by Jeff Skinner
We all know there are plenty of rules in golf. The USGA and the R & A are the custodians of the official rules of the game. However, there are more rules, customs and guidelines that govern golf. These “unwritten” rules fall into the category of golf etiquette. These are the habits all golfers should follow to make the game more enjoyable for everyone. Arnold Palmer gives us his “10 Rules for Good Golf Etiquette” in a piece by Guy Yocom in Golf Digest. If they are good enough for the King, they are good enough for us.
Don’t be the slowest player. Play ready golf and keep up with the group ahead of you.
Keep your temper under control. Don’t throw clubs. It never helps.
Respect other people’s time. Always make your tee times, don’t cancel at the last minute.
Repair the ground you play on. Leave the course looking like you own it.
Be a silent partner. Stand still and quiet while others are playing, respect putting lines.
Make your golf cart ‘invisible’. Leave no trace of where your cart has been.
Always look your best. Dress neatly and smartly on the course.
Turn off the cell phone. Keep phones turned off and use them only if absolutely necessary.
Lend a hand when you can. Helping out your fellow players is part of the game.
Learn the little things. There are a hundred little bits of etiquette to learn.
Arnie has the right idea here, and I have another suggestion to add. Golfers should always mark their golf balls. It only takes a few seconds to put a mark on the ball so you can easily identify your ball. I was playing recently when a golfer came over from an adjoining fairway and stood next to my ball thinking it was his. He didn’t even know what kind of ball he was playing. After I told him it was mine, because I can see my special mark, he went on his not so merry way looking for his obviously unmarked ball. I never put a ball in play without marking it first. I don’t care if it is a new, used or recently pulled from a creek, I mark the ball. As my partners and I teed off on the eighteenth hole, that same golfer drives over to one of our shots and get ready to hit it. Again, it was one of ours and he had no idea what brand of ball he was playing. My suggestion was to mark his ball the next time. He drove off in search of another lost, unmarked ball. Get with the program. One Sharpie and two minutes gets you a dozen marked balls and avoids any confusion later.