Friday, February 22, 2013

Should Golfers Have to Pass an Etiquette Test?

A story found while searching Google News stated that nine out of ten greenskeepers believed that players should pass an etiquette test before playing golf. Ninety-one percent of players, as reported by Today's Golfer, leave a golf course in an "inappropriate state", from not repairing divots and ball marks to a basic lack of course management practices.

This lack of golf course etiquette translates even further to a lack of courtesy within the social structure of the group affecting both the spirit and integrity of the game.

This timely article sent to me (below) struck a nerve at the heart of golf courses and players worldwide. It is with pleasure that I use it as a Spring reminder as a new season of golf is in the air. Enjoy!

David Bryce is an online publisher for Golf in Branson, MO at Thousand Hills. He blogs on the topics of golf, travel, and vacations and enjoys staying at Thousand Hills cabins in Branson. Thanks to David for submitting this fundamental guide to golf etiquette.


Picture a football game, a soccer match, a tennis match up or even basketball tournament.  What do all of these sports have in common besides extremely impassioned fans? All of these sports make use of some kind of referee.  Golf, while still just as much of a sport as the previously mentioned entries, has long gone without the direct oversight of a referee.  This is because the game of golf lends itself heavily from the idea of the individual holding themselves accountable for their actions, adherence to the rules and yes, how they treat others before, during and after the game.

Vigilant of Others

Before you tee-off, golf better practices would be to take a moment to look around to make sure that you won’t be obstructing anyone else’s game.  Look ahead to make sure no one is in front of you and in the same manner of thinking, be aware of the golfers behind you.  Tee times are often flexible on courses, but spending too much time on one hole can disrupt a whole day of careful planning.

Mind the Noise

I always like to equate the golf green to the inside of a library.  It has become common courtesy over the years to be as quiet as possible while playing your round.  At approach, golfer’s require an immense amount of concentration and focus before they take their shot.  Being distracted by loud talking, yelling or laughing can throw off someone’s swing and perhaps lead to a stern talking to from course managers. Also (from GFB), either set your cellphone to vibrate or just plain turn it off!

Smooth the Sand

Launching your golf ball into a sand trap is just a natural part of the game;  frustrating indeed, but that is what they are there for.  After you take your chip shot, make use of those tiny rakes that are situated around the bunker and smooth out the irregularities you’ve made with your swing and steps as your approached it.  It’s common courtesy to leave the sand in the same condition that you found it.

Fill Your Divots

Repairing your divots after a shot is synonymous with good golf etiquette.  No golfer wants to be playing a hole only to find themselves tripping and stumbling over someone else’s mess they failed to clean up.
After you take your shot, take the few moments necessary to find your divot and then, replace it.  A lot of work goes into the design and maintenance of a golf course.  Do you part to keep the course you play on looking great for your future games and the future games of others.

The Player’s Line

The player line is a golf term that signifies the imaginary line between the player’s ball and the hole.  If you are on the green and notice that your ball might be in the way of another player’s ball, take a moment to switch it out with a coin or a ball marker as not to get in the way of their game.  When the way looks clear, go ahead and replace the marker with your ball and proceed with your game.  The rule holds true for shots taken on the putting green and on the rest of the course.  Be courteous to and vigilant of those around you!

One final note from Golf for Beginners: Be sure to yell FORE if your golf ball is heading towards another group of golfers!  Read more golf tips: USGA: Golf Etiquette 101

Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and friend on Facebook.

Photo Credit: The Girl Next Door Drinks and Swears: FORE!,  Bleacher Report


Gerry Wendel said...

No matter what the sport or situation, people should be courteous. Our society is becoming ruder and ruder. I think some etiquette in golf or any other sport, is required. All sports have rules; why not some on how to behave when playing? The objective is for ALL to enjoy and have a good time. I'm inclined to say yes here for the sake of respect for others.

Skycaddie sg4 said...

Does a golfer playing alone have to yield to all other groups on the golf course? Asked another way, does a single have any right to play through or does a single have to allow all other groups to play through despite being faster?

Thank's & Regard's

Sugy said...

Hi, I am a new blogger and I was looking for blogs on golf and i came across yours and it is wonderful. I have added your link to my blog.

I am a VERY high handicapper, but i enjoy playing all the same. I enjoy the greens, the trees, the birds while i chase the white ball!

Please do check my blog on trivial matters of golf and push me a little to continue. Thanks.

Golf Apparel said...

Thanks for your tips. I really do appreciate it. I like the moving images its so unique.

Gary Song said...

A lot of golf courses tried to remedy this in the late '60s by charging ridiculous sums for members and their right to play, which is why golf is today seen as such a middle to upper class sport. Unfortunately, with modern business even unmannered rich kids can afford to play on some of our most prestigious greens and that lifestyle has been lost.
I don't know what it takes to bring back the respect and reverence of golf, but I've been following the blog for the past few months and it seems like they're struggling with the same internal issues. They had an interesting idea similar to the etiquette test, but more of a etiquette three-strike rule. Unfortunately I don't see it becoming a viable option because can you really afford to ban your top paying members in this economy...?

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Steffen Horst said...

Having moved from the UK to the US, I really noticed the difference in Golf etiquette here. Sometimes it seems to be non existing.
However, there are no referees if two groups play leisurely Soccer. They regulate the game between themselves. The same should apply to golf too. It should be the courtesy of the group to remind individuals if e.g. they forget to repair their divot. Even the concept of smoking a cigar and drinking on the course is still very alien to me.

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