Golf Course Etiquette: How to Behave on the Golf Course

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Wipe your feet, no elbows on the table, use your indoor voice. These are just some examples of the kind of manners and etiquette that our parents taught us while growing up, which teaches us how to act properly when out in the real world.

Much like in other walks of life, there is a certain way that you are expected to conduct your self when at the golf course. Should you not follow the unwritten rules of the course, then you are likely to get many an unwanted stare and potentially a bad reputation among golfing peers.

Seeing as you don't want to be caught with your pants down (both literally and figuratively) here are a few rules of etiquette to follow when out on the golf course.

range game to course

10 Tips for Better GOlf Etiquette

1. The Lay of the Land

Before playing a round of golf, and especially when playing in a new location, it is important to know the layout of the golf course. Knowing Hazard locations, dog legs, and pin locations can not only help you to plan out your golf game but will keep you from looking like an inexperienced or careless golfer in the eyes of your fellow competitors.

2. Know the Terminologies

Any golfer worth their weight in golf balls knows the difference between a birdie and a bogie or what a chip shot is. Knowing the terms used in golf helps to show a golfer's experience with the game, and it is important to know these words so that you aren't left in the dark when your buddies start trying to give you score penalties you've never heard of before.

3. Greet Your Competitors

While not as important when playing a casual golf match, if you play in tournaments it is essential that you meet-and-greet all of your fellow competitors. This not only is a courteous gesture, but it helps you to familiarize yourself with types of golfers that you will be playing against.

4. Know the Rules

Chances are, especially if you are playing competitively, you know the rules of the game of golf. Even so, try to make sure that you are familiar with all the various rules and nuances of the game so that you don't find yourself in trouble for making stupid and avoidable mistakes.

In conjunction with this, make sure you are familiar with how scoring in golf works. While you may know how strokes are added and subtracted from your score based on your performance on the hole, it is important to know how things such as handicap and penalties will affect your score so that you can plan your game accordingly.

5. Proper Gear and Attire

Should you find yourself on the golf course using the wrong kind of gear or wearing attire not suited for golf, it may garner you a bad reputation. Know what you need to have in your bag and what to wear before heading out to play so that you don't arrive for your game unprepared.

This includes wearing attire that is casual but golfer friendly, such as polo shirts, shoes that can hold ground even when the ground is wet, and having enough golf balls and tees in your bag to last the round.

6. Protect the Course

While it sometimes can not be avoided, try not to do too much damage to the course grounds while playing. If you chop up dirt and grass making your shot, try to replace the dirt or smooth out the ground. The same goes for damaging the green, using a divot tool to keep the grass on the green as smooth as possible.

Aside from damage, try to keep any garbage you may accumulate in a trash receptacle or in your bag until the end of play. Never litter on the golf course, as this not only makes the course look ugly but can make you look like a slob and can even result in being banned from the course.

7. Keep Your Eyes Open

If you are like me you may be a bit on the clumsy side. To help prevent you from injuring yourself and others as much as possible, pay attention to the action going on around you. This will make it possible for you to avoid hitting fellow golfers with your golf balls or being beaned yourself.

8. It's Not Rush Hour Traffic

Golf carts can sometimes be a lot of fun to drive around as you zip across the course from hole to hole. While driving your cart, try not to drive too fast and make sure that you are aware of other golfers and objects on the course. Doing this can help protect both the cart and your fellow golfers.

9. Keep Up the Pace

Despite how it may seem, golfers are not always the most patient of people, especially if someone else is wasting time on the course. Try not to hold up any golfers as you play by keeping up your pace and not standing around too much. If you think you may play slower than some of the other golfers, let them play through the hole you are on before you take your turn. This helps to keep the game moving and prevents unnecessary delays.

10. Good Sportsmanship

 Of everything in this article the one thing that best displays your character is your sportsmanship. No one likes a gloater, so try to be humble in victory and treat fellow players with respect. On the flip-side, try not to be a sore loser either. Being sour about a loss will make you seem like a whiner, and other people may avoid playing against you as a result.

throwing golf clubs


Golf is a sport that everyone can get into and enjoy, but that doesn't mean that you can go on to any golf course and start acting like a fool. Following the tips above, you will be able to act appropriately while golfing, which will help you become a respected and valued member of your golf community.

Denny Putsh
Denny Putsh

I’m a golf enthusiast just like you and have been playing the game since I was 12 years old. Although I love watching the PGA Tour and following my favorite stars on tour I’m also fascinated by all of the unique and innovative products that are associated with the game I love. It's my greatest joy to share my fascination with golf gadgets, equipment, training aids, and golf accessories with fellow golf lovers on all levels.


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