Golf Etiquette 101

Golf Etiquette 101

Summer is officially here, meaning warm weather and long nights make for an optimal time to learn or start playing more golf. The best part is you're not only embracing a new hobby, you're learning to play a game you can play for the rest of your life. Whether you’ve played before or are just beginning your golf journey, some basic etiquette is always good to understand. 

The guidelines for good golf etiquette are what they are for several very important reasons: Many of them relate to the safety of golfers, many relate to pace of play, and other rules of golf etiquette relate to maintaining the quality of the golf course. 

Here are a few tips to help you get started on your golf journey:


Try to arrive 30 minutes prior or at least with enough time to properly warm-up, whether that's stretching or hitting the driving range. It’s important to work your way through your bag properly to play. You'll want to start with the short irons, moving onto the mid and long irons, and then the woods. It's often a good idea to finish with soft wedge shots before heading to the practice green for a few puts. 

There’s nothing tougher than rushing to your tee time with little or no warm-up, so plan ahead. 

It's a good idea to hit a good amount of balls but don’t waste too much energy before your round.


Teeing Off

Check the scorecard to learn any local rules and introduce yourself to your playing companions. Make sure to place an identifying mark on your ball and inform the other players of the type and number ball you are playing with. 

Pace of Play

  • Walk at a reasonable speed between shots 

  • When you reach your ball, check your lie, select the best club, visualize, then make your shot

    • This should take about 30 to 45 seconds 

  • If you’re not ready in that time frame, let someone else go first

  • When you get close to the green, look ahead to the next tee box so you know the most optimal spot to leave your bag so you don’t have unnecessary steps when you finish one hole

Course Rules 

  • Make sure to have a tool on hand to fix divots 

  • Enter bunker from the low side at a point nearest to the ball and bring the rake with you

    • After your shot in the bunker, rake the area as well as any footprints you left

    • Leave rake near the bunker, but not in the bunker

  • Limit and or fix any damage left on the tee box and course by putting sand in your divots

On the Green 

  • Don’t step on your fellow players putting lines (this is the imaginary line between the ball and the hole)

  • If your ball is on another player’s line, volunteer to mark the ball

  • Don’t make any noise when other players are preparing to putt and be aware of your shadow

  • Repair any divots left on the green from your ball

  • While others are putting, be looking at your own putt so you are ready to hit when it’s your turn

  • Typically, the person farthest away from the hole goes first, but if you’re ready, ask the group if you can play ready golf 

Additionally, pace of play is very important to the fluidity of golf. That is to say, this should not be something that intimidates you, rather just something to be mindful of. Everyone has been in your shoes at one point and understands what you’re going through. If a group is waiting on you, wave them through. Remember to enjoy the game at your speed, while being respectful of others. 

Finally, at the end of the round, make sure you shake hands with your opponents. One of the most important parts of golf is respecting fellow players and the game. Congratulate the winners and console the losers, but most importantly thank them for sharing their time and experience with you. Golf etiquette and lingo are learned over time but it’s important to understand the basic rules of respect before playing a round of golf. If you are unsure it can be helpful to play with an experienced player for tips and questions during your round. 

And the most important part about golf...have fun...after all, it is just a game.