Don’t ‘Tee Off’ Your Golf Pals

Many years ago, a new boyfriend took me golfing. We went to Oglebay Park. After a brief lesson, I was ready. I put the ball on the tee, swung the club, and the ball flew into the air. It hit a tree and bounced back to about 1 foot of where I was standing. I put the clubs in the cart and left. I have never played golf again. Below are some of the things my golfing friends have told me need to be addressed.

Golf is a courteous game. Most golfers appreciate the rules and established etiquette on the course. Sadly, because of disregard, etiquette violations remain.

Dress the part. Dress sharp. Displaying proper golf etiquette by dressing appropriately shows you respect the people you are golfing with and the course.

Arrive at the golf course at least 45 minutes before your “tee” time. If you have a golf date, keep it. A last-minute decision to do chores or go shopping when you have agreed to play is disrespectful and shows very poor manners.

Turn your phone off or at least silence the ringer. If you must call someone, distance yourself from other golfers and keep the conversation as short as possible.

Unless otherwise determined by the committee, priority on the course is determined by a group’s pace of play. Any group playing a whole round is entitled to pass a group playing a shorter round. The term “group” includes a single player.

Play at a pace that keeps up with the group ahead. If there is an open hole ahead, and the group behind is pushing your group, either pick up your group’s pace, or invite the group behind you to “play through” regardless how many players are in that group. Take only one practice swing for each shot, and then hit the ball. At the tee and on the green, be ready once it is your turn. If you lose a ball, do not search more than five minutes.

Golf carts should be parked on the cart path when at the tee box or putting green. Golfing equipment (bags, clubs and carts) should never be placed in front of the green as annoyance to the approaching players. Leave as few traces as possible when using a cart.

Make sure you keep the course in good condition. Fix ball marks with a pocket knife, tee or other tool. Divots should always be repaired. Some courses place containers of divot repair mix on carts and at tees, which can be used to fill the divot.

Don’t talk prior to or during another player’s shot. Avoid any unnecessary noise or movement that will distract or disturb other players.

Players should ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball or debris when they make a stroke or practice swing.

If your ball is heading in a direction where there is a danger of it hitting someone, shout a warning immediately. The traditional word of warning is “fore!”

Never throw clubs in anger. In addition to being rude it could also be dangerous to other players. This is not good golf etiquette.

Below are strange but are actual rules, from the Golf Digest website (www.golfdigest.com/story/rules-unusual- decisions):

If your ball is lodged in an orange, you cannot take relief without penalty.

If your shot ends up in the clubhouse, and the clubhouse is not considered out-of-bounds, you may open a window or door and play your next shot without penalty.

If your ball comes to rest next to a cactus, you may wrap an arm or leg in a towel to protect yourself from the needles when you play your shot. But you can’t cover the cactus with a towel.

Judi Hendrickson of Wheeling is the co-author with Dr. Jeanne Finstein of “Walking Pleasant Valley.” She teaches etiquette and presents programs on Tea Time Traditions, the History and Etiquette of Tea and Wedding Traditions.

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