According to golf etiquette, the sport of golf is played without guidance, supervision, or control by a coach, referee, or an umpire on the golf course. Beginning golfers usually are not aware of the customary practices and behavior on the course.
Basically the game relies upon each golfer to be considerate of their fellow players and to abide by the "Rules ".
There are unspoken rules of etiquette and more stringent rules of good golf etiquette. The rules are in place to make the game more enjoyable, but many of them relate to the golfers safety and to the pace of play (which helps keep the game more enjoyable).
Several other rules of etiquette relate to maintaining the overall quality of the golf course itself.
All players on the golf course should demonstrate a high degree of sportsmanship and courtesy at all times (Basically just good manners!).
Therefore it is very important that the individual golfer understands the fundamentals of golf etiquette.
Following are the essentials a player must understand concerning golf etiquette during the process of playing the game of golf:
Arrive on Time! (This is definitely included in good Golf Etiquette)
Leave home with enough time to reach the golf course at least 45 minutes before your "Tee" time. This is extending consideration for your playing partners as well as the starter and other players immediately following your established "Tee" time.
(Besides, you don't want to be stressed out before you even get a chance to have the "1st-Tee jitters"!)
Golf etiquette includes showing respect to the bag-handler and starter for starting your golf day out on a positive note. Maybe even an appropriate tip is in order!
Extending respect and consideration during your "warm-up" on the practice putting green and golf driving ranges is appropriate.
Golf etiquette includes showing respect to the Golf Marshal out on the course, and the Caddy! Tip the Caddy commensurate with his/her performance.
On the Putting Green
(That's also part of the etiquette of golf!) (See "Putting Green" Animation Video Link at bottom of this page)
No Distraction and/or Disturbance
Professional etiquette requires that you do not bring electronic devices to the course which will bother other players. If you must carry a cell phone for emergency purposes, use it only for emergencies and put it on "vibration" ringing mode.
In general on the golf course, act as if you are in the "library"!
(See "Avoiding Distraction" Animation Video Link at bottom of this page)
Do not give advice to your opponent or fellow-competitor.
(Official Rules of Golf)
During a stipulated round, a player must not:
a. Give advice to anyone in the competition playing on the course other than his partner, or
b. Ask for advice from anyone other than his partner or his golf caddie.
Play At A Good Pace
Play at a pace which keeps up with the group ahead. If there is an open Hole ahead, and the group behind is pushing your group, either pick up your groups pace, or invite the group behind you to play through regardless how many players are in that group. This is considered good golf etiquette.
Take only one practice swing for each shot, and then hit the ball.
(See "Playing at a Good Pace" Animation Video Link at bottom of this page for more golf etiquette tips)
Plan your shot before it's your turn. Decide in advance where you want the to land the next shot , and which club you will use to make the shot.
(See "Being ready to play" Animation Video Link at bottom of this page).
The player who is away hits first in a group, this "rule" eliminates the confusion as to whose turn it is and keeps the game moving! (This is essential in beginners golf etiquette)
(Official Rules of Golf)
The Order of Play
a. The player who has the lowest score on a Hole has the right to play his/her ball first on the next Hole. This is called the "honor."
b. While playing a Hole, the player whose ball is farthest from the Hole plays first.
Play Ready Golf whenever you can (non-tournament play).
Ready Golf means that the player who is ready first, plays first even if that player is not the farthest away from the hole. Have an agreement with your playing partners to play "Ready Golf" before you Tee Off.
Ready golf can really save a lot of time waiting for the "correct" player to hit.
Quickly leave the putting green when your group has finished their putting.
Do not waste a lot of time looking for a lost ball. You are by rule only allowed five minutes to find the ball. Golf etiquette rules require allowing the group behind to play through if you violate this time restriction.
(Official Rules of Golf)
Ball Lost or Out of Bounds
a. A ball is lost if it is not found within five minutes after you first begin to search or you have put another ball into play.
b. If your ball is lost or out of bounds, you must add a penalty stroke to your score and play another ball from where you played your last shot (known as "stroke and distance").
c. If you think your ball may be lost or out of bounds, you may play a provisional ball from the place where your first ball was played.
d. You must notify fellow players that you are playing a provisional ball and play it before you leave the area to look for the first ball.
(See "Saving time with a lost ball" Animation Video Link at bottom of this page)
Priority on the Course
Priority on the golf course is determined by a group's pace of play.
a. Any group playing an 18-Hole round is entitled to pass a group playing nine Holes.
b. Individual or single players must acquiesce to larger groups.
(See "Priority on the Course" Animation Video Link at bottom of this page)
(See "Divot Repair Etiquette" Animation Video Link at bottom of this page)
(See "Bunker Etiquette" Animation Video Link at bottom of this page)
We hope this adventure into Golf Etiquette has been interesting and helpful.
Thanks again for Visiting Us!
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has prepared some excellent Animated Videos on Golf Etiquette which we feel are worthwhile observing.
Following are the Animated Videos we referred to in the above information on Golf Etiquette:
You can go to the primary website address of the USGA listed below and see all of these Animated Videos and much more.
When you reach the website, scroll down part way until you see "Avoiding Distraction Animation" in red lettering.
Click on that and you are on your way to understanding even more on golf etiquette.
(Enter this website address in your URL box)
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