Golf Etiquette, What Message Are You Sending?

Etiquette is always a difficult topic to discuss. It’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge because most players believe that it applies to everyone else, not them. However, three-quarters of all complaints received on league days are a result of an etiquette breach, not a Rules of Golf violation. Etiquette does not have to be cumbersome if we remember its purpose–to make the game safe and enjoyable–while minimizing the damage to golf equipment and the course.

An overlooked aspect of golf etiquette is its non-verbal messaging of courtesy and respect for others, the course, and the traditions of the game. Players who demonstrate proper etiquette are displaying courtesy and respect for both others and the course.

Examples of Proper Etiquette:

  • Properly care for the course (leave the course better than how you found it)
    • Fill divots with sand
    • Repair ball marks
    • Rake bunkers
    • Do not twist or move your feet during your putting stroke (most spike marks on the greens are from players twisting their feet during the putting stroke)
    • Tap down spike marks when you are leaving the green (Rules violation to tap down while you are playing the hole)
  • Observe proper pace of play guidelines
    • “Ready Golf” means being ready to hit when it’s your turn, not hitting out of turn
    • Remember to take sand for cart restricted areas
  • Remain silent when others are hitting and stand directly across or diagonal from the player, never behind or on the line of play
  • Never walk on someone’s putting line (no exceptions!)
  • Control your temper and complaining. No one cares how you used to play or what happened yesterday
  • Turn cell phones to silent–only use in an emergency

What message are you sending during your round of golf? Are you the player who displays the following examples of proper etiquette?