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Golf Etiquette

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My coworker is an avid golfer and invited a group of us to play. I've never golfed in my life. My coworker says not to worry, he'll teach us. Are there any etiquette tips for golfing?


New to the game

Dear New to the game,

As in any sport or activity, consideration should be shown to others. However, golf, unlike other sports, has no referee or umpire, and relies on the players themselves to behave in a disciplined manner.

Since your coworker is a golfer, he should assist the group in following the basic rules of the game. Proper behavior involves safety, not disturbing others, playing at a good pace, and taking care of the course as you play. If you have a cell phone, then put it on discreet setting such as vibrate.

In brief, below are some safety and etiquette tips provided by the U.S. Golf Association at

Etiquette Tips for Golfing

1. Safety:

a. Ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball, stones when they make a stroke or practice swing.

b. Do not play until the players in front are out of range.

c. Shout "fore" if there is a danger of hitting someone.

2. Consideration for Other Players: No Disturbance or Distraction

a. No unnecessary noise or movements.

b. Electronic device should not distract other players.

c. On the teeing ground, tee only when it is your turn.

d. On the Putting Green, do not cast a shadow over another's line of putt.

f. Remain on or close to the putting green until all players in the group have holed out.

3. Pace of Play

a. Play at Good Pace and Keep Up: if delaying the group behind, then invite the group behind to play through.

b. Be Ready to Play: When the play of a hole has been completed, players should immediately leave the putting green.

c. Lost Ball: If a player's ball is lost outside a water hazard, then play a provisional ball.

4. Priority on the Course

Priority on the course is determined by a group's pace of play. Any group playing a whole round is entitled to pass a group playing a shorter round.

5. Care of the Course

a. Bunkers: Before leaving a bunker, players should carefully fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made.

b. Repair of Divots, Ball-Marks and Damage by Shoes.

c. Do not lean on clubs when on the putting green, particularly when removing the ball from the hole.

d. Replace flagstick properly.

e. Golf carts regulation should be strictly observed.