A unique aspect of the game of golf is that it is played without supervision from a coach or referee. The onus is on each player to conduct themselves with integrity and to treat the golf course with respect. It is important for golfers to educate others that are just beginning and may be unaware of these practices and behaviours.
The following points are essential concerning etiquette in golf:
Arrive on time
A good practice is to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your tee time. This benefits the player as it gives them time to register and prepare for their round. It also benefits the course as it keeps the reservations running on time.
Pace of play
A round of 18 holes should take no more than four hours. In order to accomplish this, players should begin with choosing the appropriate tee length in accordance with their level of play.
Play ready golf — at the tee area, be ready once it is your turn to hit. On the fairway, go ahead and play once it is safe to do so and the group ahead is clear. On the putting green, do your read of your putt in advance of your turn. This way, once it is your turn, it will save that bit of time.
A recent rule change has limited the time to search for a lost ball from five minutes to three minutes.
On the course
It takes a lot of effort on behalf of the grounds maintenance to maintain course conditions to a high standard. Golfers can use proper etiquette practices to help maintain these conditions. Begin with the three Rs: repair ball marks, replace divots (use the sand/seed mixture if supplied), and rake bunkers.
Etiquette with golf carts begins with safety. Be aware of course signage and use cart paths where provided. In order to operate a golf cart, a minimum age — usually 18 — is enforced in accordance with the golf clubs liability insurance.
Golf etiquette also includes behaviour and appearance. Dress codes have become more relaxed. However, clothing should be appropriate for the public and footwear should be appropriate for the sport. Any footwear that has an aggressive tread design or a heel that would leave an imprint in the green surface is prohibited.
Displays of frustration are one thing, but outbursts of temper are quite another. Profanity and/or damage to course property are unacceptable and may lead to golfing privileges being suspended.
Cell phones should be turned to silent mode to avoid any disturbance to golfers around you. Players connecting their phone or device to a portable speaker should be aware of volume levels. Again as a level of respect to those around your group.
These are only a few things to consider when playing golf. It is important to remember that the game is intended to be fun.
When I work with junior golfers and introduce them to the game, a piece of advice that I forward is that golf will not only help build character but will also reveal it.