You have probably heard that golf is a gentlemen’s game. If you’re wondering why look at how golfers behave on the course. Do you see them yelling at each other or throwing clubs when they are angry? No. You see them shaking hands and showing respect to fellow players and the course. Respect is the keyword here.
Golf is a gentlemen’s game for a good reason
Golf is a gentlemen’s game because golfers shake hands before and after a round and speak politely while competing. Moreover, they act responsibly to protect the field and other golfers from violations of the rules. Golf demands from players to be self-governing regarding this subject unless they need advice on the ruling. In this case, they can call a rules official or marshal.
The rules of golf merge with the game’s etiquette. The players must show concern for other players, the game, and the course. Golfers who don’t follow these rules, often can’t find a game, because other golfers don’t want to play with them.
Only rules officials need to know all the rules by heart. Nevertheless, you are likely to abide by them if you treat the players and the game with courtesy as gentlemen do.
Several important rules of golf etiquette
Let’s go through the crucial golf rules.
You don’t want to risk hitting other players, so don’t swing your club before the space around you is clear. The same goes for hitting your ball – wait until golfers playing in front of you are outside your range. However, if you notice that your ball is flying towards other players, make sure to warn them by yelling – fore.
Be ready to play when it’s your turn. This way you save time setting up your shot and walking to and from to keep the game moving. Remember that the player whose ball is furthest from the green plays first to avoid losing time on debating about whose turn it is. Also, when you finish putting, leave the green quickly, so that the players behind you can resume their game.
Maintenance of the Course
Carts can damage the golf course and make the game for people behind you more demanding. To avoid this, stay off the greens with your cart and follow the golf cart path.
Also, balls falling at high speeds cause damage to the greens, so repair all ball marks and divots after you play. The same goes for sand traps. Rake them to erase ball marks and footprints.
Brian Davis earned international favor when he had the chance to win the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head Island but called a penalty on himself for a rule violation that nobody saw. Only cameras with an extreme close-up could catch this.
Another example of a real gentleman is James Bond. In a scene filmed at Stoke Park Golf Club, Goldfinger marches to play his shot, but Bond’s caddie asserts that it’s his honor. Goldfinger is playing out of turn, but the rules say there is no penalty for this unless the competitive player requires one. A true gentleman that he is, Bond chooses not to. You can see in this example how the etiquette and rules blend and are left to the players to use them as they see fit. Golf is a gentlemen’s game only when players show respect.
Lack of etiquette
Now, let’s see some examples of the lack of courtesy and respect for the game. For instance, a mobile phone ringing loudly while your partner or opponent is trying to make a crucial putt is a display of bad manners. So, if you have to bring your mobile phone with you, make sure it’s on silent mode to avoid interrupting other players.
Another common lack of respect is when players distract other players with loud talking or cast a shadow in the line of play. Being polite enough to avoid distracting anyone who’s playing is, apart from courtesy, common sense. Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you – as a wise man Confucius once said.
Golf is a gentlemen’s game because it’s played with a sense of moral, social integrity, and camaraderie. Phil Mickelson said that the object of golf is not just to win but to play like a gentleman and win. We couldn’t agree more.
You don’t have to know all the rules because if you act with common sense and treat fellow players and game respectfully, you will already abide by them and play like a gentleman.
Show respect, and respect you shall receive.