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Golf Etiquette: How to Act at a Private Country Club

Jul 14, 2016; Ayrshire, SCT; Jordan Spieth (USA) plays his tee shot on the 3rd hole during the first round round of the 145th Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Troon Golf Club - Old Course. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Whether you are a new member of a country club or are being invited out to play at a private club, there are certain things that you can and cannot do. This includes the way you are dressed and the way that you speak to others.

Here are some tips for proper etiquette at a country club:

Look the Part

We begin with probably the most important part of playing golf at a country club and that is dressing properly. Country clubs aren’t your local muni and they require a certain style of dress to fit in. Collared shirts (polo) must be worn at all times and should always be tucked in, especially when you are inside the clubhouse.

No jeans or cargo shorts are allowed at anytime on the property. Make sure you take your hat off when you are inside the clubhouse or pro shop. Other members make their first impression of you based on what you are wearing, so don’t disappoint them.

Cell Phones

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It is a common sight to see people either texting or talking on the phone at pretty much every golf course in the world nowadays. However, there are still some country clubs who don’t allow cell phones anywhere on property. Some golf clubs even go as far as buying cell phone signal blocking equipment to completely eradicate cell phones from the property.

If you don’t know the policy of the club you are heading to, it’s best to turn off your phone and stick in in your golf bag. When you arrive you can simply ask the golf professional or the member you are playing with what the club’s cell phone policy is.

Be on Time

Country clubs run at a different pace when compared to public golf courses. Members usually have free roam as to when they want to tee off and don’t really care if another group made a tee time or not. Make sure you arrive at least an hour and a half before your tee time so you can be prepared for anything that might change.

Keep Up the Pace

There is nothing that country club members hate more than waiting on the golf course, especially if it’s a guest of a member. If you don’t have your best stuff on that day don’t be afraid to pick your ball up and move along to the next hole or the green. The last thing you want is for a marshall or golf pro to ride up to your group and tell you that you are playing slow.

Be Prepared to Tip

Country clubs are where rich people go to play and they like to take care of employees. Always bring some extra cash with you even if a member is paying for your guest fee or lunch. You don’t have to tip as much as members do, but make sure to throw some cash to the outside service and locker room employees.¬†Also, any food or drink that you get should be accompanied by a tip.

You should expect to have a caddie at most of the higher end country clubs and that can cost you up to $100 for a round.

This isn’t a Public Course

Normally when you get to a course, you put your golf shoes on in the parking lot and walk with your bag right up to the golf shop and drop it down. Country clubs don’t typically operate in the same way and have a different way of doing things.

As a rule of thumb, never put your golf shoes on in the parking lot. Simply carry them with you into the locker room or out to the golf cart. The reason for this is because a lot of clubs don’t like people wearing golf spikes in the clubhouse as it damages flooring. Don’t forget to leave your bag at the bag drop area and let the cart barn guys take care of it.

I hope these tips help you out for your next country club visit and just remember to ask questions if you aren’t sure of anything.

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Written by BP Staff

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