Honors on the tee – The golfer with the lowest score on the previous hole has earned honors, and it’s standard in the game of golf that they are the first to tee off on the next hole.
Not talking in people’s backswing – This is just common courtesy and has been part of the game since its inception.
Not stepping in lines on the green – The “putting line” is the area directly between a golfer’s ball and the golf cup on the green. And it is part of the golf etiquette not to step in this imaginary line out of courtesy to the other golfer.
The person furthest from the hole goes first – It’s standard practice to allow the golfer that is furthest away from the hole to play their ball first. For the most part, this piece of golf etiquette is forced upon us because it’s unwise to walk in front of other players who are hitting their ball. You don’t have to learn this lesson more than once. A golf ball screaming at you at over 100mph is not enjoyable.
Help other playing partners look for lost balls – When someone has hit their ball in the rough, it’s good golf etiquette to at least offer to help them find their ball if they’re having a hard time finding it. Some golfers won’t care that much about a lost ball and won’t take the time to look for it, especially if it’s a really bad shot, but it’s always nice to ask them if they need help.
Watch your shadow to keep it out of people’s lines or off of their ball while hitting – This is a subtle piece of golf etiquette, but it comes into play quite often when the sun is lower in the sky. This game has many distractions, and shadows moving in your swing while you’re trying to concentrate on the shot is very disturbing.
First one to hole their putt on the green, replaces the flag – It’s good practice to grab the flag after you hole out your putt. If you’re the first to hole your putt, you’ll have plenty of time to grab the flag while the others in your group finish out their balls. This helps to speed play, and it’s a common courtesy to the rest of your group.
Leave your bag on the side of the green closest to the next tee – Just like the previous piece of golf etiquette, it’s a good idea to strategically plan ahead when you set your bag down by the green. This will help to speed play.
Repair your ball marks – This should be self-explanatory. If you hit your approach shots high enough in the air so that when they land on the green they make an indention, also known as a ball mark, repair it before leaving the green.
Replace your divots – This goes hand in hand with the previous comment. Like ball marks, divots should be replaced after your shots as well.
Rake the bunkers when done hitting a sand shot – Hitting your shot in the bunker is bad enough, but having to deal with your ball landing in someone else’s unraked footprints, is inexcusable on the golf course.
Hit a provisional ball if you even think you might not be able to find your first one – Most casual golfers don’t play the game of golf by the rules when it comes to out of bounds or lost balls. They don’t want to take the time to go back to the tee and hit another ball and make everyone wait. Although this is what the rules say to do.
Remind the person to put their ball marker back if you’ve asked them to move it – Often times in the game of golf, a golfer who’s ball has come to rest on the green will be directly between your ball and the hole. And because the player furthest from the hole always putts first, sometimes you’ll need to ask that golfer to move their ball marker (usually a round coin of some sort).
Always yell FORE if your ball will end up close to anyone – This is a common courtesy of grand proportions. It’s not embarrassing to have to yell FORE because you hit a bad shot. Swallow your pride and yell it loud.
Let faster groups play through if you’re the reason the round is slow – It’s common practice to allow faster groups to play though if you’re holding up play.
Don’t talk to other people’s golf ball – Let them tell the ball to get down, or bite or hook, etc. It’s patronizing, and plus, the ball will never listen to either of you. It might sound like you’re helping them, or show that you’re concerned for their shot, but really it’s insulting.
Don’t pick up other balls on the course unless you’re absolutely sure that it doesn’t belong to anyone else who might be looking for it from another hole.
Always check your ball to be sure it’s yours before hitting a shot – It’s embarrassing for you if you hit another person’s ball, and it wastes time of your group at the same time.
Don’t hit into people if they’re playing slow – This is a very dangerous way of trying to get a point across. If you think you can reach a green while people are still putting, wait….when in doubt, wait. You’d just have a wait again on the next hole anyway, it won’t hurt to wait.
If you wear golf shoes, realize that you’re wearing them- Shuffling your feet on a golf green is not only bad for people’s putting lines, but it’s disrespectful to the course superintendent and grounds crew. If you don’t know how to walk with golf shoes on, then don’t wear them.
If you’re playing out of an adjacent fairway, wait for all the players that are actually playing the hole that you’ve hit your ball onto to play before getting in their way and making them wait.
Keep a close eye on your bad shots – Watch your bad shots land. It’s the worst when you’ve hit a bad shot and then turn away in disgust. You have no idea where your ball is…and because you haven’t watched the ball, you’re solely reliant on your playing partners to tell you where it is.
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