"Oh behave"

Published on   2022-08-22 by Kai

The well-known saying of the movie hero Austin Powers "Oh behave" could stand as a symbol for what is indispensable on the golf course: etiquette. Certainly, the always politically incorrect Powers is exactly the opposite of what counts in golf, but his phrase gets to the heart of the matter: Behave.

Golf is a gentleman's and lady's sport. It has nothing to do with nouveau riche or snootiness. It's more about how the player behaves on the course in general.

Much is taken for granted

Most of what is prescribed by golf etiquette can be taken for granted anytime, anywhere. But there are also rules that are peculiar to the sport.

Much is prescribed by the German Golf Association. And is certainly only a passing on of what has been gathered in the British Isles, the birthplace of golf, over the years and decades.

Further rules and specifications vary from club to club.

Gentleman and Lady

But why gentleman and lady? To do so, you have to consider what this classification commonly means: good manners, pleasant disposition, unobtrusive behavior, appropriate dress, consideration, and more.

And that's exactly what it's all about on the golf course: no swearing, no grumbling, no shouting, but consideration for others, for fellow players as well as other golfers on other courses.

A few key sentences

One can clearly define these self-evident facts, which concern both politeness and the idea of fair play, in a few core sentences. The following should be noted:

  • When a player is preparing to take a stroke, the others should keep quiet.

  • Positioning of teammates should be done in such a way that the end of the game does not have them in view.

  • If a flight catches up with the group playing ahead, pause until they are out of hitting range. Rolling balls can also be very disruptive between players. Special emphasis is placed on this rule.

  • To avoid unduly delaying those following, the playing partners should move forward quickly between shots.

  • The trolley or bag should also be placed in the direction of the next tee on the way to the green.

  • On the green, the possible putting line of the other player should not be stepped on, just like your own; in an emergency, a detour should be chosen on the way to your own ball.

  • After putting, the green should be cleared quickly, entries on the scorecard should be made on the way to the next tee or only at the next tee.

  • The general rule during the round is: Entertainment yes, but please not too loud, refrain from shouts or angry yells after failed shots. Exception: The warning call "FORE!" if your own ball could endanger other players.

  • For course maintenance and to avoid leaving unsightly barriers for other players, divots, i.e. the pieces of grass that have been knocked out, should be picked up after the shot and put back in their original place. Gently treading on them will allow them to grow back.

  • Should a player need to enter a bunker, his or her tracks should be cleaned up with a readily available rake after leaving.

Furthermore, the use of a cell phone during the game is not welcome. There is no mandatory requirement to turn it off or mute it, but this should be taken for granted out of respect for the other players.

The Golf Association also does not prescribe a fixed dress code, but quite a few clubs are taking action here: blue jeans are frowned upon, as are T-shirts. Men should therefore prefer a shirt or at least a polo shirt with a collar.

For women, a top is right if it covers the shoulders. Off-the-shoulder tops are a no-go. For shorts, the general rule is: not too "short", they should reach at least to the knees.

Frictionless togetherness

As already written: The rules on the court should actually be understandable and self-evident for everyone. They allow for a smooth, friendly and respectful interaction on the court. This is especially important when there are many flights on the course.

Discussions about the dress code are more frequent. But doesn't every sport have a certain style of dress? Mostly even with much tighter guidelines. In golf, it's just a matter of not looking like you're gardening on the course, but dressing as befits a game for ladies and gentlemen.

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This post was published in
Etiquette and Fair Play