Understanding Golf Etiquette

In golf, there are certain basic rules of the game that you should be aware of and a certain etiquette that you should practice whilst on the golf course.

Like many other sports, the game of golf does have its potential hazards and dangers and you should always ensure that you conduct yourself in a manner that minimises these potential hazards and danger occurring to you or others on the course.

Remember that when you are on a golf course, there are always other golfers on the course either in front or behind you. Making yourself familiar with the basic rules of golf and the certain etiquette that is expected on the golf course, will hopefully help you enjoy a safe round of golf.

Golf Etiquette For Beginners

Becoming familiar with proper golf etiquette is something that every golfer needs to know and practice while out on the golf course.  This page is designed to provide you with the basics of golf etiquette and is designed to teach you how to practice appropriate etiquette on all areas of the golf course.

Before You Arrive

1.      Before arriving at the course, it is always recommended to call ahead and book a tee time.  This lets the golf course know that you’re coming and will ensure that they don’t give other golfers your spot.

2.      If it is a new golf course that you have never played before, you should contact the golf course to check for any specific regulations that the golf course may have, as far as dress code, wearing proper golf attire, collared shirts, pants and what types of shoes you are required to wear.

Golf Attire Etiquette

Being generally respectful of the other people in your group, the people playing in front of you and the people playing behind you, is all you need to remember.  Just practice the golden rule.  ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and you will be fine.  Don’t hit into the group in front of you and don’t hold up the group behind you.  That’s the easy way to practice proper golf etiquette.

Wearing The Proper Appropriate Attire On The Golf course

As we mentioned previously, it is always a good idea to check with the golf course in advance of their dress code and what you are allowed to wear or in many cases, what you are expected to wear.

Most clubs or courses have specific rules and regulations regarding dress code. Howver, if you are in doubt or cannot get in contact with the golf course to which you are playing at, below is a basic guideline as to the attire that is usually accepted or expected:

Shirts: A collared shirt (or a mock turtleneck that the majority of courses will allow) and most courses will require your shirt to be tucked in and not hanging outside your trousers.

Trousers: Trousers, not jeans. Most golf course do not allow jeans.

Footwear: Golf shoes (with soft spikes which is now required by all clubs and courses(), although a large number of golf course do allow trainers with a flat sole. Do not turn up in boots or shoes with a heel.

On The Course

Teeing Ground Etiquette.

When you first arrive at the Tee Ground or Tee Box Area, you will want to establish who has the honour on the tee (who plays the first) and the order of play for the entire group. So, what you should do, is flip a tee in the air and let it land on the ground. Whoever the tee (pointed end of the tee) is pointing at, has the honour on that hole. If there are several people playing in your group, then simply continue the process of throwing the tee in the air until the order of play is determined. As you can see from the tee it was pointing toward Keith so he has the honour on this hole.  As well as establishing who plays first, you will also need to practice the etiquette that is expected in the Tee Box area and this is as follows:

  • Never stand too close to the person playing their shot and never stand in front of them. Also ensure that you are out of their sightline or peripheral/field of vision and the best place is generally behind them and to the left or right side depending on whether the player is right handed or left handed. If the player is right handed, the ideal place to stand is about 10-15 feet to their left and if the player is left handed, about 10-15 feet to their right. This makes sure that they have a clear view and that you can also see the shot and where their play goes.
  • Be quiet whilst the person is preparing and taking their shot. Don’t make noises such as tapping your clubs on the ground or against your foot, fidgeting around in your bag or rattling your loose coins or keys in your pocket.
  • Don’t talk or shout to the person as they are about to take their shot or in full swing.


Ensure that you try to play your game as quickly as you can because there may be other golfers playing behind you. It may be that the golfers behind you are playing their game quicker than you and are waiting for you, especially if there are more people playing in your game than theirs. If this is the case, it is polite to wave them on and let them play through. You should never take any more than four and a half hours to play eighteen holes of golf.

While you’re out on the course, you want to make sure you are quiet while other people are playing their shots.

You want to make sure that you never stand in front of anybody as they get ready to hit their golf shot.

Whenever it is your turn to hit your shot, you need to make sure that you are ready and you take your time when hitting the shot but do not take any more time than you need.

If there are people playing in front of you, always wait until they are out of sight and if you over hit your shot and you think that your ball is going in their direction, shout ‘FOUR’ and let them know.

Golf Etiquette On The Putting Green

1.      You are going to begin by taking the flag out of the flag stick.  Making sure not to damage the edges of the cup.

2.      You are now going to gently place the flag stick on the ground making sure not to throw or drop it.

3.      You are then going to check your line of path to walk so that you know you are not in anybody else’s way.  Seeing that the path is clear, you can walk over and mark your golf ball.

Whenever you get to your golf ball, you want to take a coin or a ball marker and gently place it behind your golf ball, making sure not to move your golf ball.

After marking the ball, you can pick the ball up,  so that anybody else that is behind you is not in the way of your golf ball.

Proper golf etiquette is a very, very important part of the golf game, ensure you always abide by it and you will enjoy your game and allow other golfers to enjoy theirs!


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