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10 Basic Rules & Etiquette for Beginners
Richard Smith shares 10 basic rules and etiquette for beginners.
To speed up the game and make it enjoyable for everyone, we need to have a basic understanding of rules and etiquette. Here are 10 to get you started.
1. Dress the part
Many golf courses have a dress code. Find out what the dress code is where you will be playing. Any wrong apparel might mean you can’t play.
2. Course care and safety
Golf course are there to be enjoyed by all golfers. Part of your responsibility is to take care of the course while you are on it. Always repair divots and pitch marks. Pitch marks are indentations on the green that are made when the ball hits. Divots are chunks of turf that are sliced off when you hit the ball. We should replace the turf or fill the hole with sand. Sand is provided by the course. Sand bunkers must be raked after use and all areas should be left the way you found them. Be aware of your surroundings and always look out for other golfers. Golf clubs and balls can cause serious damage. Don't play your shot until all players are out of range.
3. Play as it lies
Simply means, don’t move or touch the ball. Where the ball comes to rest, whatever state it is in, you most likely have to play it as is. There are exceptions but don’t touch or move the ball unless you are certain that you can do so under the rules of golf.
4. Out of bounds and lost ball
Out of bounds (OB) should clearly be marked around the golf course, usually using white stakes or white lines. The penalty for OB is stroke plus distance. That means adding one stoke to your score, then go back to where you hit your shot from and hit again. If you think you have hit your ball out of bounds, immediately hit a second ball which is called a provisional ball, so you won’t have to retrace your steps if the first is an OB. The same applies to a lost ball. If you lose a ball, the penalty is also stroke and distance.
5. Tee time
Get your tee time booked by calling the golf course in advance. Once you have a tee time, make sure to turn up at least 30 minutes prior to your game. If you are late, you will possibly forfeit your game. Be early and warm up!!!
6. Teeing off
On the teeing ground, you must place your ball between the tee markers or up to two club lengths back. Tee markers are small coloured objects, for example if you’re playing from the red tees look for markers painted red.
7. Playing order
The player who has honours, tees off first. This can be decided randomly on the first tee. On ensuing tees, the player with the best score goes first. Once all balls are in play, the player farthest from the hole to play first. The exception is when the group have agreed to hit when ready. This will help to speed up the game.
8. Pace of play
Slow play has always been an issue in golf and it’s even more important as a beginner to be aware of your pace of play. Don’t wait till your turn to figure out what shot to play. While you are waiting, make all the decisions you need to play the shot at hand.
9. Penalty areas
Penalty areas are one of the 5 defined areas of the course and can be marked as either red or yellow. When the ball lands in a penalty area, you can play it as it lies or take relief outside the penalty area for one penalty stroke.
Taking the right equipment to the course involves both rules and etiquette. The rules place a limit of 14 clubs in each golfer’s bag. There is no minimum though, so make sure you have enough. Prepare enough tees and plenty of golf balls. Be prepared to lose a great deal in the beginning. Have a ball marker and pitch repairer. These can be found in any pro shop for a few dollars.
For a better understanding, have on-course lessons with us!
Richard has been coaching adults and juniors since 2011. He coached golf programmes at several international schools, and arranged school events and golf camps locally and overseas. He organised corporate events and clinics as well. Read more about him here!
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