Beginners Guide to Golf Etiquette

Beginners Guide to Golf Etiquette Beginners Guide to Golf Etiquette

My husband is an avid golfer. You know how it goes. He loves golf, and I love him so.. Voila. I decided to take lessons and learn to golf. 

You might think that taking private lessons to learn to golf sounds like overkill. Trust me; it was not. A lifelong runner, I have not participated in many sports that require hand-eye coordination or any swing skill. Enter: golf.

Perhaps just as challenging as figuring out how to hold my hands and the proper swing was learning to navigate all of golf etiquette rules. A “gentleman’s sport,” there are many intricacies that a newbie golfer would need help figuring out.

Are you ready for golf etiquette for beginners?


What Is Golf Etiquette?

These are the rules that golfers live by. Some are written rules, some unspoken. The standard piece is that most people abide by the social niceties of the game. If you don’t follow the basics of golf course etiquette, you might find yourself unable to find golfing buddies. 

These rules will cover everything from golf clothing etiquette to etiquette on the green. Some will surprise you, and others will not. 


Driving Range & Practice Green Etiquette

So as a former cross country coach, the first thing I had to learn is that it is not okay to run after your ball, no matter how poorly you hit it. “Rule number one,” my husband firmly told me. “No chasing the ball. Grab a new one.” Noted.

Another mistake I made was to get too close to another person practicing on the range. Stay a safe distance from other golfers. Speaking of other golfers nearby you. They may not enjoy your choice of music. If you like music when you practice, wear earbuds. 

If it is a busy morning at the range and you can see people are waiting, don’t hit a half dozen bags or buckets. Give someone else a turn. 

Lastly, just because it is a range does not mean you get to trash the grass. Take care of your divots.

What about the putting green? It should not surprise you that there are rules there, also. If there are others on the green, don’t golf or walk through their line.  And if other golfers are using one of the holes, move to another one. That is simple courtesy. 

If it is a busy putting green, don’t drop a whole bunch of balls and set a drill up for yourself. Oh, and while it is okay to practice chipping if the green is empty or nearly empty, don’t do it if there are a bunch of people also using the area. 


Golf Course Etiquette

Even though I love cute golf clothes, I was shocked to learn that golf courses have dress codes. That’s right: golf etiquette clothing rules.

There are many components surrounding clothing etiquette on the golf course. Many courses have a collar requirement for golfing; although, some allow women to wear a shirt without one. Jeans are not allowed. Golfers should wear khakis or golf pants, or shorts. Many women purchase golf skirts for comfort and ease of movement. 

You should never wear jeans, t-shirts, or tank tops. Be sure you have the proper footwear. Golf shoe etiquette requires you to change out of your golf shoes before entering the clubhouse. Although you can wear simple sneakers instead of golf shoes, most golfers do not. 

When you show up to golf, there are rules regarding arrival. Do not show up exactly at your tee time. You need time to sign in, grab your cart, get your shoes on, grab your gear, and get to the first hole. If you show up just in the nick of time, you are already late. 


Golf Cart Etiquette

Unless you are walking the course, you will rent a golf cart. Here come more golf rules. Always drive your cart safely and also obey any posted signs. If a sign says not to drive the cart in a particular area, respect the direction.

If there is a cart path, use it. Never drive in a bunker, sand trap, or on the green. As a courtesy to people golfing behind you, it is polite to take your cart behind the green and out of the way prior to playing on the green. 

What about those walking the course? Walking golf course etiquette is much like when you use a cart. Stay out of other golfers’ way. Be cognizant of your surroundings. Move quickly to your ball, and get prepared to swing your club quickly. 


Etiquette On The Tee Box

My husband is very patient with me, so I had a lot to learn the first time I golfed in a golf outing. It turns out I have a habit of stepping up to golf before it is my turn. Who knew there were rules about who tees off first? Also, I sometimes stand somewhere that I cast a shadow that the person teeing off finds distracting. 

It stands to reason that you should stay out of the person’s way as they swing their club. That is a simple safety thing. As said before, always be polite and replace your divots. 

Pace of play golf etiquette has you moving rapidly enough not to delay other players while giving yourself enough time to plan and make good shots.  To keep a good pace of play, you should also pay attention, move quickly to your ball, and be prepared to shoot quickly.

One way to speed things up is to keep your eyes on your ball at all times. Hunting for a lost ball can take up a lot of time. Sure, it happens to the best of us. But if you are always aware, it can happen less. 


Etiquette On The Greens

What about golf etiquette on the greens? If your ball is closer to the hole on the green, you can remove your ball and mark the spot with a chip or other marker. That is necessary because the ball furthest from the hole goes first. 

Many recreational and beginner golfers prefer to play “ready golf.” That simply means that whoever is ready goes first. 

It is polite to stand back a short distance while other golfers are putting. A spot off to the side but out of their peripheral is a good choice. Avoid making any loud or distracting noises so they can focus. 

Unwritten Golf Rules

There are also some unwritten golf rules and etiquette:

  1. Yelling FORE if your ball goes the wrong way.
  2. Don’t talk when someone is hitting.
  3. Take the sand if you end up in the bunker.
  4. Many golfers prefer to play ready golf (instead of furthest from the green goes first).
  5. Stand still when someone else is preparing to hit. Don’t be a distraction.


Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes and Ask Questions

If you are like me, becoming a golfer is a bit intimidating. When I went on my first golf outing with the ladies, I admitted from the first moment that I was a new and inexperienced golfer. Guess what? They were super patient with me. 

Just get out there, don’t be afraid to make some mistakes, and ask questions along the way. You won’t regret it!

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