not walk over a playing partners putting line EVER.
2. When tending the flagstick do not stand behind the hole but hold the flagstick at arm’s length so your playing partner can clearly the hole, also avoid your shadow covering the hole or on the line of the putt to the hole
3. Lastly, when your playing partner/s are playing their putts/shots do not stand directly behind the flag stick, this can be very off-putting for all golfers. But at all times when anyone is putting please stay silent, its gives your playing partner/s a chance to concentrate and make the putt

Simple easy etiquette rules to observe so you and your playing partners also enjoy their round of golf.

Another way to speed up play is to know your own game, like knowing how far you can hit each golf club in your golf bag? There is nothing worse than seeing players waiting for the green to clear and then hitting it 20 yards short of the green – if by chance you hit a ‘once in a lifetime’ shot and actually make the green you can always shout ‘Fore’ to the players ahead, bearing in mind the ball will only roll onto the green so will and should not cause any harm to the players in front of you.

On the Tee in Golf - Golfers on fairway

Keeping up with the group in front of you is always the best way to enjoy your round of golf and it will speed up play for groups following you also, so many times I see groups falling 1 and 2 holes behind from the group in front of them, if that happens on the professional tour the player/s concerned are then fined for ‘slow play’ – if it applies to them it applies to YOU as well!

So many new golfers think all they have to do is keep ahead of the group behind them, this is not the case, you have to keep up with the group ahead, not behind you. In fact, the lowest handicap golfer in your is in charge of your group and it is up to them to keep the play moving, being a lower handicap golfer they should know this?

Identifying your golf ball – at all times!

All golfers should, in fact, mark their golf balls with a unique marking or their initials, this then eradicates any confusion that they are playing their own ball and not someone else’s! If you find a ball and it is not yours then leave it alone, it could be another golfer’s ball from another fairway, you want anyone to play your golf ball then do the same to them as well!

Searching for a lost ball – and knowing what to do!

When you find yourself looking for a playing partners golf ball always be aware that there will be golfers coming up behind you, you are entitled to look for a lost golf ball for 5 minutes before you have to deem it lost, this is an ideal time to let a group through you by letting them play through your group, this is a sign of respect and also that you know the rules when you are faced with this scenario.

When you have played out a hole and are now heading for the next tee

When you have finished a hole you DO NOT:
1. Proceed to mark your scorecard on the green you have just played
2. Add up shots and count back on the hole while standing on the green
3. Have a chat with your golf buddy on the green once you have finished the hole
4. Practice putts of any nature after the hole has been completed

When you have finished a hole you DO:
1. Proceed to the next tee as quickly as possible
2. Mark your scores down from the previous hole
3. Have your golf ball and tee in your hand ready to tee off on the next hole
4. Have your golf bag or trolley in a position that it is ready to move from the tee box once you have teed off

On the Tee in Golf - golfers on green

These simple but effective measures will help you speed up your round of golf and also let players behind you experience a good round also, no golfers like the slow play or slow golf players so always be aware of what’s happening in front of you and also behind you.

A round of golf should take no more than 3.5 hours, so if you are having plus four hour rounds then the golf course is either overbooked or you are lagging behind the groups in front of you, as always the lowest handicap golfer or the best golfer in your group is the person in charge of the speed of play.

I wrote another article on the Etiquette in golf which you might also find enjoyable : CLICK HERE.

I hope that you have enjoyed this article about on the tee in golf and as always if you have any comments or feedback on the article please do not hesitate to leave me a comment or message below, I will gladly respond to you as soon as possible.

Keep hitting the fairways and keep hitting that golf ball straight!


4 Responses

  1. Bogeys to Birdies says:

    Hi Paul, thanks for your comments about On the Tee in Golf, yes all rules are applicable the same in the US as the UK, the R & A and the US PGA get together regularly to make sure the rules are international and applicable globally so we are singing off of the same hymn sheet! Etiquette is a global thing too as is the beer cooler! Keep in touch. Regards, Michael

  2. Paul says:

    Great information, I assume the same etiquette and rules apply in the US as in the UK? I was guilty of a few of these early on in my golfing but learned the hard way the correct way of doing things. The best etiquette I can offer is to always keep the beer cooler full 🙂

  3. Bogeys to Birdies says:

    Hi Enzo,

    Thank you for your comments about my article On the Tee in Golf, it is always a tough question about where you should go for beginners, but I would always recommend a good PGA Pro who is going to help you from the offset with the basics such as a correct golf grip, stance and alignment, from there you can build on it and get better at the game of golf.

    Hope this helps. Regards, Michael

  4. Enzo says:

    Great informative post! I know the basics of golf but this did help me understand it a lot better.

    Especially the part when you finish your hole. I probably do everything you pointed out on the list, rookie mistake.

    Playing real golf is on my bucket list but I have no idea where I should go for beginners. Do you have any recommendations?



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