Q I’m new to the game and feel like I’m walk­ing on eggshells ev­ery time my group is on the green. I’m afraid I’ll do some­thing wrong. Any eti­quette ad­vice?

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

AFor starters, this is not a good time to crack open a cold one or tell that joke about the lawyer, the car sales­man and St Peter.The putting green is a sa­cred place in golf, and the No 1 thing to re­mem­ber is that you should be quiet and still when some­one else is putting.The other rules of con­duct are more am­bigu­ous and vary from golfer to golfer, but you’ll make more friends than en­e­mies if you don’t step on the path an­other player’s ball will likely take to reach the hole. Nor should you step on the path a ball might take should it go a few feet past the hole( known as the through line ). An­other po­lite ges­ture is to walk be­hind – not in front of – a per­son when he or she is read­ing a putt. Fi­nally, if you’re play­ing with strangers or “purists,” mark and lift your ball if they would likely see it when it’s their turn to putt.

Why do pros use steel-shafted irons in­stead of graphite?

Based on per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, we’d have to say that steel looks bet­ter when it’s he­li­coptered through the air af­ter top­ping a shot into a pond. But the real rea­son is per­cep­tion, says Keith S bar­baro, Tay­lor Made’ s vice pres­i­dent of tour oper­a­tions. “Most be­lieve the only ad­van­tage graphite has over steel is less vi­bra­tion,” he says. “So play­ers who use graphite do so be­cause they have wrist, hand or el­bow prob­lems.” Some also be­lieve graphite isn’t as con­sis­tent, but play­ers like Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker pre­fer it. Un­like tour play­ers, most av­er­age golfers need all the swing speed they can get, and graphite shafts gen­er­ally help you swing your irons faster. Less vi­bra­tion on those shanks and chunks is a bonus.

What is the eti­quette on lin­ing up a putt while some­one else is putting?

If we had it our way, all four golfers would putt at the same time. Let’s keep it mov­ing! Se­ri­ously, it’s okay to pre­pare for your turn while oth­ers are putting. Just be smart about it. Do what­ever you need to do un­til they stand over the ball ready to hit the putt. Then be still. There’s plenty of time in those other mo­ments when you can get ready.

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