Golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players, care for the course and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be.
Etiquette is an integral and inextricable part of the game, which has come to define golf’s values worldwide.
Put simply, it is a series of guidelines that exist to show other players, whether through divot repair or awareness of your shadow, a degree of fairness which you would expect to receive in return.
In terms of golf’s environment, etiquette is about showing respect for the course on which you are playing and the work that has been put in to create it. It’s about making sure that the game is played safely and that others on the course are able to enjoy the round as much as you.
In short: it’s about showing consideration to all others on the course at all times.
Clubhouse dress is smart casual. All Members and visitors must comply with the dress rules of Woodlands Golf Club Members are reminded that they are responsible for the conduct of their guests and should inform them prior to their visit to the club.
Pace of Play
Play at a Good Pace and Keep Up
You should always play at a good pace. The committee may establish pace of play guidelines that all players should follow. It’s a group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If they lose a clear hole and delay the group behind, they should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group. Where a group has not lost a clear hole, but it is apparent that the group behind can play faster, they should also invite the faster moving group to overtake them.
Be Ready to Play
You should be ready to play as soon as it’s your turn to play. When on or near the putting green, leave your bags or carts just off the green on the way to the next tee. When the play of a hole has been completed, leave the putting green quickly.
If you think your ball may be lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, to save time, play a provisional ball. Players searching for a ball should signal the players in the group behind them to play through as soon as it becomes apparent that the ball will not easily be found.They shouldn’t search for five minutes before doing so. Having allowed the group behind to play through, they shouldn’t continue play until the group coming through has passed and is out of range.
Pace of Play Guidelines
Clubs, public courses, resorts and competition organisers have differing views on what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable pace of play, but the fact is that slow play detracts from the enjoyment of the game for many players. Few golfers are heard to complain about play being too quick!
There is a responsibility, therefore, on all players and administrators to ensure that golf is played at a good pace, and a pace appropriate to the course being played. Factors that may influence what is considered to be an appropriate pace may be the difficulty of the course, the distances between greens and tees, the climate and also the range of ability of the players on the course.
In addition, it is necessary to make some distinction between golf played as a leisure pursuit and elite golf, where allowances have to be made for players trying to earn a living. At the elite level, there will often be officials on the course who can monitor pace of play and implement a strict policy, which involves groups keeping to a hole-by-hole schedule, and potentially being subject to timing of individual strokes with the threat of penalties if they fail to keep to the clock.
For ‘normal’ golf, it is still important for administrators to set targets for round times. As stated above, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model for round times, but it is important that the targets are achievable without being too soft.
Two-ball rounds should take no more than 3 hours 10 minutes; three-balls should take no more than 3 hours 30 minutes, and four-balls no more than 3 hours 50 minutes.
If slow play has become an issue at your club, course or resort then strong and decisive action should be taken to resolve the problem. And as a general rule, try to keep up with the group in front!
- Do not overload the course by using short starting intervals. When play is in two- balls, at least eight minutes should be allowed between groups and in three or four balls, at least 10 minutes should be given.
- If possible, incorporate starter’s gaps throughout the course of the day to allow for clearance of any delays that have arisen.
- Encourage players to play from tees that suit their ability and ask the starter to guide the players in this respect before the round.
- The rough for daily play should be of such a length so as to avoid numerous lost balls.
- Hole locations for daily play should not be too severe and neither should the green speeds.
- Advise players of the time that should be taken to play the course and remind them of their obligations with regards to pace of play, i.e. keep up with the group in front and allow quicker groups to pass through.
How players can minimise round times:
- Be aware of your position with regard to the group in front and keep up with that group.
- If you feel that your group is losing ground, tell the other players in your group.
- If your group is behind, try to catch up.
- If you lose a clear hole and are delaying the group behind, or if there is no group in front of you and you are delaying the group behind, invite the group behind to play through.
- Be ready to play your shot. While exercising due consideration for other players in your group, put your glove on, check your yardage, pick your club and line up your putt while others are playing.
- At the green, speed up your exit by positioning your bags on the way to the next tee.
- Move off the green as soon as all players in your group have holed out and mark score cards at or on the way to the next tee.
- Play a provisional ball if your ball may be lost outside a hazard or out of bounds.
- Keep up with the group in front.
- If you lose a hole, call the group behind through.
- Be ready to play your shot when it’s your turn.
- Leave the green promptly.