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Golf is considered a gentleman’s game and since this is so, certain rules of etiquette in playing apply. Although these are not hard and fast rules, they show that the person practicing these has respect not only for other players, but also for the game itself.
Here are just some general rules of golf etiquette practiced at all levels whether they’re amateur or professional. It is then followed by some specific rules at particular times during a game.
- Keeping quiet as someone steps up to the ball is a sign of respect for the player as you are allowing him to concentrate.
- Do not run on the course. While this may not affect your own group of players, you may distract and bother others who are trying to play.
- Before swinging, check if anyone is standing in the general area your ball will go into. Do not assume that others will check to see if they’re standing within range of someone about to swing.
- Similarly, it is not only unsafe to take practice swings in a person’s direction, it is also considered rude.
- Do not swing your club when someone is walking around and conversely, do not walk around when someone is going to swing.
- On a given day, you or your group may not be the only players on a course. That said, try to keep your pace of play at a rate that keeps up with the group ahead of you to avoid holding up the ones behind.
- It is very, very rude to hit into the group playing ahead of you. If it was unintentional, you had failed to observed safety etiquette. If it was intentional and you did so because they are playing slowly, it is still no reason to drive a ball into their direction.
- When you need to play through a group, observe common courtesy by first asking permission to do so. But before asking, make sure that the next hole is vacant so that there is enough space between groups as you pass through.
- If the group allows you to play through, take the least amount of time to finish the hole and move on to the next one as quickly as possible.
When on the teeing ground…
…try to stay out of the player’s line of sight as well as peripheral vision to allow him to concentrate. Standing behind him/her is the best way to do so, as well as keeping quiet as he/she prepares to swing.
When on the fairway…
…hitting some divots is perfectly fine, but avoid causing too many. Furthermore, try to put a few back in by simply stepping on the divot into the hole.
…don’t take too much time looking for a lost ball. The group behind you may not appreciate the delay. If it can’t be found within a few minutes, simply replace the ball.
When on the bunker…
…use the course-provided rake when you’ve finished with your shot to rake out marks left by you, your ball and your footprints, then leave the rake outside the bunker handle parallel to the fairway.
When on the green…
…avoid stepping on the ball paths of other players as this can affect the putt. Walk behind the ball on its direction to the hole or at least step over the imaginary line between the ball and the hole.
…repair ball marks made by the force of the ball landing on the green. This shows courtesy to the player following you as you’ve taken the time to leave them an unmarked green.
…put your ball back on the green before picking up the ball marker just so you can avoid possible points of contention between another player as to whether you’ve properly positioned your ball or not.
When at the practice grounds…
…continue to observe the general rules of golf etiquette as you would on the course.
These rules are but a partial list of other good golfing etiquette practices. But these are the basics that are built on mutual respect for each other’s safety and love of the game. The experience becomes all the more pleasant for everyone concerned.