Golf Course Etiquette for Beginners

If you love golf as much as we do, you’ll know there’s nothing worse than a game ruined by someone that doesn’t understand golf etiquette. We welcome players of all abilities and even provide coaching, so we know a thing or two about steering beginners in the right direction. However, it’s always best to arrive at West Essex Golf Club prepared to blend in. With this in mind, let’s dive into golf course etiquette for beginners.

Be Punctual

Golf etiquette starts before your tee time. Being punctual is the easiest rule to get right, but it’s not good enough to show up just as your fellow players are about to take to the first tee box. Make sure you arrive about 20 minutes beforehand, as this gives all players time to check in, stretch, and take to the range.

Follow the Cart Path Only

Golf carts make getting around the course feel like a breeze and help speed up games, but there may be path rules to follow on the day. Before you head to the golf course, check with a member of our team to find out if you need to stick to the cart path, which typically happens during the winter and in wet conditions.

The Three Ball Warm Up

If you want everyone in the facility to know you’ve never played before, then show up to the putting green with a giant tub of range balls. However, if you want to blend in well and level the playing field, stick to the three-ball rule and be sure to use your own golf balls.

Silence When Players Hit

The perfect shot takes a lot of concentration, which is why it’s common etiquette to be silent during hits. While you’re standing at the tee ready to swing, you’ll hear the smallest of twigs snap, so even the faintest of whispers can be distracting.

Only Talk to Your Ball

Some golfers like to talk to the ball, whether that’s shouting at it when it’s flying through the air or before that all-important hit. Although it’s okay to talk to your own ball, you should never talk to your competitor’s ball. For example, if you shout out, “Steer clear of the pit” before a ball has had chance to land, you may irritate other players.

Standing or Walking Behind a Player on the Green

Aside from staying silent when players are hitting, not standing or walking behind a player on the green is the second most important rule of etiquette. If you have a player standing behind the line of sight, it can be extremely off-putting and may lead to miss hits.

Think Before You Walk

While we’re on the topic of putting etiquette, we must express the importance of thinking before you walk. Even though the rules now mean spike marking can’t be blamed for mistakes, you still need to avoid stepping across a player’s putting line; steer clear of the through line also.

Keep the Game Snappy

A fundamental flaw in traditional golf is slow play, which is why the rules have been changing to speed up the game. Therefore, regardless of your play quality, make sure you play the game fast. If the next group is ahead, you can tee it forward to speed up the pace of play.

The Three-Minute Hunt

When it comes to the dreaded lost ball, spending too long hunting for it can slow down the game. To keep delays to a minimum, new rules were introduced in 2019 allowing players only three minutes to find stray hits. Once the time is up, simply announce it to the group and play a provisional ball – it’s only a golf ball at the end of the day.

Be Prepared

Whenever you’re out on our course, make sure you play ready golf. Essentially, this means being ready to take your turn when it comes around. By playing ready golf instead of honours, you’ll find it’s much easier to maintain the correct pace.

Put the Phone Away

Since smartphones and technology rule lives these days, golfing etiquette has evolved to take them into account. Essentially, you should steer clear of your phone as much as possible. If you can’t leave it behind, make sure it’s on silent to avoid disturbing the game.

Yelling Fore

Having an awareness of where other people are on the course is essential, as the last thing anyone wants to do is take a ball to the head. Therefore, if you see your ball hurtling toward members of the group in front, shout fore as loud as possible. When you’re in a crowded area, add “left” or “right”.

Ball Mark Fixing

When you hit the green according to regulation, you most likely left a ball mark behind. To avoid ruining the course for other people, learn how to repair your ball mark using a specialist tool. This involves putting the tool into the ground around the hole and pulling it inward gently, and then just smoothing it over with the end of your club.

Understand the Rules

The fundamentals of golf are the same, but every group likes to play by a set of rules. Therefore, before your group starts playing, make sure you’re all clear on the rules of golf including any extra considerations like involving money.

Playing golf is a lot more enjoyable when everyone is on the same page, so familiarise yourself with the golf etiquette outlined above before you arrive. Book a tee time today at West Essex Golf Course.