Etiquette in Golf

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A disciplined sport that is played with neither referee nor umpire, a smooth game of golf hinges on the courtesy and integrity of players. There are many etiquette regulations that golfers should abide by to minimise the chances of injury, conflict, and damage on the course.

Injury prevention

It is each player’s responsibility on the course to make sure that no one, nor any other ball, stone, branch, or potentially harmful object are close by when he or she makes a swing. The player must also issue an audible warning to anyone within range. If a ball has been hit in a direction that might endanger someone, the player must call out the cautionary term, “fore”.


Players and spectators alike on the golf course should not make any unnecessary noise and movement, nor bring in any electronic devices that might disturb others. Other rules include a ban on teeing out of turn, and the prohibition of standing close to a ball or hole when it is someone else’s turn.

Each playing group also has a duty to match the pace of play of the other groups on the course as much as possible. If any group is unable to do so due to various circumstances, and is creating or expects to create unnecessary waiting time for the other groups, it should let the group behind them through to play ahead of them, regardless of the number of players. Single players also count as a group.

Everyone on the golf course must always be alert, and not dawdle when it is their turn to play. All golf carts and other belongings should be positioned at convenient spots in order to facilitate quicker movement of the group to the subsequent tee.

Protecting the golf course

All holes, footprints, and any other irregularities in a bunker should be properly filled and smoothed over by the group that caused it before they move off. Divot holes (torn up parts of the turf) and other damage that the golfers might have inflicted on the surface of the putting green, even minor ones caused by shoes, bags, and flagsticks, must be repaired by themselves. Golf club heads must not be used to remove balls from holes. All flagsticks must also be returned to their original positions before each group leaves.

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