ASK ANY GOLFER what their personal pet peeves are and be ready for a long list! Each person has their own hot buttons that set them off although there are a few universal items.
The second book of The Golf Rules series explains over two-hundred of these etiquette issues that infuriate golfers and describes the proper way to handle each item through a humorous story of a municipal golfer who wins a fundraising raffle to be a country club member for a day. Read along as Nicholas has his golfing manners put to the test.
Many people, as an example, like going to the driving range but few know how to effectively use the area or their practice time. Read how Nicholas acted in this situation.
As he entered the range he took the area directly in front of his golf bag. [Driving ranges can have many people practicing at the same time. For the protection of you and others, always stay in the designated hitting areas.] On the right side of his spaced area was half a pyramid of golf balls. Each section had their own stack. [Each range is different. You may need to get your own basket of balls from a machine, a cashier, a large can, or by some other means. If unsure how to proceed, just ask the staff for assistance.]
Some of the stacks were missing a few balls, others were completely emptied. To the front and back of each area was a gold colored rope that ran the length of the practice area. [Do not hit behind or in front of roped-off areas. This is for the safety of you and other golfers as well as for care of the course.]
Nicholas began to warm up with his 9-iron, taking a few practice swings at first. Then, gently, he took a few balls from the top of the stack and laid them on the grass to his side and began hitting them towards the many targets on the range, marked by flags. [Make sure to only hit towards approved areas and in the correct direction. Some courses have different rules depending on the type of club you’re using. A different section of the range may be designated only for the driver or long iron use versus another may only be for short iron shots.]
Have you ever seen golfers spend more time on the putting green than on the course? Even before you start your round there are proper ways to behave. Here’s another excerpt from the book.
Once he felt he was warmed up, he grabbed his wedge, his putter, and a couple golf balls and headed to the adjacent putting green. [Not all putting greens allow chipping. Look for signs that forbid this action.]
The practice putting green was very large and perfectly manicured. Nicholas pulled the golf balls from his pants pocket and dropped them on the ground near one of the many holes and began practicing short putts.
To one side of the practice putting area an older gentleman was hitting ball after ball to a hole about twenty feet away. He had a dozen golf balls next to him and there was at least that many around the hole he was aiming at. [You should only use, at most, a couple golf balls when on the practice green.]
In another area, two individuals were each putting towards the same flag, their balls rolling past each other intermittently. [Be respectful in sharing a practice cup, you don’t want to hit someone else’s ball nor confuse whose balls are whose. If possible wait until the hole is open or choose another hole to use].
In a far corner, another player was practicing long chips shots to the opposite end of the practice area. Occasionally, his chips would fly over other balls. [Take care to not hit into areas that other people are in. The last thing you want to do is hit someone.] It appeared he was there some time given the many divot marks directly in front of him. [If you are allowed to practice chip shots make sure to repair any damage you do to the turf.
In yet another area, a large man was practicing one-foot putts. His body was positioned so that no other person could putt towards the hole. [Don’t monopolize a practice cup for long periods of time. Sharing is good manners.]
Nearly everyone hates slow play, and with good reason. Golf can be a long day if you’re playing badly or partnered with an annoying individual. Here’s another excerpt from The Golf Rules-Etiquette:
Glancing towards the next hole, Nicholas saw the group ahead of them just waiting to tee off.
“Maybe we should ask them if we can play through,” he said to Charles and Billy.
“Naw, ain’t no place to go. One more hole and we hit the turn. May as well rest a bit,” Billy said. [There are times when the group ahead of you is slower than your group. If this happens, and provided the area in front of the group ahead of you is open, it may be best for everyone on the course for your group to switch places with that group. And there are times when your group might be the ones slowing play for others. There is nothing wrong or impolite about playing through another group, provided it’s done with tact and there’s a good reason for doing so.]
Related to golf etiquette and the rules of golf, there’s little professional education available that’s enjoyable and affordable, which means that you are at the mercy of learning from your friends and those you golf with. Luckily, The Golf Rules series allows you to laugh while learning so you can be the person who knows how to address situations on the course. See last week’s blog about learning rules from those who don’t know the rules themselves.
Richard Todd is the author of The Golf Rules, an entertaining and educational series of books on stroke play, match play, and golf etiquette, as well as Short Stories from the Long Links. He is a lifelong golfer, has been trained on the rules of golf by the USGA and the PGA, has been interviewed on the PGA Tour radio station, and seen in multiple print and electronic media. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and YouTube, and visit www.TheGolfRules.com for more information and to purchase his works.