Etiquette – behaviour on the Course

Selection of main points from the Rules of Golf


The Etiquette of golf represents guidelines which, when followed, provide maximum enjoyment for all players, based on the over-riding principle of showing consideration to others on the course at all times.


Spirit of the game

For the most part golf is played without an umpire/referee – it relies on the integrity of players, who should demonstrate courtesy and sportsmanship and abide by the rules at all times in a competition or in a casual round.



Players should ensure that no-one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by a club, the ball or stones/pebbles/divots, etc. Players should not play until the group in front is out of range. If players approach a double green, this requirement holds for all persons on the double green, even if they are not part of the group in front.

Explanatory note: The ‘out of range’ requirement implies that a strong player should not hit towards a par 3 green until the group in front has moved away from the green and are not in a position that a reasonably struck ball could come near to them. For players that could not reach the green even with a well-struck ball or for players laying up this requirement may be interpreted differently. However, at no time should the anticipated end position of a well-struck ball come closer to any other playing group than a safety distance not less than 50 m.

If a ball is struck such that danger to others might inadvertently occur, an immediate warning shout (normally “fore”) should be made both by the player and his playing partners. Such a shout shall always be made if the trajectory of the ball is unknown or cannot be followed, for example if the ball passes though or over some bushes or other obstruction, even if it is unknown if any persons may be close to the trajectory of the ball.


Consideration for others

Do not disturb other players by moving, talking etc. Do not take active electronic devices, especially mobile phones , on the course. Do not stand close to others, or directly behind the ball or the hole, when a player is about to play. Do not tee up until it is your turn to play. Do not stand on, or cast a shadow over, the line of an opponents putt.


Pace of play

Play at a good pace, keep up with the group in front. If you lose a hole and delay the group behind, invite the group behind to pay
through, no matter how many players in the flight.

Be ready to play as soon as it is your turn. Place bags/carts in a position such that quick movement in the direction of the next shot / next green is
possible. Leave the putting green immediately once players in the group have holed out.


Lost balls

If it is possible that a ball is lost outside a penalty area, play a provisional ball. If it is apparent that a ball might not be easily found, let the group behind play
through – do not wait until the allowed 3 minutes have passed.


Care of the course

Rake bunkers after use – even if the marks were made by others. Enter the bunker in such a way that damage to the steep slopes is minimized, and always well away from the anticipated line of play. Rakes shall be placed inside the bunker after use, but in such a way that they can be retrieved without entering the bunker. Replace your divots , or those of others if you find them. Repair your pitch marks , and those of others if you find them. Do not place bags or trolleys on or adjacent to the greens. Place the flagstick down onto the green gently to avoid damage. Replace flagsticks properly before leaving the green. Do not lean on your putter whilst waiting on a green.