Four Etiquette Tips For First-Time Golfers

Alyssa Murray

If you've been practicing your shots at the local driving range and are finally ready to hit the links for a round of golf, you'll soon find that there are few better ways to spend an afternoon — even if your final score isn't exactly the number you were hoping for. Whether you're playing with some golf-loving friends or you get paired up with one or more strangers, it's important to make sure that even if you're a novice, your knowledge of golf's many etiquette rules is at the expert level. Nothing can derail a fun afternoon of golf quicker than someone who doesn't adhere to the course's etiquette. Here are four important tips that every first-time golfer should know.

Zip Your Lips

It's fine to enjoy some friendly conversation with your fellow golfers when you walk or ride between shots, but it's time to keep your comments to yourself when someone begins to approach his or her ball. Anyone about to hit should be able to do so in full silence, so even whispering to another golfer from several yards away is considered poor etiquette. Remember, shots only take a moment, and you'll soon be able to resume your conversation.

Step Up And Hit

Another key golf etiquette rule at local golf courses is to be ready to hit when it's your turn. No one wants to play with someone who starts fumbling to find the right club, ties up his or her shoes or otherwise isn't ready when it's time to make the shot. This rule extends beyond being polite to those in your foursome — the golfers in the ground behind you are also counting on you to maintain a reasonable pace of play, and much of doing so revolves around you being ready to hit when it's your turn.

Stay Out Of The Line

A missed putt can quickly elevate a golfer's score, and it can be difficult to sink a putt if another golfer has walked between the ball and the hole. This is called walking across a player's "putting line" and is a real no-no. This is because your shoes can leave subtle dents in the green that could impact the path of the ball. Always walk around the green carefully.

Rake After A Trip To The Beach

In golfing terms, being on the beach means you're in a sand trap. Once you've made your shot and climbed out of the bunker, grab the nearby rake and remove any marks you left behind. This includes covering up the indentation left by your ball and club, as well as your footprints.