The first chapter in “The Rules of Golf” deals with etiquette. In the spirit of the game, we are reminded that golf does not have a referee — the game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the rules. We should demonstrate courtesy and sportsmanship at all times.
The section on consideration for other players says that we should not disturb other players in their play by moving, talking or making unnecessary noise. Players should not stand close to or directly behind the ball, or directly behind the hole, when another player is about to play.
The section on being on the putting green tells us not to stand on another player’s line of putt or, when they are making a stroke, cast a shadow on their line of putt. I will add that it is a good idea not to stand on an extension of a player’s line — try not to stand directly on the other side of the hole.
The preventing unnecessary damage section gives us some advice on how to tend the flagstick when other players are putting. In order to avoid damaging the hole, players and caddies should not stand too close to the hole and should take care during the handling of the flagstick and the removal of the ball from the hole. We should not use the head of our putter to remove the ball from the hole. When you tend the flagstick, you should first remove it from its vertical position. While holding the flag, place the flagstick back in the hole at an angle that will allow you to stand several feet from the hole. Watch the caddies on TV. Other examples of proper etiquette will be covered in future articles.
Some time ago, a young beginning golfer asked me how was it possible to have fun playing a game when there were so many things that you should not do and so many things to learn. My answer is that as we begin to learn and improve, we do the right thing more often and that makes us feel better.
Tip of the day: Be sure to complement others when they hit a good shot and be less critical of your own shots.
Enjoy yourself while playing and practicing.
If you have any comments, questions, or ideas, E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.