Golf Etiquettes and Safety

17

ENJOY THE GAME

Jay Morelli, Director of the Original Golf School, Mount Snow, Vermont


Golf is a most enjoyable game when played in four-and-a-half hours or less. Some things you can do to make sure your foursome keeps pace include:

  1. Have the club in your hand before it is your turn to play the stroke.
  2. Have the ball and tee in your hand when it is your turn to tee off.
  3. Hit your ball within forty-five seconds of the previous player’s stroke.
  4. Suspend conversation and resume it after you have played your shot to avoid any unnecessary delay.
  5. Play ready golf. Hit your shot as soon as it is safe to do so.

18

BUNKERS

Paul Glut, PGA Director of Golf, Woodside Acres Country Club, Syosset, New York


When playing a bunker shot, always enter the bunker from the low side, rather than stepping down the steep, high front of the bunker. After playing the shot, rake your divot and footprints. Place the rake parallel to the bunker and close to the edge. Knock the sand off your shoes so you do not leave sand footprints on the green.

19

ON THE GREEN

Mark Brown, PGA Director of Golf, Tam O’Shanter Club, Brookville, New York


When approaching the green, locate the balls to avoid walking through another player’s line (the path the ball must travel from the lie to the hole). Repair any marks caused by the ball landing on the green. The player whose ball is closest to the pin should tend the pin. The first player to putt out should then pick up the pin and replace it after the last player putts out. Move to the next tee and record your score there, rather than on the edge of the green.

20

TEE TIMES

Paul Glut, PGA Director of Golf, Woodside Acres Country Club, Syosset, New York


Many golfers make the mistake of getting to the course just prior to their tee times. When you cut it close, you run the risk of getting stuck in traffic or encountering other delays. Give yourself plenty of time to register, warm up, go to the putting green, and relax before you tee off. If you have a ten o’clock tee time, get to the course at nine. Check in with the starter twenty minutes before your assigned time. Allowing adequate time before you play greatly increases the chances that you will play well.

21

TAKE CARE OF THE COURSE

Karen Merritt, Golf Pro, North Salem, New York


A good golf course is a beautiful thing. Leave it in better shape than you found it. Repair ball markers. Replace divots. If the course provides sand, make sure to fill the divots. Do a good job raking bunkers after you’ve hit sand shots. A good question to ask yourself is this: “Would I be happy if I had to play from that spot?”

22

BE A GOOD PLAYING PARTNER

Scott Ford, PGA Teaching Pro, North Hills Country Club, Manhasset, New York


A few of the obvious rules are designed to show respect for your fellow players. When they are playing, stand still from the time they address the ball until the time the ball is on its way. Remember that the line of the putt is sacred. Never step in that line, as a small indentation in the green can throw the putt offline.

23

LOOK SHARP

Jay Morelli, Director of the Original Golf School, Mount Snow, Vermont


Golf is one of the few sports that doesn’t require a uniform, so it’s the perfect opportunity to look sharp. The best players, from Bobby Jones to Keegan Bradley, always look great. They dress well—in style and neatly pressed. None of these greats ever showed up with a ruffled or not-ready-for-prime-time look. Dressing well shows respect for the game and for your fellow players. We all don’t play our best, but the one thing we can do is look good.

Matthew McPhillips, Head Professional, Stratton Mountain Country Club, Stratton, Vermont

24

THE GOLF CART

Jay Morelli, Director of the Original Golf School, Mount Snow, Vermont


Golf carts are a way of life. On many courses they are even required when you play. Try to keep them as inconspicuous as possible. Park them a reasonable distance away from the player and in a three o’clock to five o’clock position—the same place you would be standing if you were not in the cart. Be aware of soft turf or wet areas. Golf carts are fairly heavy and can cause damage to the course. When there are cart paths, use them. You can’t wear out the asphalt. If there are no paths, try to “scatter.” This spreads out the traffic and is easier on the turf.

25

GOLF CART RULES

Jay Morelli, Director of the Original Golf School, Mount Snow, Vermont


Here are some of the basic cart rules in the golf world:

  1. Place your clubs behind where you plan to sit.
  2. Observe cart rules. If it’s “cart paths only,” then all four tires should be on the cart path at all times.
  3. When you leave the cart to play your stroke, take several clubs.
  4. Never drive the cart within sixty feet (18 meters) of the green.
  5. At the green, park the cart on the way to the next tee.
  6. Write down the scores on the way to or on the next tee.
  7. Don’t park your cart on a hill.

26

TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE

Tom Herzog, PGA Teaching Pro, the Champions Course, CedarBrook Country Club, Old Brookville, New York


There are a few people who need cell phone access all the time. They are doctors, other medical people, and those who deal with urgent issues. Most of us do not. If you are in that medical group, set the phone on “vibrate.” If you are like me (and most of the rest of the world), leave the cell phone in the car. Cell phones ringing on the course not only disrupt you, but also those you are playing. If you must answer it or make a call, do it very quickly so no one even knows you made the call.

27

GOLF CART SAFETY

Jay Morelli, Director of the Original Golf School, Mount Snow, Vermont


While golf is not quite as dangerous as football or rugby, accidents do happen. As with all accidents, common sense must prevail at all times. While golf carts appear to be safe, there have been some weird and nasty accidents with them. A big problem is riding with your limbs hanging out of the golf cart. The most noticeable violators are players who ride with a foot outside the golf cart. If your foot is hanging out of the golf cart and there is any type of curb on the cart path, you stand a good chance of getting your foot caught between the golf cart and the curb. Ouch!

28

GOING UP?

Jay Morelli, Director of the Original Golf School, Mount Snow, Vermont


Another problem that occurs is driving the carts on slopes. The cart can tip over, especially when the grass is wet. This also tends to occur more often with the faster gas-powered carts. It’s also important to drive straight up and down all slopes. There are no seat belts in golf carts, and it’s very easy for a quick turn to toss a passenger out.

29

WHERE TO STAND

Greg Pace, PGA Teaching Pro, Huntington Country Club, Huntington, New York


Golf has its own culture. When your fellow players are hitting their shots, you should be still. Stand either completely behind them so they cannot see you or be to their side. To get the picture, if the line to the target is twelve o’clock and a line directly away is six o’clock, you should be at an angle that would be between 3:30 and 5:30. The absolute wrong place to stand is directly behind the line of flight or the line of the putt.

30

LOOKING FOR YOUR GOLF BALL

Mark Brown, PGA Director of Golf, Tam O’Shanter Club, Brookville, New York


When we hit an offline shot, we often look up at the sky instead of marking a spot where the ball first went awry. Upon hitting the ball into a questionable location, first take note of its area as best you can from your location. Then take a maximum of two minutes to search for the ball after arriving in its general location. If the ball cannot be found within two minutes, drop a ball at the nearest point free of obstructions.

31

PRACTICE SWINGS

Jeff Seavey, PGA Teaching Pro, Samoset Resort Golf Club, Rockport, Maine


Practice swings should always be made toward the target or toward an open area with no other golfers nearby. In a practice swing, a player may hit the ground, which could turn up a stone, an old tee, or some other object. If you take a practice swing at another player, she might get hit by that object. Once in a great while, the head will fly off a club. A flying club head is a very dangerous weapon.

32

YELL “FOUR” AND BE ALERT WHEN YOU HEAR IT

John Gaeta, PGA Teaching Pro, North Hills Country Club, Manhasset, New York


Even if you follow the advice above, there will surely come times when you hit your driver farther than you expected, or a hook or slice comes out of nowhere and takes your ball toward an adjoining fairway. Or you may play your stroke believing the fairway is clear, only to notice players up ahead who had been obscured by a hill or tree.

33

DON’T THROW YOUR CLUBS

Jay Morelli, Director of the Original Golf School, Mount Snow, Vermont


I know this sounds like an absurd tip, but I’ve seen it happen. Golfers should never throw their clubs. If you have to throw a fit, go ahead, but you can cause real harm to someone with an airborne club.

34

KIDS

Jay Morelli, Director of the Original Golf School, Mount Snow, Vermont


One of my biggest concerns is when adults practice with small kids and even toddlers in the area. A swinging golf club is a dangerous weapon. Children have no idea where they should stand or what they should do, and the adults are often so involved in their practice that they forget the kids are underfoot. The kids should have a specific spot to sit or be and they should always be supervised by an adult other than the one who is practicing.

35

LATHER UP

Destiny Schaffer, Teaching Pro, Hilton Head, South Carolina


Keep sunscreen in your golf bag—even on those hazy, overcast days—and don’t forget to use it. You’ll be surprised at how much sun you’ll get even when you think sun isn’t an issue. Also, wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face.

36

LIGHTNING

John Gaeta, PGA Teaching Pro, North Hills Country Club, Manhasset, New York


We usually play golf in warm weather, when there are bound to be thunderstorms. They have to be respected. Many courses have meteorological warning systems, and while they are very good, they are not infallible. Come in at the first sign of an approaching storm, and if you are caught out in the storm, remember that you should stay away from metal and high ground. Seek shelter in a grounded rain shelter or a low-lying area.

 


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