Getting better out on the course means more than just putting in hours with your golf training coach. It also means understanding the mental side of the game and how you carry yourself both on the links and off. Golf is a sport steeped in tradition, and it is important for young golfers to learn and respect the traditions of the game, especially when it comes to etiquette, no matter where you are playing. When you are in the process of learning the game, etiquette can be a major part of the lesson plan.
If you have a child that is starting to take up golf, see if your local course will allow them to tag along as a spectator so they can pick up good behavior habits. As they develop their game, they should focus on the following rules of golf etiquette and how they can help them become better golfers in the long run.
Conducting Yourself on the Course
There are many levels to golf etiquette that young golfers need to pick up. In addition to those that relate to game play, golfers must learn how to conduct themselves out on the course. It is a good idea to start early with etiquette lessons so that the information becomes ingrained, and young golfers can focus more on their training. Golfsmith.com encourages parents to bring their kids along to the golf course and “gently remind them of how the game must be played.”
As golfers enter middle school and high school, etiquette should become second nature. When it comes to conducting yourself at any golf course, whether it is private or public, there are basic rules to remember that show respect to yourself, the course, and your fellow golfers. While it is polite to play quickly to allow those in groups behind you to move forward, refrain from running to your ball or moving in front of someone while they are going to take their next shot. Remember, golf etiquette exists to not only show respect, but to also promote awareness and safety.
This also goes for how you dress when you go to the course for golf training or a full round. Boys should wear dress shorts or slacks with a collared shirt, while girls should have on pants, shorts, or a skirt, with a collared shirt. It is important to remember to never wear jeans, sweatpants, and T-shirts, and to check with the dress code of individual courses before you go. As a general rule, however, the attire mentioned previously is a safe bet for every club.
Follow Course Rules and Guidelines
Course safety rules and guidelines exist to ensure that the risk of injury is reduced, and that the course is maintained for the golfers who play each hole after you. As History of Golf notes, “safety of the players and of spectators is vital for any game to become a popular sport.” It should come as no surprise that most injuries in golf occur when people are not paying attention, and are either in the way of a shot or are hit by a flying ball from a golfer who didn’t check to see if the area ahead was clear. In order to ensure that both golfers and spectators avoid injury, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Here are a few tips to stay safe on the course:
- Swing away from Others – Take practice swings with plenty of room around you. In addition, you should face away from other golfers, as debris such as pebbles may fly up when you are practicing.
- Warn Others of Errant Shots – If you take a shot, and there is a chance it could find its way into another group of golfers, be sure to yell “Fore!” as a warning. This is the universal way to alert others so they can take cover if needed.
- Obey Cart Signs and Rules – Be sure to check the rules of cart usage with the course you are going to play to see if any restrictions are in place for the day. You should stick to the cart path as much as possible, assuming you meet the age requirements in your state to drive the cart.
Etiquette also plays into a golfer’s ability to enjoy the round that he or she is playing. Pace of play and course maintenance are points of emphasis when learning about golf etiquette. You always want to make sure you take your shots as soon as it is your turn. PGA rules also stipulate that if you play a shot into a hazard or out-of-bounds, you have a five-minute period to find the ball before having to declare it lost and taking a one-stroke penalty. Bring multiple clubs with you when you park your cart so that you do not waste time having to go back to switch. Fix divots and ball marks on the green after your shots, as well, to add life and beauty to each hole.
Why Does This Matter?
Golf etiquette makes the game more enjoyable for you and for all of the others on the course. Whether you are playing a practice round, hitting balls at the driving range with your coach, or in the heat of the final holes of a junior tournament, you will be expected to follow the written and unwritten rules of etiquette. While developing your golf skills and improving your power and accuracy is important, you will also build your reputation based on how you carry yourself and treat other golfers when playing.
Etiquette may vary slightly from place to place, but it is a good idea to learn about various rules and courtesies so that you can maximize your enjoyment on the links. This can be done not only by sharing notes with others and picking up information at the course, but also when you are in a golf training session with your coach or at a golf academy. Learn more about golf etiquette and the benefits of enrolling in an academy as a junior golfer by contacting the International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) today at (843) 686-1500.