12 Golf Course Etiquette Guidelines

Golf Course Etiquette
It’s all about respecting other players, staff, the course, and the game. The rules of golf etiquette include repairing divots, raking bunkers, not talking during swings, staying on cart paths, and following dress codes. The game is more enjoyable when you learn the art of being silent and always ready to play.

1. Dress Appropriately

Like tennis, golf is a sport that has a dress code. Golfing dress code includes a collared shirt, tailored shorts or pants, and golf shoes. Avoid wearing denim, gym wear, and flip-flops on the golf course. If you don’t dress appropriately, you might have to buy golf attire at the course before you can play.

2. Respect Course Conditions

This is crucial to maintaining the game’s integrity and the golf course’s beauty. Here are some ways to avoid damaging the grass, raking bunkers, and replacing divots while playing golf:

  • Avoid taking practice swings on the teeing ground or green. The teeing ground and green are delicate parts of the course, and practicing your swing on them can damage them.
  • Replace divots. When you take a swing and remove a chunk of grass, replace it. 
  • Rake bunkers. If your ball lands in a bunker, rake the area after you’ve hit your shot. 
  • Walk in the designated areas. Courses have set paths for golf carts and foot traffic. Avoid walking or driving on the grass, especially in areas with thin or fragile grass. 
  • Avoid using clubs as a tool. Using your golf club to probe the ground or remove obstacles can damage the turf.

3. Follow Cart Rules

men driving golf carts on designated path
Men driving golf carts on a designated path

Drive golf carts only on designated cart paths or fairways and never on tee boxes, greens, or other no-drive areas. When driving a golf cart, be aware of other players on the course and exercise caution when approaching other groups. 

You should drive at a reasonable speed and not recklessly or in a manner that could endanger other players or their property. 

4. Play Ready Golf

Ready golf means that you’re always prepared to play. Playing ready golf helps to reduce the time spent waiting for your turn and can make the game more enjoyable for players and spectators.

The rules are:

  • Lining your putt before it’s your turn.
  • Thinking about the shot you’re about to play in advance.
  • Not playing in a caravan.
  • If you lose a golf ball, hit your first shot before looking for the lost ball.

5. Mind The Pace Of Play

Being mindful of the pace can help speed up play and keep everyone in your group engaged and interested in the game. Follow these tips:

  • Be ready to hit when it’s your turn
  • Leave the green promptly
  • Use proper ball search techniques
  • Walk quickly between shots
  • Be aware of your surroundings

6. Do’s And Don’ts Of Golf Etiquette on the Green

Golf etiquette is an essential aspect of the game that helps promote fairness, respect, and enjoyment for all players. Here are some dos and don’t:

Do’s ✅Don’ts ❌
Always repair any ball marks on the green to ensure a smooth surface for all players.Don’t leave the flagstick leaning against the edge of the hole, as it can cause damage to the green.
Stand still and remain silent when another player prepares and executes their putt.Don’t walk through another player’s putting line, as this can interfere with their concentration.
Allow the player who is furthest from the hole to putt it first.Don’t take practice swings or make divots on the green.
Rake the sand traps (bunkers) after use to leave them in good condition for the next player.Don’t throw clubs or act out in frustration, as this can distract other players.

Taking care of the flagstick is also an important aspect of golfing etiquette. Here are some tips on how to handle it:

  • When removing the flagstick, gently lift it straight out of the hole to avoid damaging the green.
  • After putting, gently place the flagstick back in the hole, making sure not to lean it against the edge of the hole.
  • If the flagstick is leaning or bent, straighten it or notify the course staff so they can fix it.

7. Respectful Other Golfers

Avoid talking or making unnecessary noise while a player prepares to hit the ball. Never hit your ball until the group ahead of you is out of range, and avoid hitting or rushing them.

Always watch your ball and be aware of where it lands. If you see someone searching for their ball, ask if you can assist. A simple “nice shot” or “well done” can make the game pleasant.

8. Stay Off Your Cell Phone

While playing golf, it’s important to remain as quiet as possible. You should never talk on your cell phone during a round of golf. If you need to make a call or send a text message, do so when out of earshot of other players. 

If you have an emergency that requires immediate attention, let the group ahead of you know so they can wait for you at the next tee box.

9. How To Golf With Friends

three friends playing golf
Three friends playing golf

Golfing with friends can be an enjoyable experience if you follow basic golf etiquette rules and keep the conversation light. Here are some tips on how to make your golfing experience more enjoyable:

  • Don’t criticize your friends’ shots: Golf can be challenging, and nobody likes to be criticized for their performance. Instead, focus on positive feedback and encouragement to help your friends improve their game.
  • Be mindful of noise: Avoid loud conversations and turn off your cell phone or put it on silent mode.
  • Be respectful of golf course rules: Each course has its own set of rules and regulations, so be sure to follow them.

10. Watch Your Temper

One important aspect of golf course etiquette is keeping your emotions in check. It can be easy to get angry or upset after a bad shot, but it’s important not to let that ruin your round. 

There are ways to control your anger, such as taking deep breaths, using positive self-talk, and taking a break if needed.

11. Keep The Course Clean

Respecting a golf course means not littering, not walking on the grass, picking up trash, fixing divots, and raking bunkers.

Keep away any equipment and leave the course as clean as possible. This gives the staff an easy time in preparing the course for the next game.

12. Respect Course Staff

Respecting the course staff includes appreciating them by thanking them for their work, following their instructions, and not interrupting their work. Report any course-related issues, such as damaged course conditions or faulty equipment.


Tabitha is a curious and enthusiastic writer who believes in the power of words and the importance of good manners. Etiquette is her passion, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

Recent Posts