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Golf Etiquette for Beginners and Those Who Forgot

Golf Etiquette is the practices and rules governing the socially acceptable behavior on the Golf Course. These rules are there for different reasons and can be broken down into the following categories: Golf Safety, courtesy, Golf course integrity, and above all Golf should be fun.

Etiquette will be something that new golfers will learn as they play with other experienced golfers. But here are some basic rules you should know before going to the course for the first time.

1. Replace divots
Divots occur when your clubface takes a chunk of grass and dirt out of the ground on your swing. Divots happen as the result of good shots and as the result of poor shots. Either way divots are acceptable. Not replacing them is not acceptable. It is hard enough to hit a golf shot. And if you've ever attempted to hit a ball from a divot hole you'll likely never forget to replace a divot for as long as you play the game. So replace the divot in the hole, tamp it in slightly, cover with sand and seed. The roots will quickly take hold again and the grass will soon be growing normally.

2. Rake bunkers
You may spend a lot of time here...in the bunkers, or sand traps...and you might really mess them up trying to get out. So be sure to rake the bunker neatly when you leave. A neatly-raked bunker is not only more attractive, but also allows subsequent players to more easily "play the ball as it lies" in the sand.

3. Smooth ball marks on greens
Ball marks are small "craters" in the green caused by the impact of a spinning golf ball when it lands on the green. You should ALWAYS repair your ball mark when you get to the green. A properly repaired ball mark will start growing grass in a day whereas an unrepaired ball mark will take ten days before grass will begin to grow in it.

4. Safety on the course
The safety of those in your group, other golfers on the course, and spectators is very important. Always be careful when swinging a club. Serious injuries have occurred when golfers have been accidentally hit in the head with a club or ball. Do not stand directly in front of or behind any golfer getting ready to swing. Make sure the group in front of you is well out of range before taking your shot. If, by chance, the ball heads directly toward another golfer or group, be sure to yell "FORE!"... the accepted warning for 'watch out for the ball'.

5. Keep up with the pace of place
It’s very important to keep up with the pace of play. If your group is delaying the group behind, invite them to play through.

Be ready to take your shot when it’s your turn to avoid unnecessary hold ups in play.

It’s likely that your golf club has guidelines stating how long a round should take on your course/s. Find out what the guidelines are before playing and be conscious of them. At The Field Club of Omaha, Pace of Play is 3 hours and 45 minutes.

6 . Dress appropriately
Men-No jeans on the golf course, collared shirts are required. Cargo shorts acceptable. No metal spikes. Women- No jeans, spaghetti straps, short-shorts allowed. If you aren't sure about what you can or can't wear, check in advance with the Pro Shop.

7. Dispose of butts and trash properly
If you smoke cigars or cigarettes, don't throw your butts on the course. The golf course is one of the last places we have complete freedom to smoke. That privilege may be taken away if we litter the course with butts. It certainly doesn't look good and besides, what happens to that great shot when the ball just happens to collide with a cigar butt? So remember to dispose of butts, drink containers and any other trash, in proper receptacles on the course or in your cart.

8 . Game courtesy
This means not only foregoing displays of temper on the course, but also being respectful of those in your group and other golfers around you.

Don't move, talk, or stand too close to a player when they are taking a shot. Concentration is required, and noise and movement can be disconcerting.

9. Avoid causing an obstruction to the path of playing partners balls.
Dont leave your bag, push cart, or golf cart where it might obstruct the path of a playing partners ball. Don't cast a shadow of playing partners putting lines. As well as being distracted, shadows can make it more difficult to judge the contours of the green. Never step on the line of another player's putt. It can not only affect the lay of the tender greens grass, but also will cause the putting golfer to lose concentration and miss the putt.

10. Keep golf carts and push carts away from the green
Greens are vulnerable to damage and expensive to repair, avoid taking golf carts or push carts on or near them. Most golf courses have markings indicating where golf carts and push carts should be taken around the green. In the absence of markings, assume that at least 10 yards around the green should be cart and push cart free.

Course Etiquette at your Club

All golf clubs have their own idiosyncrasies when it comes to etiquette depending on the culture of the club and the layout of the course. The best way to learn the etiquette at a golf club is to play a round with a seasoned and respected member or speak with the Head golf Professional before your round.

All in all, have respect for all golfers. Golf is one of the few games that can be truly enjoyed by both men and women, young and old, healthy and physically challenged, and everyone "in between". Have respect, and encourage respect from golfing buddies, for all players - regardless of whether they're "in your league" or not.

Practicing these 'Golden Rules of Golf Etiquette' will help everyone to have a more enjoyable and successful game.

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