Basic Golf Etiquette, Rules and Glossary

Golf is a game with a lot of rules, there is no question about that. For a beginning golfer, all of the different rules and etiquettes that need to be learned can be a little bit overwhelming. After you gain some experience, however, most of it will become second-nature and you won’t have to think twice about following the basic rules and conducting yourself with proper etiquette.

Below are a few of the most-basic rules and etiquettes that you need to understand when you are getting ready to start playing golf. There is far more to know that what is listed below, but this should give you a good place to start.

  • No mulligans. No matter how much you don’t like the shot that you just hit, there are no do-overs in golf. Wherever your ball ends up, that is the situation that you will have to deal with – whether that means playing from a tough spot or taking a penalty as described in the rules of golf.
  • Don’t step on putting lines. The intended line that a putt will take from where the ball is currently toward the hole is called the ‘putting line’. When walking around the green reading your putt, it is important that you don’t step on any of these imaginary lines. Your footprint can make a depression in the green which could send the putt off-line, so make sure to walk around the putting lines of all of your playing partners (and your own!).
  • Be quiet. One of the first pieces of golf etiquette that you should learn is that you need to keep quiet while your playing partners are hitting a shot. Not only does this mean you should stop talking, but also make sure you aren’t making other noises like clattering your clubs which could distract them from their shot.
  • Don’t touch the sand. When your ball finds a bunker, you are not allowed to touch the sand with your club until you actually hit the shot. This means, when stepping down into the bunker, that you need to be careful to hold the club up above the sand and not let it touch. Also, when making practice swings, make sure they only cut through the air and don’t swipe across the top of the sand.
  • Help look for lost golf balls. If one of your playing partners hits their shot into a rough spot on the course, it is considered good etiquette to help them look for the ball. You will certainly appreciate the help when you find yourself in the same predicament!