Mon May 20 2013
Golf etiquette, or behaviour on the course, is the first section in the R&A Rules of Golf – it is that important. Etiquette is about ensuring that golf is played safely without inconvenience to others or unavoidable damage to the course. So what does this entail?
First, do not hold up others. Be ready to play when it is your turn and play without delay. If your group is slower than the players behind you then let them through; this is not a sign of weakness or a loss of status it is recognition that better golfers tend to play more quickly than beginners or less talented players and that a two ball game is likely to be 30 to 60 minutes quicker for a round than a four ball game. To give you an idea of acceptable pace, a two ball match should complete a round within 3 hours.
Take care to repair any damage you cause to the course by your play. Replace divots carefully in the ground so that they will quickly grow back. Similarly, repair pitch marks on the green with a tee or, better still, a pitch mark repair tool and do not feel shy about repairing any other people’s pitch marks if their etiquette has not been as it should be. When you leave a bunker carefully rake it behind you so that the next victim has a fair chance of playing out of it. In this way the golf course will be as good to play on next week and next month as it is today. Unrepaired damage can quickly turn a good golf course into a place fit only for walking your dog.
Safety is paramount. With golf club heads travelling at up to and over 100 mph and balls moving even more quickly there is real danger if golfers are not aware of their surroundings and thoughtful about where their ball might go. Do not stand behind someone who is about to hit a shot and give them a safe margin as they do so. Be prepared to shout “fore” if your ball is, or might be, heading towards others and add left or right to that call if appropriate.
If you think your shot might be lost play a provisional ball straight away, nothing slows up play more than someone walking back to play another ball. You have five minutes to search for a lost ball from the time you start searching, do not wait to wave the next group through but do that as soon as it is apparent that the ball will not be found easily. Also, when you are playing in a group position yourself and your golf equipment so that you can play your shot as soon as it is your turn – don’t wait for others before deciding which club to play, taking the club quietly from your bag and deciding your line. Walk briskly between shots and when you reach the green position your golf bag off the green and in the direction of the next tee before you putt.
Do not disturb others by making loud or unnecessary noise on the course and do ensure that any electronic devices are either turned off or are in silent mode.
All of these guidelines are intended to ensure that everyone on the golf course enjoys their golf. Do not be a selfish golfer; you will make no friends if you are.
Finally, the above is derived from Section 1 of the rules of golf; please make sure you are familiar with the remainder of the section and the rules themselves.
Catterick Golf Club, Leyburn Road, Catterick Garrison, DL9 3QE
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