There are plenty of rules in golf that players have to heed. Whether they are written rules set forth by the PGA (Professional Golf Association) or the golf course, or rules that are considered golf etiquette, golf rules are set in place to be followed for the safety and enjoyment of all the golfers on the course. Beginning golfers will quickly learn the need for these rules by the situations that arise during play. Golf etiquette answers questions like who hits first, what to do if you can’t find your ball and how to handle faster golfers behind you.
Play Ready Golf
It should take around four hours to finish a round of golf on an 18-hole course. That means that you have between 10 to 15 minutes to play each hole. Remember, if you waste five minutes on every hole, you are adding an hour and a half to your round. To speed up the pace of play, players are advised to play “ready golf.” You can do this by focusing on your next shot immediately after hitting. Take a good look at where your ball landed and determine where you would like it to go on the next shot. Then pick out the right club before you reach the ball. You can also speed play by parking the golf cart in between both players’ balls, so both players in the cart can walk to their ball simultaneously.
Tee Box Etiquette
Many players begin the shot before they address the ball, as well they should. This is called the “preshot routine,” when a player assesses the shot, determines a target line, checks the grip and otherwise gets mentally prepared to hit the ball. The other players should watch and follow the ball so the person teeing off does not have to lift out of the shot to see where the ball lands. However, the others in the foursome must not be in the hitter’s line of vision, not even in his peripheral vision. They can position themselves 10-15 feet to the left and slightly behind the person teeing off, for a right handed hitter. There should be no chit chat or distractions when someone is hitting. And of course, no cell phones.
Golf Cart Etiquette
When driving a golf cart, safety is of primary concern. Many golf carts have rules posted at the front of the cart such as keeping arms and legs in the cart, waiting until all passengers are seated before moving and limiting the cart use to two passengers. Carts should be kept away from the tee box and about 30 feet away from greens. Look out for signs that say “No carts beyond this point” or arrows pointing in the direction of the cart path. Golf carts should not be driven close to grassy mounds, bunkers or water hazards. Most golf courses do not allow carts on the fairway of a par 3 hole. Just like driving a car, there is no drinking and driving of a golf cart.
Caring for the Golf Course
Sometimes after a heavy rain you will arrive at the golf course for your tee time and see a sign noting “cart path only.” That means that the course is so wet that golf carts may leave an indentation in the fairway, so until the course dries out players are asked to stick to the path and walk to the ball. Often there will be a 90 degree rule. In this case, players are asked to keep to a 90 degree angle when on the course. In other words, after players tee off, they use the cart path to arrive at the ball, and then drive at a right angle to the ball, straight across. They can then drive straight from the ball to the next shot. All turns are at 90 degrees. Players must also keep the cart away from environmentally sensitive areas on the course, repair divots and ball marks on the green, and rake bunkers.
Golf Etiquette around the Green
When you get to the green, you may have one or two clubs with you such as your pitching wedge and sand wedge in addition to your putter. To save time, it is not necessary to return the clubs to the cart at this point. Simply place the clubs at the fringe of the putting green between the hole and the golf cart, away from the high grass of the rough. If you are furthest from the hole, it is your turn to hit. Make sure you do not walk into your golf partner’s line, the imaginary line between the hole and his or her ball. Simply walk around it, and hit. After you putt, check to see if your shadow is across your golf partner’s ball or line, and if it is, move. As with any golf shot, there should be no distractions like talking, moving or making noise while someone is hitting.