Given that people all over the world come to the U.S, to play the game, it’s no surprise that there are more than 30 million active golfers playing today. Golf is a relaxing and challenging sport that brings people together and can be a solo adventure between you and a landscape. So long as you know all of the written and unwritten golf etiquette, you can play anywhere in the world.
Follow these 5 unwritten rules to ensure you have the best time imaginable.
1. Show Up Early
Most people think their tee time is when they should be pulling up into the parking lot. However, if you’re having to book a tee time with a course, they’re likely jam-packed with potential golfers looking for a spot. On top of that, you’ll need to put on your cleats, find your players, and grab yourself a drink at the bar.
To do all of this, you’re going to have to show up 15 minutes ahead of tee time. Believe it or not, this is a customary, if unwritten, rule to golf etiquette. Better yet, you could show up a half an hour early to take some practice swings, hit a few balls at the range, and make sure you’re fully equipped.
So many golfers show up for their 12:00 tee time at 12:05, with no tees on them, in need of balls, and unprepared to start playing. If you do this, you push everyone else back and leave your fellow golfers waiting.
With more experienced golfers, you’re going to be dealing with people who have a routine. They’re more likely to show up a half an hour early and be wondering why you’re not also showing up early. No one wants to rush to the first tee, so get there early no matter what.
2. Don’t Look Forever On a Lost Ball
Plenty of golfers will spend half a day looking for a lost ball rather than throwing their handicap off. While it’s good to take some time to look for a ball to keep the game going, you can’t spend forever. You shouldn’t spend more than 10 minutes looking for a lost ball.
If it’s a money issue, you’re losing $2 to $4 on a ball for a golf game that’s cost you hundreds. It’s not really worth the money to worry about the ball.
It’s fine to look in tall grass and check out bushes for your off the mark shot, but you shouldn’t spend too much time. If you suspect you’re taking up too much time for other players or they’re looking to move on, read the room, so to speak. If they’re fed up, keep it moving, drop a ball, and take the mark.
If the shoe is on the other foot, make sure you take some time to help other players look for their lost ball. Another pair of eyes could make all the difference when you’re standing out there in the hot sun looking for a little white ball. Lending a hand ensures you might actually find the ball after all.
3. Use a Tee To Choose The Order
When you’re first teeing up at the first hole, no one wants the honor of going first. With everyone else watching, thinking about their own first shot, it’s a little bit intimidating to take your shot first thing when the round starts. However, you can fairly determine the playing order and start things off a little bit lighthearted.
Stand in a circle and throw a tee up in the air. When it lands, whoever it points to when it lands is going to go first. Keep repeating and shrinking the circle until you get to the last two golfers.
Once you’ve eliminated everyone and made a playing order, everyone is going to be a little more relaxed. You’ll find that entire rounds start off much more smoothly when you fairly find a way to determine the order. With everyone uptight and unsure who should go in what order, you’re going to a have a lot more of a struggle to get moving.
4. Silence is Golden
While it might seem like common sense or even a tired cliche, it’s nice to be considerate to other players by offering their silence. While it’s a little bit of a pressuring tactic for some players, most players like the chance to start their game in silence when possible.
Even when someone is taking practice swings in front of the ball, give them a chance to focus on what they’re doing. This is especially important for novice golfers who don’t play very often and have a hard time getting into the flow of the game. It takes a few holes before they’ll feel ready to play.
While you might be using golfing as social interaction and a way to catch up with friends, there’s a delicate balance to chatting and being conscious of players. Hit pause on your conversations when it’s time for someone to swing. Walking and driving your golf cart are similar in their ability to distract so pay attention to the other players around you at all times.
5. “Ready Golf” Is Best
Lots of players like to go from a set of rules as far as who should hit a ball and when. Typically, the person further from the hole goes first, then you advance closer to the hole. However, if you’re playing casually, just pay attention to the other players.
You can play ready golf and just hit your ball whenever you feel so long as you know that everyone is paying attention. Your only real fear is hitting someone with a ball, so if everyone has their head up, it’s not a real issue.
Golf Etiquette Rules are Easy To Follow
So long as you remain aware of the other players on the course, it’s easy to follow most golf etiquette rules. The main issue is that you know where the other player is and that they know where you are at all times.
For more of the real benefits of learning to play, check out our latest guide.