do’s and the don’ts
Keep carts on paths at all times – this is a rule that courses use if the ground is very wet and they don't want the tires of the motorised carts to damage the fairway grass. 90 Degree Rule – this rule requires you to stay on the cart path until you are even (at a 90 degree angle) with your ball. Then you may drive your cart straight out to your ball. When you've taken your shot, drive straight back to the cart path. Adhering to this rule minimises damage to fairway grass as well, but still allows golfers to drive right up to their ball. Always, under all circumstances, keep all carts, motorised or pull-carts away from the greens and off the teeing ground. Often the course will post signs giving directions as to where they want you to park your cart; follow the directions.
Keep Moving If golfers have to wait too long in between shots they get impatient and they lose their momentum. So here are some things you can do to maintain a good pace of play:
Don't wait until your turn to start thinking about what club you will hit, or whether to go over the water or lay up to it – be ready in advance.
As you approach the green determine in which direction the next tee is located and leave your clubs on that side of the green.
When playing from a motorised cart, if one player is on one side of the fairway and the other player on the opposite side, drop one player off at his or her ball with a choice of a few clubs, then drive to the next player's ball and meet farther down the fairway, after both have hit their shots.
Keep up with the group ahead of you. As they leave the green you should be ready to hit up to the green. Don't worry about how far ahead you are of the group behind you, focus on staying a reasonable distance from the group ahead.
Play "Hit When Ready" golf whenever it's appropriate.
If you are not playing golf in an actual tournament or other sanctioned event, it is okay to play "ready golf."
Ready golf means the golfer who is ready to hit can do so even though he or she may not be farthest away from the hole. Just agree ahead with the others in your group that you will play ready golf when it makes sense. That way they won't think you are just unaware of the rules. It is good courtesy to acknowledge that you are playing ready golf to move things along.
Ready golf can really help to speed things along, but before you hit be sure that everyone in your group knows that you are going to hit and that you are aware of where everyone in your group is. You certainly do not want to hit someone who is not paying attention, nor do you want several people hitting at one time.
Attire Call the pro shop if you have any questions about attire. Classic dress for men: slacks, collared sport shirt, golf shoes. Classic dress for women: kneelength skirt, collared sport shirt, golf shoes. A wide-brimmed hat, a visor, a bandana, and sunscreen are fashionable preventatives for skin cancer. At clubs, use available locker facilities. Golf or tennis shoes, please.
Equipment A good swing can hit any club. Good used clubs are readily available. Take a "test drive." X-outs are an honest bargain. Find out if your bag is for walking or riding? (small/big)
Getting Started Play the course at low tide: weekday and weekend afternoons. Par-3 and executive courses won't take all day. Call for a tee time and be prompt. Call and cancel your tee time if you can't make it. Never carry your clubs into the pro shop. You must have your own bag; no sharing.
On the Practice Green Harvey Penick had a way of emphasszing the importance of putting practice. He'd point to a crowded range, then look back at the people putting on the practice green and say, "These people [on the green] are going to take their [on the range] money." Even if you're not putting for dough, diligence on the practice green is usually rewarded with lower scores.
The inescapable truth is that a missed 18-inch putt counts the same as a 270-yard drive: one stroke. The buck in golf stops on the putting green. A cursory glance at history reveals that all great golfers have been great putters.
Practice greens are usually free and open to the public. Golfers share an affinity with fishermen who always keep their gear close at hand; their putter is never far off. You'll often see people slipping in a few putts at lunch or on their way home from work still dressed for the office.
Golf attire is not required to use a practice green; proper shoes are. Don't step on a green without them. Actually, it's a good idea to stay off the green unless you are putting. Walk around rather than cross over on your way to the clubhouse, pro shop, or car.
The practice green differs in several respects from the green on the course, but the etiquette considerations are the same.
Several holes are cut into a practice green to accommodate many golfers at once. It can get crowded, but there is no reason why they can't be comfortably shared with a little consideration. As you might expect, loud or boisterous behavior will not be appreciated. A practice putt sunk from downtown does not merit a celebratory lap exchanging high-fives.
More than one person can putt to the same hole. It is discourteous, however, to tie up a hole that you're not using. This can be easily done without thinking. After you've retrieved your ball, move far enough away from the hole you've finished so others have a clear shot. One golfer, oblivious to others, can tie up two, even three holes at once. A packed practice green still has empty usable space. Move to an area of the green that doesn't have a hole cut in it and you'll be able to putt in peace. Practice touch and feel, gauging how hard a stroke it takes to sink a three-, four-or five-foot putt. Or putt two or three balls in clusters. As is true with the greens on the course, practice green holes are regularly rotated to offer different putts from one day to the next.
Go ahead and hit some long putts (60 to 70 footers) if the practice green is empty. When it is crowded, courtesy insists that you shoot from closer range (15 to 20 feet or less).
Go! Consider the average foursome. If each golfer individually wastes five seconds per shot and shoots 90, that adds up to..how many minutes? Seven and one-half minutes. Correct. And that's per golfer. Now, without any other mishaps, how many minutes does that add to the length of the round? Thirty minutes added to the length of the round. Thirty minutes wasted, and that's before you include thrown clubs, lost balls, the cart girl, mulligans, plumbobbing, etc. No wonder the four-hour round is going the way of the eight-track tape.