There are many great lists out there to help golfers understand the standard behaviour on the golf course. Many are well written and all are within easy reach of a google search. We at International Design Group have compiled a list of the most important elements of golf etiquette as a means to better enjoying the course, other golfers and the game of golf.
Show respect to beginners and junior golfers
These people are quite possibly the future of golf! Be patient: golf is a difficult and complicated sport to play even moderately well, so don’t harass them. Unless, for example, juniors are being a bit cheeky, then the odd wedgy is all part of the learning curve.
No golf war stories
Your playing partners don’t need to hear your longwinded anecdotes unless they are truly extraordinary. Stories about reaching a par 5 in two shots, or finishing with back-to-back birdies are definitely highlights of any golf round, but good golf chat, they are not. If, on the other hand, your golf shot did actually warp the laws of physics for the briefest of moments, exploded in an epic fireball or killed a unicorn, then by all means regale us with your tales.
Don’t be an equipment bore
If it was really about the equipment then most of us would be able to beat Rory McIlroy 10 and 9, but we can’t. The equipment is important but telling everyone about every single development isn’t any help to anyone’s game and is unlikely to ingratiate you with your playing partners who are still playing irons found in their grandparent’s garage.
Getting 5 hours to play golf at the weekend is hard in the modern world, so don’t waste your playing partner’s time; keep moving between shots and think ahead. Standing around muttering about a bad shot will leave you vulnerable to a wedgie.
You are responsible for your concentration
It’s happened to all of us: somebody makes the faintest of sounds during your swing, barely audible to the human ear, and the resulting disaster is then firmly pinned on the person who was the source of the sound. It is your responsibility when to start your golf swing, and sometimes we get distracted, get over it. Other than Goldfinger, golfers will rarely intentionally distract one another. The bottom line is that it’s your job to keep your concentration and if you can’t deal with that you should leave the field of play.
Don’t hold grudges
Something has upset you on the golf course; this happens to us all, get over it and move on. You are just a grownup enjoying some spare time. The only time that it is understandable (but still not acceptable) is when your name is on the bag and you need a pay check to pay for your next teeth-whitening appointment. If somebody is irking you with their war stories, ponderous progress or the latest zing-ding daddle-lob putter then just don’t play with them next time.
If you are going to insist on dressing like a colour blind pimp who is worried about being knocked down in a road traffic accident, that is OK, but the rest of us do reserve the right to mock you. Repeatedly. And long beyond the point that it is actually funny.
Smile, you are supposed to be having fun! There is an element of fun and challenge in absolutely every golf shot, even if it is your 5th putt. Displaying an attitude of enjoyment and embracing the challenge, will gain you respect with others and your golf will get better too. ‘I respect the way that golfer throws a tantrum when they don’t hit the shot they want to’ has literally never been said on a golf course, by anyone, ever.
Lastly, contrary to what you might think, you do have to go to the bar afterwards.
Andrew Craven is a Group Director and Golf Course Architect at International Design Group. At the weekends he can be found stomping around the hallowed turf of The Wiltshire Golf and Country Club, usually in a sulk, and dressed in the same tones as an emergency response vehicle.