Everyone likes a dance party. The dancers dance and the non-dancers stand to the side watching, observing, dreaming, and wishing. “Dancing with the Stars” is popular because it allows amateur dancers to experience professional dancing. But this notion does not just hold true to dancing; it applies across many sports, including golf.
Better players often are gracious and understand your skill level and what your emotions, frustrations are going through. They are often very encouraging and will help you along. Mature golfers may even invite you back to some of Hilton Head’s golf courses if you are teachable. But to play with experienced players, you must know golf etiquette. Here are some of the spoken and unspoken rules to know when you’re headed to the green:
1. Try to arrive 45 minutes before the tee time to warm up properly and allow for socializing.
2. Practice your way though the bag, beginning with putting, then chipping, pitching, the short irons, longer irons, and then the woods.
1. Be there early and control your heart rate with breathing and positive affirmations.
2. Make sure to place an identifying mark on your ball and inform the other players the type and number ball you are playing.
3. Stand outside of the playing golfers’ peripheral vision to avoid slow play.
4. Walk at a reasonable speed between shots.
5. Begin planning your next shot as you approach the ball by studying all the variables.
6. From the time you select your club until you actually hit your shot, you should take no more than 30 to 45 seconds.
7. If you aren’t ready to play when it is your turn, encourage one of your fellow players to play.
Maintaining the Course
1. Replace your divots: Many courses often put containers of a soil on their carts and tees. Simply fill in the divot with the mixture.
2. Bring a rake into the bunker with you, remembering that you should always enter the bunker from the low side at a point nearest to the ball.
3. Do not walk on the steep face of a bunker.
4. After hitting your shot, rake the area you disturbed.
5. Repair any pitch marks or indentations caused by the ball hitting the green, using a tee, knife, key, or repair tool.
On the Green
1. Don’t step on your fellow players’ putting lines (the imaginary line that connects the ball to the hole).
2. If your ball is on a player’s line, volunteer to mark the ball.
3. Stand where you will not distract and don’t move or talk while they are in their pre-shot routine.
4. Hold the flagstick at arm’s length so the flag doesn’t flutter in the breeze, and make sure your shadow
doesn’t fall across the hole or line.
5. If you lay down the flagstick, do it gently to prevent doing any damage to the green.
6. As everyone is putting out, pick up others players equipment to save the group time.
7. Displays of frustration are one thing, but outbursts of temper are quite another. Yelling, throwing clubs and making a fool of yourself is unacceptable.
The End of the Round
1. Shake hands with your fellow players, congratulate, console, and thank them for their company on some of Hilton Head’s best courses, because at the end of the day, the great pleasure of the game is the time you get to spend with your friends.
Written by Doug Weaver, a former PGA Touring Pro, who is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free hands-on interactive clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. For more information, call 843-785-1138 or 800-827-3006.