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The basic rules of golf etiquette

As a beginner, you may be focused on perfecting your swing and getting the ball into the hole, but it's important to remember that golf is not only about skill but also about etiquette. Meet Mark, a passionate golfer who has been playing for years. Mark believes that good golf etiquette is just as important as having a great swing. 

He tells a story about a time when he was playing with a fellow golfer who was new to the game. This golfer had a powerful swing, but lacked knowledge of the etiquette expected on the course. As they got onto the first green, the beginner golfer unknowingly walked across another player's putting line, a major faux pas in golf.  The group they were playing with exchanged uncomfortable glances, and Mark took the opportunity to gently explain the importance of avoiding other players' putting lines in order to maintain a respectful and fair game.

Throughout the round, Mark shared more tips with his new golfing companion - always repair your ball marks (and one other if possible!) on the green, how to be mindful of the pace of play, and the importance of respecting the dress code if it's observed that the club. By the end of the round, the beginner golfer had not only improved his swing but also gained confidence that they could be playing the next round in a bigger tournament and they wouldn't have a problem playing golf out on the course!  

Understanding and practicing golf etiquette not only shows respect for the game, but also respect for the other players and the golf course itself.  Whether you're a beginner or an experienced golfer, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the basic rules of golf etiquette.

Keys to Courtesy:

  • Beginner golfers should learn and abide by the fundamental rules of golf etiquette.
  • Proper conduct on the golf course includes maintaining a respectful and quiet atmosphere and playing at an appropriate pace.
  • Understanding the dress code and dressing appropriately is an important aspect of golf etiquette.
  • Specific etiquette guidelines apply to putting greens, such as repairing ball marks and raking bunkers.
  • Practicing good golf etiquette enhances the overall golfing experience for everyone involved.


Conduct on the Golf Course

When it comes to playing golf, proper conduct on the course is essential to creating an enjoyable experience for all players. Understanding and upholding golf etiquette not only shows respect for the game, but also ensures a smooth and efficient pace of play.

The Importance of Golf Etiquette

Golf etiquette is a set of unwritten rules that govern behavior and conduct on the course. By adhering to these guidelines, you contribute to a positive atmosphere and help maintain the golf course's pristine condition. It's important to remember that golf is both an individual and a community sport, and observing proper etiquette is key to preserving the integrity of the game.

Maintaining a Respectful and Quiet Atmosphere

One of the core principles of golf etiquette is to maintain a respectful and quiet atmosphere on the course. By keeping noise to a minimum, you allow other players to focus on their shots and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings. 

Avoid unnecessary distractions, such as talking loudly, and be mindful of others' concentration.


Taking Care of the Golf Course

Another important aspect of golf etiquette is taking care of the golf course. Treat the course with respect by repairing any divots you make on the fairway and replacing your ball marks on the greens. Practice good bunker etiquette by raking the sand after you've played your shot. By leaving the course in better condition than you found it, you contribute to the overall enjoyment for future players.

Playing at an Appropriate Pace

Pace of play is a significant consideration in golf etiquette. Playing at an appropriate pace ensures that everyone on the course has a fair and timely round. Be conscious of your position on the course and keep up with the group in front of you. If you fall behind, allow faster players to play through. This not only helps maintain a smooth flow of play but also reduces frustration for you and your fellow golfers.

"Golf etiquette is not just about rules; it's about showing respect for the game and those around you."

By following these guidelines and practicing good conduct on the golf course, you can enhance your golf experience and contribute to a positive and enjoyable atmosphere for all players. Demonstrating proper etiquette shows your respect for the game, the course, and your fellow golfers, fostering a welcoming and inclusive community on and off the fairways.

Dress Code Guidelines

When it comes to golf, proper attire is not only a matter of style but also a reflection of respect for the game and your fellow golfers. Adhering to the dress code is an essential aspect of golf etiquette. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced golfer, here are some tips to ensure you are dressed appropriately on the course.

Appropriate Clothing

When choosing your golf attire, it's important to opt for neat and well-fitting clothing. Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight, revealing, or distracting to others. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Collared shirts are preferred for both men and women. T-shirts and tank tops are generally not acceptable.
  • Women are encouraged to wear golf skirts, shorts, or slacks. Avoid mini-skirts or overly casual shorts.
  • Men should wear tailored shorts or slacks. Avoid jeans, denim shorts, or athletic shorts.
  • Trousers or golf pants are appropriate for both men and women.

Footwear and Accessories

Choosing the right footwear is crucial for maintaining stability and comfort during your game. Here are some recommendations:

  • Wear golf shoes with soft spikes or spikeless shoes to protect the course.
  • Avoid wearing athletic shoes, sandals, or flip-flops.
  • Don't forget to wear socks that cover your ankles.

As for accessories, it's best to keep them simple and functional:

  • Avoid wearing excessive jewelry or accessories that could interfere with your swing.
  • Wear a hat or visor to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Carry a small bag or backpack to keep your essentials like golf balls, tees, and water.
  • Bring your Mobile device loaded with 18Birdies, good at over 40,000 courses worldwide. 

Importance of Being Well-Groomed

While the focus on the golf course is primarily on the game itself, it is still important to maintain a well-groomed appearance. Here are some grooming tips:

  • Ensure your hair is clean and neatly styled.
  • Keep facial hair well-groomed and trimmed.
  • Remove any distracting or offensive body piercings.
  • Apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

By adhering to the dress code and maintaining a polished appearance, you show respect for the game, the course, and your fellow golfers. 

A well-dressed golfer exudes confidence and contributes to a positive atmosphere on the course.

Wear collared shirtsAthletic or casual shoes
Choose neat and well-fitting clothingRevealing or distracting clothing
Wear golf shoes with soft spikesJewelry that could interfere with your swing
Keep facial hair well-groomedExcessive body piercings
Wear a hat or visor for sun protectionMini-skirts or overly casual shorts

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Mastering the Greens

When it comes to golf etiquette, proper conduct on the green is crucial. It's important to follow specific guidelines to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for all players. Here are some key points to keep in mind when on the green:

Repairing Ball Marks

One essential aspect of putting etiquette is repairing ball marks. Ball marks can cause damage to the green and affect the smoothness of the surface. 

When you reach the green, take the time to inspect the area for ball marks. Use a ball mark repair tool or a tee to gently lift and repair the mark. Push the edges of the mark towards the center, avoiding lifting the soil. By repairing your own ball mark and possibly a few others, you contribute to maintaining the quality of the green.

Raking Bunkers

If you find yourself in a bunker, it's imperative to leave it in good condition for the next player. After playing your shot, take a moment to rake the bunker. Start by entering at the lowest point and rake towards the center, carefully smoothing the sand. 

Once you leave the bunker, your presence should be undetectable, ensuring fairness for all golfers who encounter the same hazard.

Taking Turns While Putting

On the green, it's essential to respect the order of play. Normally, the player whose ball is furthest from the hole putts first. However, if another player is already set up and ready to putt, it is common courtesy to allow them to go first. 

Be attentive and aware of other players' positions and readiness to putt, and always wait until it's your turn before approaching the ball.

"By adhering to proper golf etiquette on the greens, you contribute to the overall enjoyment of the game for yourself and your fellow players."

Mastering the greens and following the etiquette ensures a harmonious and respectful atmosphere on the golf course. By repairing ball marks, raking bunkers, and taking turns while putting, you show consideration for both the game and your fellow players. Enjoy the green and play with integrity!


As a golf beginner, understanding and practicing good golf etiquette is essential for a smooth and enjoyable experience on the course. By adhering to the basic rules of golf etiquette, you not only show respect for the game but also gain the confidence to play alongside more experienced golfers.

Throughout this article, we have covered various aspects of golf etiquette, including conduct on the golf course, dress code guidelines, and etiquette on the greens. Remember to maintain a respectful atmosphere, be mindful of the pace of play, and take care of the golf course by repairing ball marks and raking bunkers.

To further enhance your knowledge of golf rules and etiquette, consider exploring additional resources such as books, online articles, and golf tutorial videos. Familiarizing yourself with the rules and glossary of the game will help you navigate the golf course with confidence and build a solid foundation as a beginner golfer.

So, embrace the spirit of golf etiquette, enjoy your game, and continue to evolve your skills as you embark on your golfing journey. Happy swinging!


What is golf etiquette?

Golf etiquette refers to the proper conduct and behavior expected of golfers on the golf course. It includes respecting other players, taking care of the course, maintaining a good pace of play, and adhering to the dress code.

What are some basic rules of golf etiquette for beginners?

As a beginner, it's important to follow these basic rules: keep quiet when others are hitting, avoid slow play by keeping up with the group ahead, repair divots and ball marks, be aware of your shadow on the putting green, and follow the dress code set by the golf course.

What should I wear when playing golf?

The general dress code for golf includes collared shirts, golf pants or shorts, golf shoes with soft spikes, and a proper belt. T-shirts, jeans, and athletic shorts are typically not allowed on most courses. It's always best to check the specific dress code of the golf course you will be playing at.

How can I improve my pace of play on the golf course?

To improve your pace of play, make sure you are ready to hit when it is your turn, keep up with the group ahead, limit your practice swings, and avoid spending too much time searching for lost balls. It is also important to be prepared with the necessary equipment and have an understanding of the game's rules.

What is the proper way to repair ball marks on the green?

When repairing ball marks on the green, use a divot repair tool or tee to carefully lift the edges of the mark back toward the center. Avoid lifting the center of the mark directly, as this can cause further damage to the grass. Gently press down on the repaired area with your putter or foot to ensure it is level with the surrounding surface.

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