12 things all golfers should do to show good golf etiquette
Golf Culture

12 things all golfers should do to show good golf etiquette

Zac Blair, professional golfer and avid golf traveler

Every golfer -- new players, to beginners, to experienced and advanced players -- needs to know proper golf etiquette. Golf etiquette is the catch-all term for the things golfers should, probably shouldn't and absolutely shouldn't do on the golf course.

Some golf etiquette behaviors are just common sense, while others aren't as obvious. Some golf etiquette is kind of silly and is probably best followed at a golfer's discretion. Much of golf etiquette, though, is totally reasonable and makes good sense to follow.

So what are some examples of good golf etiquette? Here's our list of the golf etiquette behaviors every player should follow.

12 great examples of golf etiquette

  1. Play ready golf: Play golf when you're ready to play. When it's not your turn, make sure to do everything you can to be ready to play immediately when it's your turn. Most preparation for a golf shot can be done while someone else is playing. Take no more than 45 seconds to play your shot once it's your turn. Really, it's 30 seconds.
  2. Don't hit into groups in front of you: Yes, we're trying to keep up and keep moving, but don't be in such a race that you could injure or anger groups in front of you. Make sure you're only hitting when you know you won't interfere with the group in front of you. If you can't hit, let others go in front of you.
  3. Replace your divots: When you take a divot with your swing in the fairway or other short grass, make sure to put that turf back into the ground after your shot and give it a good stomp to keep it in place. If you can't replace the turf or are playing with Bermudagrass, make sure to put some of the pre-mixed seed that facilities will give you for your cart or bag.
  4. Rake the bunkers: When you have to hit out of the sand (sometimes multiple times in a row), make sure to clean up the bunker for the next person by using the rake to smooth out your divot and foot prints, including your path to you shot in the bunker.
  5. Fix your ball marks (plus one other): When your ball hits the green from any kind of distance beyond 50 yards, you're going to make a ball mark. Find that spot and fit it with a divot repair tool, gently working the edges to the center with pulling up or tearing the grass. Then find another ball mark that some other person didn't fix and clean that one up, too.
  6. Don't walk in someone's putting line (directly or through line): It's rude and potentially game-altering to step in someone's intended putting line. Try your hardest to step over or around it. And when your partners are putting, make sure not to stand behind them (until the putt is hit) or in their through line (the area beyond the cup).
  7. Know when to be quiet and out of the way: Don't talk while someone is swinging or standing over a putt. Make sure to stay out of your partner's eyesight as they swing. It's also not a good idea to stand directly behind someone as they swing. Generally, don't be a distraction
  8. Limit mobile phone use: Keep your phone on silent or vibrate, taking only important/emergency calls. Limit how often you look at your phone for other purposes, including emails and other messages.
  9. Handle the flagstick the right way: When tending the flagstick, get out of the way of any potential players who could be putting your way. If you're the closest player to the hole when everyone gets on the green, your job is to pull the flagstick, putting it down on the fringe. If you finish the hole first, grab the flagstick off the ground and put it back in the cup when everyone is done.
  10. Know the Rules of Golf: The Rules of Golf are complicated, but you should know the basics, including how to handle penalties for hitting in hazards and out of bounds.
  11. Don't be a jerk: Every group of golfers has their own standards for decorum, but it's generally a bad idea to swear like a sailor, throw or break clubs, whine a lot or not interact with the other people in the group whatsoever.
  12. End-of-round greeting: When the round is over, shake hands with your partners or do a fist bump or wave or give a hug. That's just good practice.

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is a scratch golfer...sometimes.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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