About Humana

How to be a proper player - notes on Golf etiquette

The best way to learn golf etiquette is to watch the play of professionals and imitate their behaviors. But, it doesn't hurt to have some etiquette tips in print:

On the first tee

  • Check the scorecard – to learn any local rules
  • Agree on the stakes – If your playing companions suggest a match, it's a good idea to make sure everyone is comfortable with the stakes
  • Mark your ball – Make sure to place an identifying mark on your ball and inform the other players the type and number ball that you're playing
  • Avoid slow play – be considerate of players behind you
  • Keep it moving – When you reach your ball, check the lie, select your club, visualize your swing and shot, and then play your shot—from the time you select your club until you hit your shot, no more than 30 to 45 seconds should elapse

Maintaining the course

  • Replace your divots – Turf often explodes on impact, making it difficult, if not impossible, to replace a divot. In this case, you have two options:
  1. You can use the toe of your shoe to kick in the turf around the edges of the divot
  2. Many courses often put containers of a soil/seed mixture on their carts and tees. If this is the case, simply fill in the divot with the mixture
  • Bring a rake into the bunker with you – Always enter the bunker from the low side at a point nearest to the ball. Leave the rake either in or nearby the bunker
  • Rake – After hitting your shot, rake the area you played from, as well as all your footprints and anyone else's you see—within reach
  • Repair – Any pitch marks or indentations caused by the ball hitting the green—a golf tee can serve as a useful tool
  • Remember the Rules – While the Rules of Golf allow you to repair pitch marks on your putting line, you shouldn't repair spike marks on your putting line until after you've putted

On the green

  • Watch your step – Don't step on your fellow players putting lines—the imaginary line that runs from the ball to the hole
  • Accommodate other players – If your ball is in, or near, another golfer's putting line, mark it with a plastic marker or a something dark and thin—like a penny —and pick the ball up
  • Stand in the right spot – Don't stand where you might distract a fellow player
  • Stay quiet – Don't make any noise when your fellow player prepares to putt
  • Move along – After everyone has putted out, immediately move to the next tee

Lost ball

If you hit a tee shot into the woods and suspect that it's lost or out of bounds, the Rules of Golf allow you to play a second, or "provisional," ball. From the time you reach the spot where you suspect your first ball landed, you have five minutes to find it. If the ball's not found within that five-minute period, you must declare it lost and play your provisional ball with a one-stroke penalty


For safety's sake, never hit when there's a chance you might be able to reach the group ahead of you. Anytime you hit a shot that has even a remote chance of hitting a player, yell "fore" immediately.

Stay calm

Displays of frustration are one thing, but outbursts of temper are quite another. Yelling, screaming, throwing clubs, or otherwise making a fool of yourself are unacceptable and, in some cases, dangerous to yourself and others

It's just a game

Finally, at the end of the round, shake hands with your fellow players, congratulate the winners, console the losers, and thank them for their company. At the end of the day, the great pleasure of the game of golf is the time you get to spend with your friends.