As an intern at a golf company, you may think I go golfing every chance I get. That is far from the truth. I do enjoy the sport of golf, however, I have only been golfing a handful of times in my life (you don’t need to worry about what my score was). What you need to worry about is how to act. Are you like me and heading out to the golf course for the first time? Don’t know what to wear? How to act? Don’t worry, I got you covered. Here are my top 5 golf etiquettes to follow:
1. Dress the Part
Before heading out to the course, I did not know what to wear. It was probably the first time in my life that I struggled with deciding what to wear. I think I stood in front of my empty closet looking for the appropriate golf attire. I even Googled “What to wear golfing”. After deciphering between my clean and dirty clothes I went with a pair of khakis and a polo with a spring jacket. It was early September and an early tee time so it was still chilly out on the course. Most golf courses may have a dress code so it is always important to check beforehand. Also, regardless of dress code, leave the sandals, ripped jeans, and crazy patterned pants at home.
2. Make a Tee Time, then Make the Tee Time
7:00am wake up call. On a Sunday. Rough (no pun intended). However, we wanted to make sure we got back in time for the Patriots Bills game so an early tee time was necessary. Not all golf courses require a tee time. However, if you do not reserve a tee time, you are taking a risk of waiting for other groups before you get to go. If you do make a tee time, make sure you are there on time. If you miss your time, you are more than likely to have to wait for a new tee time, which could take hours. It is also a good idea to make sure the course is not hosting a tournament. When we went, we did not check and had to drive an extra 45-60mins to another golf course.
First and foremost, make sure you bring plenty of tees and balls. Out on the course for the first time, it is not about what your final score is, but how many balls you manage to bring home with you (I think I lost a total of 5 balls my first time). Next, the clubs. There are a lot of them. All I knew was when to use the driver and the putter. After that, I did not know when to use the 5-iron, 9-iron, or a wedge. If you have patient playing partners, don’t be afraid to ask them which club to use. Some golf courses even have rules on the amount of clubs you can have. The rules place a limit of 14 clubs in each golfer’s bag. In fact, I learned that sharing clubs is against the rules too. So much for sharing is caring.
4. Keep Up the Pace
We have all been miniature golfing before and got stuck behind a slow party in front of us and had to wait at each hole. It can get frustrating. It can also happen on the real golf course. When out there, keep the round moving by being ready to hit your ball when it is your turn. Do not wait until it is your shot to sit there and figure out what club you should use. Do not spend too much time looking for a lost ball. Not only will you get frustrated, but you should have plenty of extra balls you can use. If you are in no rush to get home, allow a faster group to move ahead of you.
5. Course Care and Safety
If you’re like me, you will be doing a lot of whacking at the golf ball. For me, I think grass divots went farther than my ball did. When this happens, pick up the sod that you’ve chopped up and place it back in the resulting scrape. I don’t know whose idea it was to put pits of sand in the middle of golf courses. But they are there, and for some, they are unavoidable. If, more like when, you land in the bunker there are just some proper etiquette rules to follow. After you take your hacks at the ball, make sure you rake the bunkers to smooth out the sand. Most golf courses have a rake handy and only takes a few seconds to do. This ensures other golfers are not playing in your footprints. Too many golfers are hit in the head by a golf ball because somebody did not yell the four letter word (no not that one), “fore”. If you see your ball is slicing and heading for a group of golfers, yell ‘fore’ to give them a warning a projectile missile is heading their way.
Golfing was meant to be enjoyable. On your first time out on the course do not worry about your score. Follow these tips and it will ensure you have a good time out there and you’ll be hooked. Lastly, have fun!