Golf Etiquette

How to behave on the golf course

Golf isn’t just about mastering your swing – it’s also about respecting the traditions of the game. Practicing good golf etiquette allows everyone on the course to have an enjoyable and positive experience. 

Whether you're a seasoned golfer or just starting out, it's essential to understand the rules and know how to behave on the course. To help you navigate the greens with ease, here are a few tips on golf etiquette.

Arrive in good time
Don’t get your round off to a bad start by turning up late. Your playing partners won’t thank you if you put them on the back foot before you’ve even struck a ball.

Aim to arrive at the course at least 30 minutes before your tee time so you can hit some warm-up balls and chat to the others in the group. 


Dress appropriately
Golf courses enforce a dress code to uphold certain standards, ensuring that players both look the part and respect the traditions of the game. Typically, this dress code includes:

- A collared or golf-specific shirt.
- Trousers, tailored shorts, or a golf-appropriate dress or skirt.
- Golf shoes.

However, the strictness of the dress code can vary from one course to another, with some venues allowing a more relaxed approach to attire. It's wise to check the specific dress requirements of the venue before your visit. Items like denim, athletic shorts, tracksuits, T-shirts, and trainers are often not permitted, but not every golf course insists on traditional golf wear. 

Despite the variations in dress codes, maintaining a neat and tidy appearance is a universal expectation across clubs. This ensures that the dignity of the sport is preserved while allowing for some flexibility based on the location.


Show respect for the course
When it comes to golfing behaviour, always respect your fellow players and the course itself. Keep the noise down and avoid chattering during someone's backswing. Also watch where you position yourself on the green when another player is preparing to putt. It’s bad golf etiquette to stand in someone’s line of sight or distract them with your shadow.

Don't litter or damage the course – and be sure to rake bunkers and fix any divots or ball marks you make because it’s not possible for the greenkeeping staff to follow every group around.


Avoid slow play
The pace of play is another important part of golf etiquette. We’re not suggesting you whizz around the course in an hour, but you should at least try to keep the pace respectable. Use your time in between shots to work out which club to use next so you’re strike-ready. 

If you find you’re falling behind the group in front, the best thing to do is allow the group behind to play through to avoid holding them up.


Put phones on silent
Imagine the scene… your phone rings just as another player is about to hole a putt. You won’t be winning any popularity contests any time soon, never mind golf competitions. 

Be mindful of using your mobile phone on the course. If you must use it, you should do so quietly and away from earshot of other players. And avoid taking calls during play. If you want to instil good golf etiquette, keep your phone on silent or vibrate to minimise distractions.

After your perfectly behaved round, it’s customary to shake hands before heading to the clubhouse for a bevvy or two. Now that’s a tradition we can get behind!