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Basic Golf Etiquette

Etiquette is a word that's often heard in relation to golf, more than with any other sport. But it's not just about manners. The guidelines for good golf etiquette are what they are for several very important reasons - many of them relate to the safety of golfers, many relate to pace of play (which helps keep the game enjoyable), and other rules of golf etiquette relate to maintaining the quality of the golf course. In other words, golf etiquette is an essential part of the game - and it's something that newcomers to the game often learn as they go - on the course, when playing with more experienced golfers.

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If you are new to the game, or just need to brush up on your golf etiquette, here are some basic rules of the road that will help keep the game enjoyable for you and those around you.

Keep It Safe

· Do not swing your club until you know that others in your group are at a safe distance. Likewise, keep your distance when others are swinging. Be aware to steer clear of trouble.

· When practicing your swing, never swing in the direction of another player.

· Do not hit the ball until you are certain that the group ahead of you is out of range.

· If your ball appears headed toward another player or another group, give them a warning by yelling out, "Fore!"

· Observe the safety suggestions posted in golf carts and drive carefully. Golf etiquette requires keeping your cart off the grass as much as possible.

· Never throw clubs in anger. In addition to being rude and childish, it could also be dangerous.

Maintain a Good Pace

· Keep the round moving by being prepared to hit your shot when it is your turn. You probably don't like waiting on other groups - don't make other groups wait on you.

· The player who has the ‘honour’ hits first in a group. However, in friendly matches (as opposed to tournament play), this rule can be ignored in favor of "ready play" - players hit as they are ready. All players should agree to "ready play" before it is put into effect.

· If you find trouble from the tee, play another ball and state ‘provisional’.

· Always try to keep pace with the group ahead of you. If you lose more than one clear hole on the players in front, invite the match following to pass.

· Walk briskly between shots.

· If you are not the first to play, line up your putt while your partners are playing so that you are ready to putt when they either mark their ball or hole out.

· Do not spend too much time looking for a lost ball, particularly if there is a group behind you ready to play. It is recommended that you allow 2 minutes before waving the following group through, rather than the full 5 minutes allotted in the rulebook to look for lost balls.

· Buggy use - When two players in a buggy hit to opposite sides of a hole, drive to first ball and drop off that player with his club, then drive to the second ball. After both players hit, meet up farther down the hole.

· Buggy use - When walking from your buggy to your ball, take a couple clubs with you. Taking only one club, then having to return to the buggy to retrieve a different club, is a huge time-waster.

· Always leave the putting green as soon as your group has finished putting.

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Be Kind to the Course

· Keep trollies away from greens and hazards. The wheels on trollies can damage these sensitive areas.

· Repair your divots in the fairway.

· Repair your pitch marks on the green.

· Always rake sand bunkers after hitting to erase your footprints and damage to the area where your ball was.

· Avoid taking a divot on a practice swing.

And a Few More Golf Etiquette Hints

· Never talk during another player's swing.

· Do not yell out following a shot. Even if boisterous behaviour doesn't bother your playing partners, there are other people on the course who may be within earshot.

· Be aware of your shadow on the putting green. Don't stand in a place that causes your shadow to be cast across another player or that player's putting line.

· Never walk through a playing partner's putting line. Your footprints might alter the path of a partner's putt. Step over the putting line, or walk around (behind) the partner's ball.

· You should always be compliant with the dress code of the Golf Club.

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