When it comes to a new high school golfer stepping foot on a golf course for the first time, it can be an intimidating experience. What do I wear? How should I act? What do I do on the course? The game of golf has certain “norms” or rules that should be observed by all golfers. If you are newer to the game, here are some tips to practice the best etiquette on the golf course.
Each golf course can differ when it comes to their dress code. Private clubs will typically be more strict than public golf courses. A good rule of thumb for men would be to wear a collared shirt “polo” and khaki shorts/pants with golf shoes. Try to avoid wearing denim if possible. For women, a collared or collarless golf shirt, skirt, khaki or colored shorts/pants. I would recommend calling the course before arriving to confirm.
When arriving at the driving range, make sure that you provide enough room between yourself and the golfer next to you that you do not interfere with their swing. If you do play music, try to keep it at a level that does not disturb other golfers and use headphones to avoid distractions. Lastly, there is a proper way of making sure you take the least amount of turf when making divots.
When arriving to the tee box, it is important to introduce yourself to the other members of the group you will be playing with. Identify the golf ball that you will be playing (and try to use a sharpie to put an identifying mark on it that is unique to you.) If you are walking, keep your golf bag off the teeing area (closely mown grass) and stand on the side of the tee box that the golfer is facing, rather than directly behind them. If you take a divot on the tee box, be sure to replace the divot or use a sand mix if available.
Fairways & Rough
As you are hitting your golf shot in the fairway, be sure to replace any divots that are taken. If you are walking, try to keep pace with your other playing partners, don’t walk too far ahead or behind. Whoever is the farthest away from the hole will hit their shot first and so on.
If your ball ends up in a bunker, always enter at the lowest point. After you hit your shot, be sure to take the rake that is nearest to you and rake any footprints or marks that were left to ensure the next golfer has the same conditions you had. When raking, always rake the sand away from you rather than pulling the sand toward you.
The putting green or greens are the most fragile surface of the entire golf course and it’s important to treat them with care. When walking on a green, pick your feet up to avoid dragging your spikes and leaving marks. If you make a ball mark on the green, be sure to fix it. Similar to the rest of the course, the player who is the farthest away from the hole goes first and so on and so on. It’s important to have a ball marker or coin with you in your pocket so you can “mark” the ball when your other playing competitors are putting.
Hopefully, some of these above tips and advice will help you as you head to the course to practice your best etiquette and practices. Talk to the upperclassman and more senior members on your team if you are unsure of any etiquette practices. Be safe, and have fun!