Basic Golf Etiquette
Many golfers take to the sport without the basic understanding of how the game should be played. Of course, we all know that the game requires a tee, a ball, and clubs, but few golfers actually take the time to learn the proper etiquette of the game. Lacking this type of fundamental knowledge can lead to tremendously embarrassing mistakes on the green. Golf is a great game when digested properly and then studied correctly. It's important to take each step as it comes and do it right. This article should help you to understand the basics of good golf etiquette. I think that I can best show you how the game is played by taking you through the play of one hole with a foursome.
The members of the foursome or twosome hit in turn. The closest ball to the green hits last and so on. When on the first tee, the order in which the players hit is decided, this order only pertains to that first shot. The golf term for this action is honor.
From the very beginning, it is always good to check, before swinging, to see if the members of your party are out of swinging distance. The ordinary swing of a golf club can be a deadly blow. Therefore, rules of etiquette are often rules of safety. Everyone in the group should be standing to one side or sitting on the benches, provided by most courses, awaiting their turns to hit, and there should be no talking on the tee or at any time when an associate is preparing to make his shot. All clubs, bags, carts and other essentials of the game should be left off the teeing ground.
Don't practice your swing while other members of your group are hitting, and don't stand behind the tee. Stay behind the player - to his back. It is easy to see a player out of the corner of your eye and that little thing could be distracting and result in a missed shot.
When the entire party has completed their first shots, walk directly in the line with your ball. But if another player has hit short of your ball wait for him to complete his second swing. This is another item of etiquette protecting the safety of the players and the skill of the hitter. Like the swing of the club, the flight of the ball can be dangerous. If players walk in front of another who is hitting, the distraction could cause a missed shot and the result can be injury to a companion.
Before you get going to far, one of the most important points of golf etiquette is waving through. Never hold up a group playing behind you. If you are slower than they are wave them on and wait until they have safely gotten out of range before you continue.
If you game is anything like mine, when you take your first drive, you may have to contend with that familiar obstacle - the rough. When your ball is in the rough, Nothing rooted may be removed to allow an easier shot. It is all right to remove dead wood, grass or leaves, providing the ball does not move. Be very careful here!
When it's virtually impossible to hit your ball, you may declare it unplayable. It is then allowable to pick the ball up, move two club lengths away from the obstacle (not nearer the hole) and drop the ball over your shoulder. But this isn't for free-you have to add two strokes to your score. In winter time, and during wet weather, it is sometimes permissible to lift your ball and drop it again for a better position. Also, around some clubs players move their balls to a choice spot with their hands. This always pertains to balls in the fairway.
Once you reach your ball and prepare to approach the green, study the lay of the land. Remember, when your ball is hit out of the fairway nothing can be removed to improve the lie of the ball unless it is dead matter. In rough, or woods, players can pick up dead limbs, leaves, paper or cut grass. But growing bushes, roots, tall grass must remain in place.
Your iron shots from the fairway will often dig up the grass, roots and all. This piece of turf, called a divot, should be picked up by you or your caddy and put back in its place, packing it down well with your foot.
Now that the group has reached the green, other rules of golf and etiquette will come into use. As each player shoots the caddy faces them and lifts the stick so that the ball may have freedom of the hole if it has the proper direction. Without caddies, the player in the group with the ball closest to the cup has the obligation on holding the stick for his companions. When his time comes to hit, another member of the party holds the stick for him.
Should another player's ball be blocking your line to the hole, then you may ask him to mark and remove it. The marking is usually done with a coin. If your ball is in such a position that it might interfere with a player's approach to the hole, it is always good to ask him if he would like it marked. Don't just walk up and grab your ball or the ball of a fellow member of your group.
Some players make the mistake of entering a sand trap by climbing into it from the high side, but a following player may be penalized by having his ball come to rest in one of the deep footprints left behind. Tearing down the sides of traps and then leaving without repairing the damage is an inexcusable breach of etiquette. Also, when you are in a sand trap, be careful that your club does not touch the sand, even in your address, until you are actually making the downward swing of the club in your stroke.
Putting on the green is handled in the same way as is hitting from the fairway. The ball which lies the greatest distance from the hole is putted first, and so on down the line until the closest man plays. Then the process is repeated until the entire group has played the hole out.
Remember, a careful study of the rules of play and etiquette can do more to insure enjoyment than any other one thing. Thousands of tiny, intricate situations can arise in golf. Don't hesitate to seek the knowledge of your pro. That's part of his job. Your aim is to be a polite as well as a skillful golfer. The two go hand in hand. To know the rules, leads to confidence. And confidence is the key to your quick success in this new undertaking.
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