Posted: May 20, 2011
Now that the weather has improved, I have had time to work on my golf game. And it's at this time of the season when I am reminded about some of the things that occur on the links as it relates to golf etiquette.
When I first started playing golf 20 years ago, my competitive nature caused me some embarrassing moments. For instance, I remember throwing a club and cursing because I made a poor shot and not realizing that two elderly ladies were within range to see and hear my childish behavior. I have not thrown a club since and my verbal outbursts have become almost non-existent.
I have never abused the privilege to drive a motorized cart on the golf course, but I have witnessed some disturbing activity. For whatever reason, some players drive on the fairways as if they are trying to qualify for the NASCAR circuit. Others ignore cart paths designed to keep golfers the proper distance from the greens.
Golfers come in all shapes and sizes, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't look the part. Essentially, players should wear the proper attire. Fashion statements can still be made on the golf course, but they don't include clothes with holes in them, flip flops or hats on backwards.
The general rule of thumb when deciding whether to let someone "play through" is to look ahead at the group in front of you. If there is a hole ahead of you with nobody playing, and someone is constantly waiting for you to hit your shot, then you should let the player(s) behind you get ahead of you.
But one of the most important rules of golf is that players must be willing to be paired up with one or two strangers. When the golf course gets busy, the person managing the pro shop must be able to control his/her inventory in the most efficient manner. This means that a pair of friends may play their round with someone they've never met.
One of the best parts of the golfing experience is meeting new people. That can be scary for some, especially when golfers of varying talent levels get paired up. But the personal friendships and business networks that can develop as a result of a round of golf can be rewarding.
Golf etiquette can be summed up in four phrases: Respect others, Appreciate the course, Look the part and Make a new friend.
Enjoy the season.