Etiquette is a word that’s often heard in relation to golf, more so than with any other sport. But it’s not just about manners.

The guidelines for good golf etiquette are what they are for several very important reasons: Many of them relate to the safety of golfers, many relate to pace of play (which helps keep the game enjoyable), and other rules of golf etiquette relate to maintaining the quality of the golf course.

In other words, golf etiquette is an essential part of the game. And it’s something that newcomers to the game often learn as they go – on the course, when playing with more experienced golfers.

If you are new to the game, or just need to brush up on your golf etiquette, here are some basic rules of the road that will help keep the game enjoyable for you and those around you.

  • Please show Respect for yourself and to others at all times on the Golf Course Silence is a priority while on the Golf Course.
  • Shouting and running around is unacceptable, and persons where found doing so shall be removed from the Golf Course.
  • Keep it safe – anyone found throwing Golf Clubs or Balls shall be removed from the Golf Course.
  • Know when to yell “Fore” by way of a warning if your ball appears to be headed towards someone.
  • Repair all divots – rake bunkers Flags should be placed down carefully and not thrown down – marking the ground.

Keep It Safe

  • Do not swing your club until you know that others in your group are at a safe distance. Likewise, keep your distance when others are swinging. Be aware to steer clear of trouble.
  • When practicing your swing, never swing in the direction of another player. There may be pebbles or twigs or other matter in the grass that could fly up and injure a playing partner.
  • Do not hit the ball until you are certain that the group ahead of you is out of range.
  • If your ball appears to be headed toward another player or another group, give them a warning by yelling out, “Fore!” (an internationally recognized alert)
  • Never throw clubs in anger. In addition to being rude and childish, it could also be dangerous.

Maintain a Good Pace

  • Keep the round moving by being prepared to hit your shot when it is your turn. You probably don’t like waiting on other groups – don’t make other groups wait on you.
  • The player who is away hits first in a group. However, in friendly matches (as opposed to tournament play), this rule can be ignored in favor of “ready play” – players hit as they are ready. All players should agree to “ready play” before it is put into effect.
  • Do not spend too much time looking for a lost ball, particularly if there is a group behind you ready to play. If you insist on taking the full five minutes alloted in the rulebook to look for lost balls, golf etiquette says wave up the group behind to allow them to play through.
  • Always try to keep pace with the group ahead of you. If space opens in front of you, allow a faster group 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.
  • When walking from your cart to your ball, take a couple clubs with you. Taking only one club, then having to return to the cart to retrieve a different club, is a huge time-waster.
  • Always leave the putting green as soon as your group has finished putting.

Be Kind to the Course

  • Keep carts away from greens and hazards. The wheels on carts can damage these sensitive areas.
  • Repair your divots in the fairway.
  • Repair your ball marks on the green.
  • Always rake sand bunkers after hitting to erase your footprints and damage to the area where your ball was.
  • Avoid taking a divot on a practice swing.

And a Few More Golf Etiquette Hints

  • Quiet, please! Never talk during another player’s swing.
  • Do not yell out following a shot. Even if boisterous behaviour doesn’t bother your playing partners, there are other people on the course who may be within earshot.
  • 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 a playing partner’s putting line. Your footprints might alter the path of a partner’s putt. Step over the putting line, or walk around (behind) the partner’s ball.

How to repair a divot

Find the turf that was sliced off from the fairway. If you’ve taken a “clean divot,” you’ll find the turf still in one, neat piece. But sometimes, the turf will be in bits in pieces. Just retrieve it as best you can, and replace it in the ground. If your divot is in one piece, then fit it back into the ground the same way it came out (as you would a puzzle piece). If it’s in multiple pieces, just do the best job you can to make it fit neatly back into place.

How to rake a sand bunker

Locate the lowest spot around the edge of the bunker that is convenient to your ball. This will be your entry and exit point. Identifying this spot keeps you from walking down a steep facing (possibly damaging the turf), stepping off a higher rim (leaving deeper footprints), or having to walk a longer distance which would require raking a greater area of sand.

Once you’ve identified the most convenient low spot from which to enter and exit … enter! Can you carry the rake into the bunker with you? Contrary to what some golfers believe, it is not only within the rules to take a rake into the bunker with you; it is advisable to do so because it speeds up the process.

(Note: Be sure you do not allow the rake to touch the sand, except when you drop it before playing the shot. If you do anything with the rake – or your club – that can be construed as “testing the condition of the hazard,” then you are in violation of the rules.

Begin raking over the signs of play from the sand – the area where your club made contact with the sand, and your footprints. Pull the tines of the rake toward you as you begin moving back to the rim of the bunker. But be careful not to pull too much sand toward you. The idea is to restore an even surface to the sand without displacing too much sand. If you are pulling too much sand toward you, try pushing the tines outward a few times, too. All the while, you should be progressing back to the edge of the bunker.

When you are finished, the sand’s surface should be evened out, with no signs of divots or footprints, and no excess sand having been pulled toward the bunker’s edge. There will be little furrows left from the tines of the rake.