the Rules of Golf is intimidating and overwhelming
for most golfers, especially for the beginners. Every sport has
rules to make it fair for everyone to be on the same playing
field of equal competition. The USGA website has rule books to
purchase, even a mobile APP that can be downloaded onto an electronic
device for ease of accessibility. Think of the Rules of
Golf as a reference book like a dictionary. It has definitions,
explanations with specific wording for clarification and communication.
However, being familiar with the rules can be to a players
of Golf is less overwhelming if you know the first portion
of the book: etiquette and definitions. The definitions are repeated
inside the bulk of the book as well. The index is very helpful
for researching certain situations when they arise. Etiquette
is essential and is defined as having good manners
during and after the round to ensure enjoyment to all golfers.
may seem complicated, and in truth, theres plenty youll
learn the more you play. But if you start with the following
points, youll be fine.
Arrival: Try to arrive early enough to give yourself time
to warm up properly. Allow yourself approximately 30-60 minutes
prior before your actual tee time. Warm up on the range and short
game areas, find the restroom, check in the golf shop, purchase
beverages or food and be ready when your name is called to start
Speed of Play: The easiest way to keep up the pace
has nothing to do with how well you play, but rather how fast.
As soon as the groups name is called to the first tee,
it is time to begin and move. The golf ball is the playing piece
and it needs to advance and move forward. That doesnt mean
you have to rush your swing or run to your ball. It simply means
you should take one vpractice swing and be ready to hit when
its your turn. From the time you select your club until
you actually hit your shot, you should take no more than 30-45
seconds. If you arent ready to play when it is your turn,
encourage one of you fellow players to play.
A good way to
monitor your pace of play is to always remain a half hole behind
the group in front of you. If you are new and not keeping score,
but feel the pressure of keeping up with the rest of the group,
pick the ball up and start on another hole to help the group
catch up. Eventually you will catch on and learn more how to
keep up when playing all of your shots, its Okay! When
you start to keep score, then you will play by the rules, but
make yourself feel comfortable at first. Speed of Play is important
to ALL golfers and the golf course.
Yell Fore!: Shouting Fore! is merely a way of
saying, Watch out! and it is used when golfers hit
shots astray that might possibly come close to another person
on the golf course. Dont wait, the moment you realize a
ball has even a remote chance of hitting another person, SHOUT
Take care of the course: Its hard work to make a golf course
look as good as it does. Do your part to take care of it. For
starters, if youre in a golf cart, find out if it is OK
to take the carts on the grass or if they must remain on the
cart path. Either way, never drive the cart near the putting
green or the Tee Box. On the course, if you take a divot (a piece
of turf when hitting a shot), you should either replace it by
carefully placing it in the spot and then firmly pressing down
on it with your foot, or filling the hole with some seed mix.
Shots hit to the green often leave a ball mark. If you dont
know how to properly fix them, ask one of your playing partners
to show you. And make sure you rake the bunker after you hit
out of one. The sand is daunting enough without having to contend
with someones footprint. Rule of Thumb: Pick up after yourself
and leave the golf course in better condition for others and
yourself when you return to play.
Know where to stand: Golfers dont want anything interfering
with their concentration on a shot. A key action is to stand
to the side and slightly behind the ball several yards away.
On the green, try to stay out of the line of sight of the person
putting. Further, when walking on the green, be aware of the
line from other players balls and the hole and dont
step in those imaginary lines.
youre on the green, another consideration is the flagstick.
If youre the closest to the hole, youre in charge
of removing the flagstick if everyone says they can see the cup
Ball: Most golfers have very little knowledge of how
to play the game correctly. Just remember, dont move your
ball under any circumstance unless youre on a putting green.
If the ball hard to find, only take five minutes to look for
Maintain a sense of humor: This is probably the most critical element
of playing in golf outings. Enjoy the pressure and challenge
of hitting golf shots that are counted towards a prize, but remember,
no one cares if you play poorly. Only expectation others have
is that you offer pleasant company. Sulking and cursing are unacceptable,
and especially ridiculous if youre a beginning golfer.
Finally: At the end of the round, shake hands with your
fellow players and thank them for their company. At the end of
the day, the great pleasure of the game is the time you get to
spend with friends.
Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen, PGA,
is the NW PGA Section Golf Teacher of the Year 2012.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.