Golf Australia

Etiquette & Pace of Play

There are four main areas of etiquette, which are Course Care, Safety, Consideration for Others, and Pace of Play. Pace of Play is becoming increasingly important and further information can be found by clicking here.

Behaviour on the Course
The Rules of Golf provide guidelines on the manner in which the game of golf should be played. The overriding principle is that consideration should be shown to others on the course at all times.

For more information on Behaviour on the Course

Other downloads from this page:
Poster: Care of the Course - Putting Greens (including how to repair a pitch mark)
Poster: Care of the Course - Repairing Divots and Smoothing Bunkers
Poster: Care of the Course - Golf Buggies & Carts and Rubbish
Poster: Courtesy on the Course
Download the R&A Etiquette Video


Course Care
A very important part of etiquette is the care of the golf course. A few moments of courtesy during a round will assist the club significantly in the way of ground staff time and costs, and ensure a more pleasant round for all golfers.

Greens Care - Including the Repair of Pitch Marks:
The condition of greens can have a major impact on players’ scores, so careful attention must be given to the putting surface. The most important aspect is the repair of pitch marks - the longer a mark stays unrepaired, the longer it takes to mend. A pitch mark should be repaired as follows:

~ Commence at the back of the pitch mark and push forward with a pitch mark fork or tee.
~ Attend to each side of the pitch mark, easing the turf forward to replace the damaged area.
~ When undertaking the repair, turn the pitch mark fork towards the damaged area.
~ Do not lift the pitch mark fork or tee upward bringing soil to the surface.
~ Complete the repair by tapping down with a putter.

Poster: Care of the Course - Putting Greens (including how to repair a pitch mark)

Repairing Divots:
Some clubs will require divots to be repaired differently, however at the majority of clubs, sand buckets are available at the starting tees and divots should be repaired as follows:

~ Use the sand to fill the divot hole (and any others nearby).
~ Use a foot or a club to level the sand so that a reasonably flat lie remains for following players.
~ If buckets are not available or you have run out of sand, replace the divot in its hole if it is intact, or otherwise knock in the sides of the divot hole with a club so that a level lie is maintained.

A careless repair may provide an unfair lie for other players, and may also damage course equipment and will result in the divot taking longer to repair.

Smoothing Bunkers:
It is important to leave bunkers in good condition for following players. Bunkers should be smoothed in the following manner:

~ Enter and leave the bunker from the lowest point.
~ After playing, smooth the area and any footprints using a rake, if available.
~ If a rake is not available, glide a shoe is a half circular motion until the area is smooth.
~ After use, return the rake in accordance with club policy (either in the bunker or outside the bunker ) in the direction of play.
~ Do not place the rake against the inside edge of the bunker as this may cause difficult lies for others and potentially awkward rules situations.

Poster: Care of the Course - Repairing Divots and Smoothing Bunkers

Golf Carts:
Golf carts can be damaging to the course if not used carefully:
~ Keep away from green surrounds and teeing grounds.
~ Do not drive through damaged or wet areas.
~ Drive only where directed.
~ Check with the Pro Shop regarding any other course rules.

Poster: Care of the Course - Golf Buggies & Carts and Rubbish


Safety and Consideration for Others
Safety and consideration are commonsense, but take note of the following:

~ Before playing a stroke or taking a practice swing, always ensure that no-one is in your line of play or near your swing path.
~ If your ball is headed towards someone else, shout “FORE”, golf’s universal warning, as loudly as possible.
~ When grounds staff are working ahead, wait until they acknowledge your intentions before hitting towards them.
~ Try not to move, talk or create any disturbance or noise while another person is about to play.
~ Ensure mobile phones or pagers are turned off, or on silent.
~ Do not stand close to or directly behind the ball, or directly behind the hole, when a player is about to play.
~ Be careful not to stand on or damage other players’ lines of putt and that your shadow does not distract others.
~ Remain near the putting green until all players in your group have holed out, unless your group is a long way behind the group in front.
~ In stroke play, confirm the score of the player for whom you are marking on the way to the next tee.

Poster: Courtesy on the Course


The R&A Etiquette Video
The R&A has teamed up with 2007 and 2008 Open Champion Padraig Harrington to put together a guide to the etiquette of the game of golf. The video explains all the basics about etiquette, including pace of play, care of the course, and showing consideration for other players.


Download the R&A Etiquette Video

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