Golf Etiquette For Beginners
As a newbie, it can be intimidating to show up for your first-ever round of golf. We totally understand — there’s some funny lingo and rules that seem weird in the beginning!
Because golf is a social game, it’s important to be aware of the other golfers on the course and there’s a few universal etiquette practices to keep in mind. The good news is, most of these unwritten rules are basic courtesies and will quickly become second nature to you. To help beginners feel as comfortable as possible on CA’s courses, we compiled some “do’s” and “don’ts” for you.
What is the Proper Pace of Play?
A lot of golf etiquette centers around the concept of ‘pace of play.’ Each course has its own rhythm and appropriate pace, and playing behind a group of players who aren’t maintaining a proper pace can be frustrating. At the same time, if you happen to be the slower player in the group, your golf experience won’t be too great either.
So, what is the expected pace of play at CA’s golf clubs, Hobbit’s Glen and Fairway Hills? For 18 holes, it’s four hours and 20 minutes, with the exception of weekend mornings. On Saturday and Sundays before 9:30 am, the expected pace of play for 18 holes is four hours. To help things move along, the golf course ranger is also authorized to speed up play, allow faster groups to play through or direct golfers to pick up and move to a designated point on the golf courses.
Tips For Maintaining a Proper Pace
You know what they say, the early bird gets the worm…and an edge to their golf game! It’s best to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your scheduled tee time. If possible, allow time to hit a few balls on the range and putt prior to getting on the first tee — a little warmup will add a level of confidence to your play. Another factor is determining which tee boxes to play from. If you’re a senior player or not a long hitter, it’s best to move to the forward tees.
A good method to use for determining which tee box (course yardage marker) to play is the “Chris Miles Method,” which is Driver Distance x 28= Course Total Yardage. For example, if you can hit a driver 200 yards, then the formula would be 200 x 28= 5,600. You would then play from the tee box closest to 5,600 total course yards.
Playing from the proper tee box will make the game more enjoyable for you and may even improve your scores. Other recommendations include:
- Try alternate forms of play. Match play, stableford, best-ball and other formats are easy and fun alternatives to individual stroke play.
- On the tee, it is acceptable for players to “hit when ready.” You can also save time by playing a provisional ball if you think your original ball might be lost out of bounds.
- Plan your shot before you get to your ball. Once you are off the tee, think ahead. Determine your yardage and make your club selection before it’s your turn to play. If unsure, take multiple clubs with you.
- Keep your pre-shot routine short. Try to take no more than one practice swing, then set up to the ball and play your shot.
- When sharing a cart, use a buddy system. Don’t wait in the cart while your cart buddy hits and then drive to your ball. Get out and walk to your ball with a few clubs in hand. Then, be ready to play when it is your turn, and let your cart buddy pick you up.
- Be helpful to the others in your group. Follow the flight of all tee shorts, not just your own. Once in the fairway, help others look for their ball. Volunteer to fill in a divot or take a bunker for another player, if needed.
- Picking up your ball is permitted by the USGA Handicap System. If not in an individual stroke play competition, it is generally appropriate to pick up your ball and move to the next hole.
Here’s a few final considerations to help you be a courteous golfer:
- Try your best to keep up with the group in front of you.
- Before swinging, always make sure there’s no one in harm’s way.
- Don’t stand too close to a player who’s hitting or putting.
- Be quiet while others are hitting their shots (silence your phone if possible).
- Replace all divots on course.
- Rake sand traps after use.
- Repair all ball marks on greens (have a repair tool to use).
At the end of the day, golf is a great character-building game — so if a situation arises, behave with consideration and generosity and you’ll do just fine. We can’t wait to see you on the greens!
Golf With CA
CA provides a great golf experience for all ages and skill levels. Our two premier clubs, Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club and Fairway Hills Golf Club, offer different experiences and options for play. If you’re a total beginner, the Get Golf Ready lessons at both clubs will teach you everything you need to know in order to play with confidence. Learn more about golf at CA here.