Casual golfers have a tendency to play by rules that are much more relaxed than those found in the Rules of Golf and that’s fine as long as you and your buddies play by the same ones. But there’s another important aspect of the game, which has to do with etiquette. That, you really should pay some attention to. It has a huge impact on whether you are someone people enjoy playing with or simply just someone they tolerate.
These are especially important if you get invited to play at upscale locations from time to time. Golfers at private clubs and in business situations are generally less lenient with rules and etiquette.
I don’t want to imply that you need to be mute, but just know when to be quiet. No matter how funny the story or joke is do not be telling it while someone else is hitting.
Don’t practice your swing while others are hitting if you are anywhere close to them. Practice swings do usually make noise.
Whatever you do, turn your cellphone off. If you need to check in with someone occasionally that’s fine, but do it in private. If you are anything like me my cell phone is binging, pinging, and buzzing almost continuously and its annoying.
Stop your golf cart if someone is hitting. The cart noise and movement are a major distraction. If you are already stopped, don’t release the brake or put the cart in reverse while someone is addressing their ball.
Standing in the Shadows of a Putt
Everybody hates this. Don’t be that person. Steer clear and stay away from golfer especially when you can cast a shadow that will affect the shot.
Control Your Temper
This one turns me off as fast as or faster than anything. Nobody wants to see you pitch a fit over a bad shot and act like an immature brat by cursing and throwing clubs. If you are a casual golfer you are going to hit bad shots. Accept it and move on.
Repair Ball Marks and Divots
This is another one that makes a bigger impression than you may realize. Fixing your ball marks on the greens is expected with no excuses. Even if you are not sure it is your ball mark, repair it anyway.
Repairing your divot in the fairway is recommended and is just a touch of class, especially if your swing resulted in something that might be confused with bunker construction.
This is simple – bring enough so that you don’t have to borrow from someone. This does not mean adding a few range balls to your bag before playing. Taking and borrowing a few is stealing, no matter how you cut it. The people playing with you know it also.
This is easy to do. Simply be ready to hit when it is your turn. This means you need to be at your ball with your club selected and ready to play. Nothing is worse than watching someone sit in a cart and wait for the other person to play, get back in the cart and drive to the other side of the fairway to start the process of club selection.
Also, watch your ball. If you hit a bad shot, watch where your ball ends up so you will be able to find it quickly and not hold your group up.
If you hit your ball into a bunker, take the rake in with you. After you get out of the bunker, rake all your foot prints as well as the area you hit from. Rake your way out and leave the rake out of the bunker.
Mind the Course Marshal
Last but not least is to be polite to the course marshals and try your best to follow their directions. If you follow my earlier suggestions about playing quickly, then you probably won’t have to deal them. They will be your friend.
There are many more topics covered by etiquette, but experience has suggested these are the most important. Don’t see etiquette rules as to be enforced or restrictions on you; remember that these were created in order to create a friendly and enjoyable environment for golfers, as well as a way of keeping some chivalry in the tradition of golf.