Good Golf Etiquette & Golf Rules for the Beginner

Basic Golf Rules and Entiquette

I’ve compiled a list of some of the basic golf rules and golfing etiquette.

1)            Tee-time:

Tee-times are basically like your own personal appointment time for playing golf. Always be considerate of others and arrive earlier than your scheduled tee-time to give yourself a chance to warm up. Getting there early will help eliminate tardiness due to any unforeseen delays. If you miss your tee-time, you will most likely have to wait for another opening, which could take hours, if you’re lucky. Make sure you arrive on time and ready to play golf!

2)            Equipment:

Make sure that you aren’t carrying any more than 14 clubs in your golf bag; this is strictly against the USGA rule. Having more than 14 clubs in your bag will be immediately noticed by other players, so be aware before your round how many clubs are in your bag. A good caddie will pick this up right away, but it is ultimately your responsibility.

3)            Dress Code:

Although not all golf courses have dress codes, many, if not most, do. Therefore, it is a good idea to find out what the dress code is before going to play golf. Try speaking to someone in the professional golf shop of the course to find out the course’s exact dress code. Or, you can play it safe by wearing long pants (no jeans or cargo pants) and a collared shirt (tucked into your pants). Never show up to a country club wearing flip flops, jeans, or tee-shirts before your round.

4)            Who goes first?

When starting a golf game, you can decide amongst yourselves who should go first. When the game begins, however, whoever has the “Honors” tees off first. A person can get “honors” by getting the best score on the preceding hole, or when in the fairway, the player who is farthest away from the hole tees off first.

5)            Pay attention to the Tee Markers

When playing golf, make sure that you are paying attention to the tee-markers. Your golf balls should be positioned either between the two tee-markers or two golf club lengths behind them. Never place your golf ball in front of the tee-markers. Play it safe by always teeing up a little bit behind the markers.

6)            Keep up the pace

One of the biggest annoyances for experienced golfers is beginner golfers who don’t keep up the pace with the other golfers around them. When it’s your turn to golf, make sure to be at your ball with the correct club in hand. Take one or two practice swings and hit your ball. If you are not as experienced as the other golfers in your group, you will most likely be hitting first for every shot. Keep up the pace by being diligent at getting to your ball and taking fewer practice swings. If your group is going slower than the group behind you, golf etiquette dictates that you should let them pass so that you aren’t holding anyone up.

7)            Out of Bound Balls

The out of bounds sections at golf courses can usually be identified by white lines or stakes. Hitting a golf ball out of bounds receives a penalty of one stroke added to your score and the player must also go back to where the ball was swung from and try again.

Water hazards are marked on the golf course and can be identified by yellow and/or red stakes. A golfer can choose to play a ball that lands in a water hazard, but it is not suggested.

9)            Respect the Players

Walking in front of someone’s line of putt on the green is highly frowned upon. Each footprint can alter the path of the ball so the proper course of action is to step over or around the line of putt. It is also courteous to stand in a place where your shadow doesn’t interfere with a player’s line of putt. Also, general golf etiquette says to be considerate and aware of fellow golfers. Don’t talk, move, or distract another player while it’s their turn. And always turn your cell phone off!

10)          Respect the Course

A general rule of thumb for golfers is to try to leave the golf course in the same shape it was when you arrived. Replace your divots, follow cart path rules, and use grass seed where necessary. Make sure to take notice of any rules or warnings that the golf course you are on may have posted and make sure to actually follow the rules so that you and other golfers can enjoy a fun and safe golfing experience.