Golf Etiquette

Whenever anyone uses the golf course, they are expected to be familiar with the unwritten rules of golf. This also includes folks who do not golf, such as joggers, walkers and berry pickers. This is the most important safety rule. Please familiarize yourself with proper golf etiquette before you use the golf course for any reason.

Golf etiquette is a reference of manners relating to three specific areas of golf: the pace of play (which makes the game more enjoyable), personal safety, and the integrity of the golf course.

Safety for Walkers: Be aware of your surroundings. Stop and stay behind any golfers that are addressing their ball. Golfers expect all golf course users to be quiet and respectful. “Fore!” is an internationally recognized warning to alert you of danger. If you hear someone from a group yell out “Fore!” immediately protect your head and run for cover.

Safety for Golfers: Be aware of your surroundings. Never swing your club in the direction of another. Never swing until you are sure others are at a safe distance around all sides of you. If you accidentally hit your ball into a group in front of you, give them a warning by yelling out “Fore!” When driving a golf cart, observe and obey all posted cart rules and drive carefully. Golf etiquette requires you to keep off the grass as much as possible. Never throw your clubs in anger. Golf can bring out the best or the worst in you – remember that golf is a gentlemen’s sport.

Maintain a Good Pace:

Walkers: Always stay on the cart path and try to move quickly away from any groups of golfers. Keep behind the ball, it is very dangerous to walk in the opposite direction of golfers. It is also important that you respect any approaching groups of golfers by being quiet and stopping to wait for them to address their ball. Move along with the pace of the game.

Golfers: Keep the game moving by being prepared to hit the ball when it’s your turn. In tournaments, the player who’s ball is furthest away hits the ball first; however, in friendly matches it is often agreed upon by all to “ready-play” where players hit the ball as they are ready. Don’t spend too much time looking for lost balls, especially if there is a group behind you. USGA allows for up to five minutes to search for a lost ball during tournaments. Good etiquette allows you to wave on the group behind you to play through. When two players in a cart hit to opposite sides of a hole, drive to first ball and drop off that player with his club, then drive to the second ball. After both players hit, meet up farther down the hole. Anticipate your next shot and take two clubs with you. Making unnecessary trips to your golf bag is a waste of time. Leave the green as soon as your group is done putting.

Be Kind to the Golf Course: Observe and practice all cart rules. There will be some days that will allow carts to remain on the cart path only and there will be other days where the course will allow for the 90-degree rule (where you drive from the cart path to the ball and directly back to the cart path in a 90-degree angle, being careful not to cause damage to the fairway). Keep carts and wheels away from the greens. These sensitive areas can easily be permanently damaged. Repair all your divots. When sand bunkers are present, always erase your tracks by raking after you’ve played your ball.

  • Never talk or make noise while someone is addressing their ball.
  • Never shout-out in excitement after your shot. It might disturb other groups playing the course.
  • Be aware of your shadow on the putting green. Don’t stand in a place that causes your shadow to be cast across another player or that player’s putting line. Never walk through another players putting line.
  • Tend the flagstick. It’s a golf no-no to leave the flagstick in the cup when putting. It could cost you a penalty during tournaments.

“The true gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self‑control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.” – John Walter Wayland