One of the unique aspects of golf is that it is a game of integrity. There are no umpires or referees; quite simply… there is no on course supervision.
Instead, the game relies on the integrity of the individual – the golfer – to show consideration to others, abide by the rules and to have respect for the course.
Over my more than 30 years as a golf course superintendent I’ve seen virtually every imaginable type golfer behavior… some good… some not so good… and some that has made my blood boil! But, following some simple guidelines will make a round of golf more enjoyable for all of us who truly love the game.
Safety – Being hit by a golf ball hurts, I know from several occurrences… never play a shot until the group ahead is well out of the way.
If an errant shot is in the direction of a fellow golfer – alert that golfer with the shout of “FORE”. And, if a grounds crew member is working in an area where a ball might be struck, call a warning before playing the stroke.
Pace of Play – Certainly a stickler, but following some simple guidelines will help a group move along without having to rush.
(1) Avoid additional walking time by leaving your bag, pull cart or riding cart in a direct line to where
you’ll next be going.
(2) Never search for a lost ball for more than 5 minutes.
(3) When it’s your turn to play – be ready to go.
Each day’s pace of play is determined by the slowest group. A simple way to know if your group is keeping pace is to make certain that the group ahead never gets out-of-sight.
If an entire hole opens, you know you have to pick up the pace. Again, some simple guidelines to help get your group back on pace for a reasonable round.
(1) Play ready golf… the first golfer to his/her ball plays.
(2) Start planning each shot as you approach your ball.
(3) Once you’ve pulled your club, take no more than 30 seconds to execute the shot.
Care of the Course – Some basics.
(1) Repair divots on every shot, or during a practice swing. When the turf remains whole, it’s best
to replace it in the divot hole. But, when available, divots can also be repaired by filling with sand
or a sand/seed mix. And, in the case where the turf scatters and there is no fill material available,
kick around the edges of the divot.
(2) Repair ball marks on the green. When a golf ball hits a green it leaves a pitch mark; if not
repaired the grass in the pith hole will die. Golfers should carry a simple ball mark repair tool, or
use a tee to repair the pitch created by their shot. And, when possible, try to fix two marks on
(3) After playing a shot from a bunker – RAKE THE SAND! Bring the rake into the bunker with you
remembering to always enter the bunker from the low side at a point nearest the ball. And, whenever
possible, avoid walking on the steep sand face of the bunker.
(4) Be careful with the flag stick; it can be damaging to the green… especially the cup.
Golf Carts — Motorized golf carts have become very much part of the modern game which has made golf more enjoyable for many. But, golf carts are the #1 detriment to good course conditions. Following the guidelines below will help minimize the turf damage done by motorized golf carts.
(2) Try to steer around stressed turf areas.
(3) Scatter when exiting a cart path.
(4) Stay well away from greens and tees.
Conclusion – Might seem like simple stuff but, as golfers know, easy tasks that are too frequently ignored. Please, don’t hesitate to encourage your playing partners and fellow golfers to follow the guidelines outlined above. So doing will make the game more enjoyable for all.