12 Manners of Golf Etiquette that Are Commonly Violated

Laurie Moore Kelech, Golf Shop Manager

Golf prides itself as a “gentleman’s game.” En the masse, golfers take this mantra to heart, adhering not only to the rules, but towards standard etiquette on the golf course and to their fellow hackers. Unfortunately, due to bad habits or general ignorance, there remains a multitude of breaches of etiquette. We are all guilty of some fallacy; it is simply a matter of understanding proper procedures. Here are 12 manners of golf etiquette that are commonly violated:

1. Showing up less than 15 minutes before your tee time

Working at other golf courses over the years, I know this drives the starter and those in the shop nuts. It potentially puts the rest of the tee sheet in danger of delay. The 15-minute period is generous. Most courses would prefer golfers be on the course 30 minutes before balls in the air.

2. Putting with too many balls on the practice green

If you are by yourself, feel free to go nuts. If the area is crowded, no more than two practice balls, or else you are hogging real estate.

3. Cart-Path only! Carry more than one club to your shot

Having to run/walk back to find the right stick will slow things up.

4. Looking longer than the three minutes for a lost ball

I say no more.

5. Talking to someone’s ball

Well intentioned as it is, it is annoying and, to some, disingenuous.

6. Standing behind someone as they putt

Stand back and out of the way.

7. Walking in a player’s “through line”

Many amateurs are unaware that a putter’s line extends two to three feet past the hole. This is essential, as if a putt misses long, the through line is where the ball will end up, and it is the path for a golfer to finish the hole out.

8. Placing bag on a tee box

Congrats, you decided to walk instead of ride. Alas, many who shoulder their sticks fail to keep their stand off the tee box. There is the potential to scuff up the hitting area, but of greater note, bags can be distracting if it is in a player’s striking vision. Speaking of bags…

9. Be mindful of where you place your bag

Put your bag in the most logical place for you to pick up and move onto the next hole.

10. Checking your phone too much

It is one thing to check a score or send a text between holes, but being continually attached to your phone goes against the spirit of being with friends or one with nature. Even if not causing an audible disruption, you are telling your group that you find them tedious and boring.

11. Gimmes

This goes in both directions. Not being charitable enough (making someone finish tap-ins every hole) or going overboard (nice that you want to give a partner a downhill eight-footer, but it is breaking the spirit of the gesture).

12. Taking a bad round out on the golf staff

Having a poor or bad round of golf does not constitute treating the staff as if they played the game for you. Have fun and be nice. It is only a game, folks!