Golf is a sport that is most frequently associated with the refined, gentleman and wealthy businessmen, and although this is not really the case with all golf players there is certainly a particular image that players are expected to maintain on and off the course. Golfers must follow the rules of etiquette, in order to maintain the high standards that are expected of them, and while there are many finer points of etiquette that can take many years to fully learn and understand there are a number of basic rules that you should know from the beginning.

One of the most important things that you should be aware of are the rules of etiquette that are in place for your own safety, and of course there are obvious reasons as to why you are expected to be aware of these.

  • Take steps to avoid hitting other players

Even if the risk is not high you should not put other players at risk, regardless of whether or not you think it will be fine. When players are moving around ahead of you and there is a chance that your shot could cause harm to someone else on the course you must simply wait until the risk has passed.

  • Yell ‘fore’ when placing others at risk

If, due to come unavoidable situation, you do accidentally place another player in danger you must yell “fore”. This not only warns them that there is potential danger (namely a golf ball flying in their direction) but also acts as an apology for the act of putting them in danger. If they were not hurt this is usually the only exchange that is needed, if they are hurt you should be sure to apologise properly.

  • Be aware of your surroundings

There are two ways you should be aware of what is around you; firstly making sure that you are not in someone else’s way – this will prevent you from being injured as a result of a stray ball and also shows consideration to the other players on the course. Second you should watch out to ensure you know where you’re walking; there will be occasions when you encounter a divot that has not been replaced or fall off a bunker, these incidents are more frequent occurrences than most golfers like to admit and can easily be avoided simply by paying more attention to where you are going.

If you are confident that you are away of the key points that will ensure your own safety you can start to worry about your consideration towards others and ensure that you are providing them with the appropriate manners to ensure the enjoyment of everyone on the course.

  • Follow the course requirements

All golf courses are managed differently because they are all owned and managed by different people; there is no way of knowing what rules will be in place without first reading them so you should be sure to check. Of course some rules will change depending on the conditions, such as those regarding the use of carts and the areas in which you are allowed to use the carts. General attire and footwear requirements can also change depending on the course so these should be checked; you can do so by calling the course or checking the website before you set off.

  • Fix as you go

The golf course isn’t just for you; there are plenty of other people who want to be able to enjoy a day on the course and you can help by repairing the damage you do to the course as you go. Repairing your divots is just the beginning; you should also repair your ball marks on the green and rake the bunkers after taking a shot from one (most courses will keep a rake close to the bunker for this purpose if they want the players to aid in the maintenance). You can even help to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place by avoiding making divots on practice swings and not walking on the steep side of a bunker where possible.

Kate Critchlow is an enthusiast young writer with a more recent passion in golf, particularly UK golf courses.

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