A Beginners guide to golf etiquette

A Beginners Guide To Golf Etiquette

Golf is the game you love to hate. In general, you are competing with yourself and it is exhilarating and frustrating all at the same time. Golf takes time and practice but is a wonderful way to get out and enjoy Mother Nature. A beginners guide to golf etiquette will get your first few rounds off to a great start.

On a busy day, the course is full of golfers at all levels. Slow play requires some patience, and you want to do your best to keep your round moving.

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Be Early For Your Tee Time

It takes time to get to the starter. You need to find the bag drop, many courses will have someone there to get your bags out of your car and set them up in your golf cart (don’t forget to tip them). After you park your car, you need to check in at the pro shop. Next you need to find your clubs and cart, then find the starter. You should be in your cart, by the starter, and ready to play five minutes before your scheduled tee time.

A Beginners guide to golf etiquette
The Sixth Hole at Oyster Reef Golf Club, Hilton Head

Who Goes First

Off the tee, the winner of the previous hole hits first. On the fairway and the green, the player who is farthest away from the pin hits first.

Body Language

When another player is hitting, stand still and be quiet. It is good to watch them hit and try to follow their ball so you can help find it if needed. Stand away and behind the hitter to avoid getting plunked by the ball.

Taking a practice swing or two is important for planning your shot and preparing your muscles. However, taking five practice shots is irritating to other players, chews up time, and is unnecessary. The driving range is the best place to swing, swing, swing.

Be Ready

A Beginners guide to golf etiquette
Fairway at Robber’s Row, Port Royal Golf Club, Hilton Head

While you are waiting for other players, decide on what club to hit and grab it from your bag. If you are waiting to putt, size up the break of your putt while others are putting.

If you need to chip near the green, grab your club(s) of choice and your putter. This will save you from going back to your bag after you chip. Just remember to collect all your clubs when you finish the hole.

Scoring Is For Players

Seriously, if you are hitting over 100 shots in a round, then you don’t need to keep score. A good rule of thumb, if you shoot three over par on a hole, you are done. For a beginner that can be tough, but remember there are 18 holes and that translates to a lot of swing time.

Playing all 18 holes can be challenging for a beginner, especially if the course is full and there are players waiting. Try practicing a few different parts of your game. For instance, hit off the tee (1st shot) then pick up your ball up, unless it’s a great shot and you have a chance at a good score. Next, work on your chipping, drop your ball off the green and chip on (2nd, and maybe, 3rd shot). Putt (up to three more shots). Playing this way could add up to six shots or more and you haven’t hit any balls in the fairway. Once you feel confident in these shots, add some fairway shots to your game.

Quicker Players

Perfect putting skills!

The pace of the game is important. It can be a long day if you are following a very slow group. A typical round of 18 hole golf should take about four hours, and nine holes would take about two hours.

When the course is full, there will be some waiting time at the tee, it can’t be helped. However, if you have a group behind you that is always waiting for you to finish a hole and there is no one in front of you, let them play through and be on their way. You will feel less pressured and they won’t be hitting balls at you.

Tiding Up

Replace your club divots. You can retrieve them, place them root side down on the divot you created, and give them a firm pat with your foot.

If you hit into the sand trap, make sure to rake up your ball tracks and foot prints when you have finished.

If you bounce your ball on the green, repair the dimple by gently lifting it up with a tee.

When you remove the pin flag, place it gently on the green. After your group has finished putting, return it to the hole.

Lost Balls

As a beginner, use inexpensive balls. You are going to lose them all! If you can’t find your ball, let it go and take a drop. Don’t spend any more than three minutes looking for a ball.

Dress Code

Golf is all about tradition. The dress code at most courses follow these simple rules, with stricter rules at more exclusive clubs. You can check with the pro shop for specifics.

In general, women’s golf attire options are skirt, skort, shorts, or pants with a collared shirt. For men, shorts or pants with a collared shirt. Sneakers are fine if you don’t have golf shoes.

Jeans, cutoffs, leggings, t-shirts, tank tops, and sandals are generally a no go.

Have Fun

The goal is to have a great time with your friends, enjoy the fresh air, and get a small amount of exercise. Be kind to yourself, relish your best shots, and forget the rest.

If you find yourself dreaming about golf, then it may be time to plan a trip to Scotland or Northern Ireland. We didn’t play any golf but we did enjoy Northern Ireland’s Natural Beauty and we did see a lot of sheep!

Golf is steeped in tradition. It has been around since the Old Course at St. Andrews was built 600 years ago. Golfers love the game and welcome newbie players to join their ranks. Golf takes time and practice and a beginners guide to golf etiquette will help you get your game on.

Hit ’em straight!

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  1. This was so fun to read because I do not play golf. I have tried and failed miserably so I consider that a life skill I will not have (and its okay). I love to watch it – live at a tournament and I completely respect the complexity of the skill. So thank you for your post but I will continue to just watch – ha!

  2. I’ve actually never played golf before, but I do try to keep some of these in mind when I mini golf! Patience is definitely required, so I assume a great deal is required in an 18-hole or other game.

  3. Your post brought back some wonderful memories I carry with me of my late father and I out on the golf course. Sadly, I was never cut out for the sport, but I loved the chance to hang out with him on the links just the same. Thank you so much!

  4. This is good stuff to know. I haven’t golfed since I was a kid and I have wanted to give it a go again but felt a bit intimidated. Now I feel more prepared, thanks for sharing.

  5. My husband played for the first time in years a few weeks ago. He really wants to start getting out there more. It’s helpful to know the etiquette!

  6. I’ve wanted to try golf and I always bow out because I’m too nervous about the rules and that I’ll miss something. What a great idea for a post for those of us who don’t know what we’re doing LOL!

  7. I’ve never played golf before, sounds like there is a lot more going on than I ever imagined!

  8. This is such good info. Golf always intimidates me and knowing the etiquette changes your confidence.

  9. I used to work at a golf course and didn’t know anything about golf before. These are great tips.

  10. Although I don’t golf, this is a wonderful guide to the etiquette for us newbies!

  11. Wow! I didn’t realize there were guidelines to follow with this sport. I remember as a kid going golfing with my dad. I was the “caddy”. No cart and I hated it. I did enjoy your article.

  12. Great guide! Especially for someone like me who knows nothing at all about golf! Had no idea about a couple of those points!

  13. Great tips! I don’t play golf but my husband does. I’ve accompanied him on rounds of golf so I’m aware of most of these. It looks like a fun sport!

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