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Golf etiquette

Golf etiquette is a mixture of courtesy, safety and commonsense. Regardless of experience or level of play, every golfer is expected to abide by the same code of behaviour.

Course care

Fairways: If you take a divot, it is up to you to repair the damage. Carry a sand bucket (if available) and fill the divot with sand, or replace the turf and press it down. Bunkers: Look after the bunkers as follows: 1. Enter and leave the bunker from the lowest point. 2. After playing, smooth the area and any footprints using a rake if available. 3. If a rake is not available glide a shoe in a half circular motion until the area is smooth. 4. When leaving a bunker, do not pile sand. 5. After use, return the rake in accordance with club policy (either in the bunker or outside the bunker) in the direction of play. 6. Do not place the rake against the inside edge of the bunker as this may cause difficult lies to other players and potentially awkward Rules situations. Greens: Try to avoid walking close to the hole or walking on the putting lines of your partners. Be careful not to damage the green with the flagstick or by leaning on your putter. Most importantly, repair plug or pitch marks as follows: 1. Commence at the back of the pitch mark and push forward with a pitch mark fork or tee. 2. Attend to each side of the pitch mark, easing the turf forward to replace the damaged area. 3. When undertaking the repair, turn the pitch mark fork towards the damaged area. 4. Do not lift the pitch mark fork or tee upward bringing soil to the surface. 5. Complete the repair by tapping down with a putter. 6. A correctly repaired pitch mark is important to the health of greens and for smooth-rolling putts. Incorrectly repaired pitch marks can take twice as long to heal. 7. Repair any other damage such as spike marks at the completion of the hole. > Click here for illustrations of how to repair a pitch mark

Golf Carts

Keep away from green surrounds and teeing grounds. Do not drive through damaged or wet areas. Drive only where directed. Check with the Pro Shop regarding any other course rules.

Pace of Play

In a group of four players, an 18-hole round should take about four hours. So, here are some tips to ensure this time will be achieved: Walk quickly to the tee and between shots. Be ready to play when it is your turn (select your club and plan your shot while others are playing). If you have the honour, tee off as soon as it is safe to do so. Limit practice swings to one and pre-shot routines to a minimum. If your ball may be lost or out of bounds, hit a provisional ball. If a ball cannot be found immediately, let the group behind you play through. Leave bags and buggies where they can easily be collected walking to the next tee. Where possible, hole short putts without marking and lifting your ball. Leave the green quickly.

Safety and Consideration for Others

Most of this is commonsense, but as a reminder: Before a practice swing or playing a shot, ensure that no-one is standing too close to you. Before hitting the ball, make certain that the people in front of you are out of range. If your ball is headed towards someone else, shout FORE golf’s universal warning to take cover. Take responsibility for your own safety too. Make sure you don t walk too close to a swinging club or get in the way of flying balls. Try not to move, talk or create disturbance or noise while others are playing a shot. Ensure your shadow does not distract other players, particularly on the putting green. Do not stand too close or directly behind the ball, or directly behind the hole, when a player is about to play. Remain near the green until all players have holed out.


Most golf clubs, particularly private ones, have specific rules relating to minimum dress requirements both on the course and in the clubhouse. If you dress in neat, casual attire you will be suitably dressed in most instances, however football or tennis shorts, thongs, singlets, t-shirts and jeans are generally not permitted. Don t be afraid to ask what you should wear if you are going to a course, or have a look at the club website. A phone call could make sure you look the part and avoid embarrassment.