Playing golf is a great way to get outside, enjoy the sunshine and spend time with friends and family. It’s also a great way to challenge yourself and test your skills. But it’s important to remember you are sharing the golf course with everyone else, and there are rules to remember and etiquette to be followed.
Learn the Club’s Rules
Ask the pro shop staff about local rules, such as where you are allowed to drive the cart and what the dress code is. Knowing these rules can help you avoid any embarrassing mistakes.
Keep your group to 4 or fewer
Most golf courses do not allow more than four golfers in a group. Larger groups take far too long to finish each hole, and it’s unfair to those playing behind you. Most courses also require that each player has a set of clubs. You can usually rent them if you don’t own any.
Maintaining the flow of play on the course is mandatory. The golf course is not the place for a swing lesson. Keep moving so you don’t hold up the golfers in your group or those behind you. Be ready to hit when it’s your turn, and when you are finished with the hole, exit the green quickly. Drive or walk to the next hole before marking your scorecard. If your group is slow, let faster groups play through.
Leave the course as you found it
Replace divots—the chunks of turf that your club cuts from the ground during your swing. Repair any marks your ball makes on the green. When you walk through and play out of bunkers, rake the sand afterward to be fair to those playing behind you. If your ball makes an indentation when it hits the green, fix it with a ball mark tool or tee.
Practice putting etiquette
When on the green, place a marker behind your ball and lift it so the ball doesn’t interfere with your fellow golfers’ putts. Get in the habit of tending the flagstick. Avoid walking on a player’s putting line and stay out of their sight line.
At some public and municipal courses, tipping is not necessary. But if someone assists you with your clubs—placing them on the cart before the round and/or taking them to your car afterward—tip at least a dollar or two. Two or three dollars is the minimum tip if someone cleans your clubs after the round.
Respect other golfers
Do not hit your ball until the group ahead of you is far out of reach. Also, do not hit onto the green until the players in front of you are well clear. Make sure your immediate surroundings are clear before swinging the club and be quiet when you are near another golfer who is about to play.
It can be vexing at times, but remember, golf is just a game.