Modern Etiquette for Golf

Mar 19, 2014

It’s arguable that the PGA boasts some of the best sportsmanship in modern athletics. Perhaps that’s because golf is considered an intellectual game, and most approach it with the utmost courtesy and respect for fellow players. The sport has an unspoken custom of propriety. To maximize your enjoyment of the game, practice these modern manners: 

Dress the part. Whether you are playing at a private club or a public course, golf is a game that requires proper apparel. Most country clubs have strict dress codes and expect members and guests to comply. Read up on the appropriate attire before you play. Shorts are often permitted, but they should be designed for golf, not the gym. Denim is never acceptable. When in doubt, a collared golf shirt and slacks are a safe bet.

Don’t be the slowest player. According to the PGA, no more than 45 seconds should elapse from the time you select your club to when you hit your shot. Limit your search time for a lost ball to five minutes. Arnold Palmer suggests that players practice "ready golf," meaning that you should hit when ready, even if you aren't away. After everyone has played, walk immediately to the next tee.

Allow each player to concentrate. Stand still from the time a player sets himself until the ball has left the club. Be careful not to cast a shadow across another player or his putting line. Don’t forget those paddles they hold up at The Masters: “Hush, y’all!” Quite is always appreciated on the course.

Keep the course in top shape. After each hole, fix ball marks. Replace divots or use the seed mix from your cart. Enter the bunker from the low side and always rake it after you take your shot.

Be polite with your cart. Many courses don’t allow carts to veer off the paved paths. If yours does, observe the "90 degree rule." When you turn off the path, do so at 90 degrees, toward the fairway to a given ball. When you finish your shot, get straight back on the path. Don’t forget the noise of back up alarms, and always set the parking break.

Keep cell phone use to a minimum. If you must bring a phone to the course, set the ringer to silent or vibrate and keep it out of sight. If you absolutely must make a call, step away from the other players and speak softly.

Be a gracious, whether you win or lose. Shake hands with all the players and congratulate the winner. Tell everyone you appreciated his or her company.