Golf is undoubtedly amongst one of the world’s most misunderstood sports. It is seen as a sport for the retired rich, rather than a sport for the commoners or athletes. But this presumption of grandeur surrounding the sport is what makes it special. This is what gives it the look of novelty.
What else can show novelty other than a bunch of rules, starting from the dress code to the conduct of a person playing the sport? It’s a rhetorical question.
Golf has a lot of rules. Moreover, there are certain etiquettes that everyone follows. If these are not followed, while not always punishable, but surely one can be judged upon and viewed as a disgrace to sportsmanship.
Many people ask, “Why is golf so uptight about rules?”
Let us see that.
Etiquettes for Golf Start from the Attire
Usually, slacks and collared-shirts is the standard for the majority of the golf courses. Golf skirts are perfect for women. Many courses allow blue jeans or even denim shorts. But most courses require shirts that are collared and strictly maintain a no-denim rule. Very fewer courses have held their ‘aristocracy’ with a hard stance against shorts as well, thus necessitating golf slacks.
However, this is just an article, not the rule book. So, without further ado, here are the etiquettes that a golfer needs to maintain while playing in a hole, from the tee to the green.
When at the tee, every member must take turns to tee-off but the etiquette is that, only one person gets onto the tee. The rest of the golfing partners will have to wait for their turns to tee-off.
It is imperative that there is complete silence during the shot and the preparation of it.
Moreover, it is respectful not to stand directly behind the golfer who happens to be on the tee and advised not to stand directly at left or right to the golfer as well. It is also applicable to one’s shadow, as such a considerable distance is always preferred from the addressing golfer.
Remember that the person on the tee shouldn’t have to request one to move from their position, especially while tee-off, since they are more concentrated there.
The golfer, after finishing their tee-shot, should pick up the peg (or tee) from the ground. It is considered as a breach towards etiquette if one’s tee is found left in or around the ground.
Speed of Play
As weird as it may sound, the game of golf has a pace that every golfer has to keep up with.
The etiquette is, every shot is to be played without delay. This means, one should be ready to hit the ball whenever their turns come.
It is commendable if a golfer has already decided beforehand, where and how they will play their next shot, thus reducing unnecessary delay. A golfer shouldn’t forget to carry two identifiable balls.
It is also be noted that there should be a limit to divot fewer practice swings. This is usually considered proper to dedicate only a few seconds to it.
Moreover, it is very important that a golfer never practices a swing towards anyone. Even on the green, one should study their shot alternatives, lines of putting and a workable putting plan while the others are preparing to play their turn.
Anywhere on the golf course, a golfer should always hit in the span of 45 seconds of the last golfer’s stroke.
There is no definitive way but the most adopted way to evaluate one’s speed in comparison to the position of the group in front of them.
One can consider they are in position if they approach their next shot while the previous groups are just moving on.
ccordingly, you should try not to be left behind or crowd the golfers in front of them.
Talking between shots or telling stories, even for a few seconds, delays play. There always happens to be enough time in between the golf-shots while walking towards or riding towards the next shot for talking and discussion.
It is to be considered that the scorecard is checked only after hitting while proceeding towards the next shot and never on the tee or green.
Usage of Golf Carts
Golf carts are used to speed the play up by ensuring faster locomotion. But many times it is seen that these carts are the reasons for slowing down the speed of the game.
After the last golfer in a group has taken their tee shot, the group must move on towards the first ball and drop off the golfer. Then the cart carrying the group needs to proceed safely towards the other ball.
When a player is dropped off, if required, is recommended to take extra clubs with him if he has any doubts regarding his selection.
It is taken as a general etiquette that a golfer should not wait while the other golfer disembarks from the cart, then hits the ball and finally re-embarks before moving on towards the next ball.
The golfers should get into the cart with their clubs in hand and then get off it without taking one’s bag before they hit the next shot.
It is highly advised not to go towards the golf bag multiple times for every shot.
There is a joke about that the bunker is like a murder scene. This is because it is recommended to leave a bunker in such a way so that the next player can’t say that someone has been trapped in the bunker previously.
This is ensured by evening out the footprints, divots and ball mark with the sand broom left inside of a bunker.
Gimmies and Mulligans
Golf is a technical sport. The one with the highest mastery over their technical prowess may end up the best golfer on the day.
Consequently, it is deemed an etiquette to never ‘give’ a shot to another golfer that matters to the scoring. The only exception to this being that there is almost no possibility that the golfer could miss that put. A time required to make a one-foot putt is equivalent to the time required to pick it up from there.
The main goal of the game is to put the ball into the hole and thus considered as a common etiquette to let that phenomenon occur whenever possible.
However, Mulligans should never be allowed. Strategy per time in match plays sometimes necessitates a give-putt scenario, but in reality, this kind of “sportsmanship” is kept at a minimum is more respectful to the game. This empowers the skill and proficiency within the game.
The Craftsman on the Green
A golfer’s skill can be compared to the skills a craftsman, a slight fault in technique becomes consequential. All through the fairway the craftsman, that a golfer shows his brilliance by hitting timely shots to place the ball onto the green.
The green then becomes his canvas and he must use his expertise to craft out a line to push the ball into its destination. It is on the green; a golfer shows his best craftsmanship.
One not only fixes their ball marks but just as a craftsman working on his chosen canvas, leaves nothing but a bare ground with an even and smooth surface, as to where the ball mark had been.
It is recommended that digging under a ball’s mark is frowned upon as it leverages the soil a little upwardly with the tee. The action usually dislodges the tender grass ruining the green.
Standing with the ball on the right or left at a considerable distance is always considered correct.
Talking during a put is considered terrible manners and will plainly put the offender amidst gossip over tea.
It is highly frowned upon and is also a punishable offense if a golfer uses the marker of the ball to put it to a different place, however small in the distance. This attitude will be considered as a blatant disregard to sportsmanship and even cheating on occasions.
Therefore, this is a carefully-watched move that a golfer can make.
Being precise is the key here in the golf. It is better to develop a system that is so obvious and there isn’t any possible way to criticize it.
It should be noted that, when taking the flag, dropping it on the green is a frowned upon thing. This is because it harms the green. A golfer should put it down gently or move it towards the apron.
The golfer nearest to the pin has to bear the flag. The pin should be carefully put back into the hole ensuring no damage.
The group should move onwards to the next hole as soon as possible without delaying the group following them.
Unlike in other sports, a golfer, while addressing his job in the game, prefers the silence from his partners more than anything else.
An excellent golfing partner should stand still and not make any noise while his/her partner is taking note of the ball. Moreover, it is also to be noticed that the standing of the golfer is not distracting the view of their partner.
Talking at this time is unacceptable. Such is also the case for rustling with one’s equipment. The biggest no-no here is practicing one’s shadow shot. It is seen as a great disrespect to the golfer addressing the ball and is very much disapproving.
If a golfer cannot abide by a simple courtesy, he doesn’t belong in a golf course.
Temperament is a significant thing in sports. Such is also the case of golf. It is a game of patience and finesse. If a golfer has his techniques and skills perfect but loses cool at the first instant of anything going wrong, they could never make it in this sport.
Golf is not a game won by one game. It spans over days, with some competitors having handicaps over others and there is always that bit of luck thrown in towards some and from others. So, how can one golfer overcome all this?
Before answering that, you should ask yourself, “Which would be preferred by you: a career-best round amidst foul temper and embarrassment over your lack of a cool head or a 10 shots over your handicap round while you still enjoyed the game and left with your head held high?”
If your answer is the latter, congratulations sir, you are a golfer!
A simple, calm and cool head are all it takes to win at golf.
A golfer is never out of the game until they get mad, becomes belligerent and starts to hurry through shots. In other words, gets so angry and gives up.
Never blaming other golfers for a bad game is a basic human courtesy but in terms of golfing, it is a perfect temperament that makes winners.
Playing with honor, within that demeanor and that attitude makes a champion. This is because in golf it’s not what happens to the golfers, rather it is their behavior towards it that decides the outcome.
Clarity on the Cards
In golf, a player is entrusted with writing their scores. However, the groups themselves must cross-reference each other’s scores along with their own. This is why one should abstain on disagreeing about scoring.
After one’s final put, it is recommended that the golfer clearly state their haul in the hole. And when a golfer states his score, it is recommended to write it down then and there before causing any disagreement later on.
Golf is about accurate scoring. Thus the cross-referencing is required and the exchange of scoring should also be mutual. Keep in mind that the group has an official also for keeping scores.
Every golfer has a caddy. Usually, golfers hire caddies for the rounds or tournaments, and these caddies end up being the local caddies.
This is done because a local caddy would usually know about the course more than even the most seasoned golfers. The caddies are generally paid for their services by the golfers.
However, since the caddies are also a part of the golf club, not settling up with them is seen as a breach of the club etiquettes. It is always recommended to have the exact amount agreed upon between the golfer and the caddy.
The Importance of Etiquettes in Golf
So many rules, so many etiquettes. Surely, golf is a very uptight sport one might opine.
Yes, there are a lot of rules, and a lot of etiquettes but most of these are related to everyday behavior within society. It is just shown on a bigger plate in sports, especially golf.
However, the fact that people associating golf with the uptightness of the upper class of the society is most certainly not the case. Most of the etiquettes respectfully followed in this magnificent game are etiquettes one would require to follow in a civilized society.
For example, ensuring one’s position isn’t distracted or causing discomfort to another person is a simple courtesy. Settling financial agreement without a hassle is also a civilized etiquette. Providing one’s own pace doesn’t hold back other people is a common etiquette. Moreover, keeping a cool head and having clarity between partners is also considered a civilized attitude to follow.
If a person can maintain an elegant behavior, it should not be too much of an inconvenience for them to show it on the golf course. On the other hand, if one has issues relating to such etiquettes, he/she should need to sort out these issues to live in a civilized world.
With this argument made here, this article would like to state that golf as a sport is not uptight having too many rules and etiquettes. It is only the depiction of a world where all the rules are respected and everyone is appreciated for maintaining the etiquettes amidst and towards themselves.
So, if merely put into a line, the answer to “Why is golf such an uptight sport?”
“It is but only a gentleman’s sport.”