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10 Unwritten Rules of Golf Etiquette



There is certain etiquette all golfers are taught when first learning to play the game, such as not to step in another person’s line on the green, and not to talk while another person is hitting. Those are the basics, but not what I’m talking about here. There are underlying rules of etiquette; ones that you may never even know existed.

You see, the mind of a golfer is very fragile, and often irrational. It’s understandable, since there’s a constant battle going on inside of it — juggling swing thoughts, demons, highs and lows. At any point a golfer’s patience can snap, and the last thing he or she needs is a push from a playing partner.

When you’re in a group with another golfer, your job is to be respectful, helpful, enjoyable, and sometimes just stay out of the way. You don’t want to unknowingly aggravate a player in your group (unless you’re playing match play, maybe), but that’s another discussion entirely.

Here’s a list of 10 unwritten, unspoken rules of golf etiquette.

Don’t talk to someone else’s golf ball

I know, you’re only being polite. But when golfers spray a shot and it’s heading for the water, you can bet they know it’s heading for the water. They don’t need you yelling at it or begging for it to stay dry. If they want to instruct their golf ball to behave a certain way, leave it up to them.

The last thing you want is for them to say GO as their ball flies toward a fairway bunker, while you’re telling it to SIT… only to see it land in the sand. Awkward.

Your pleads to another’s golf ball can also come across as insincere, or even disrespectful. For example, if the ball is clearly hooking left into the trees, and you yell “spit it!” you’re basically saying that the golfer just hit a shot that needs to get extremely lucky. Surely the player doesn’t need to hear your confirmation that he or she just hit a terrible shot.

It’s their golf ball; they paid for it, they hit it and they know best where it’s going. When in doubt, silence is always the best approach.

If you say “nice shot,” make sure it was a nice shot

“Nice shot” is undoubtedly the most overused compliment in golf, so make sure to at least use it correctly.

Imagine you’re a scratch golfer and your ball is in the fairway about a 100 yards out, your favorite number. The pin is tucked back-right, but you’re eyeing it up and looking to attack in hopes of making birdie. You end up tugging it, and didn’t catch it cleanly either, so you let your hand off the club in disappointment. The ball lands on the front left portion of the green for an outside chance at birdie, and you’re heated. You slam the club back in your bag, upset at the missed opportunity, and another player in the group gives you a half-hearted nice shot.

Now, not only did the compliment go unappreciated, but the scratch golfer may now be thinking, “Are their standards so low of my golf game that they think that’s a nice shot?”

And this goes for any level of golfer. No one wants to hear nice shot when it was below their standards. The point is, compliment a player on hitting a good one, but make sure the player actually agrees with you.

Show some love

On the flip side, if your playing partner is faced with a difficult shot — maybe they need to hit a towering shot over a tree to a green guarded by water — and they pull it off, make sure to say something more than “nice shot.” Especially if you’re the one who said “nice shot” when that same player hit a semi-chunk from 100 yards on the hole before.

Since the mind of a golfer is fragile, it doesn’t hurt to stroke their ego a bit when they hit an amazing shot. The golf clap was invented for this reason.

Don’t ask someone what they had on the hole as soon as they hole out

While it may not seem like a big deal, keeping score can be a lot of pressure. It’s easy to miscount, forget to mark down the scores from a previous hole, or simply mark down the wrong score. Such mistakes can easily lead to a dispute if handled improperly.

Nothing is more irritating to most golfers than having to announce to the group they made a double bogey as soon as their golf ball touches the bottom of the cup, though. If you just saw them three-putt, or you know they hit a ball out of bounds on the hole, don’t ask “What’d you have there?” as soon as they hole out.

Since they’re probably either angry or upset, give them a few minutes to collect themselves before having to confirm they had a terrible hole. And think before you say “nice par,” forgetting about the ball they dunked in the water, because then they have to correct you and say “actually it was a bogey.” It just reaffirms the heartbreak.

No talking during a no-hitter

If you’re a baseball fan, you know that you should never talk to a pitcher who’s throwing a perfect game or no-hitter, as to not disrupt him while he’s “in the zone.”

The same goes for golfers, but it’s even worse. For golfers, zones are particularly fragile, and any mention of performance, swing thoughts or score can be destructive.

So if a golfer just hit the first six fairways of the day, don’t ask something like, “How are you hitting all of these fairways today?” Chances are, they’ll snipe the next tee shot way left. And if they’re clearly playing better than their handicap suggests, they’re either sandbagging, or know exactly how well they’re playing that day. Don’t disturb them by saying, “Hey, you’re playing pretty well today, eh? Is this the best you’ve ever shot?” If it turns out they screw up their potential best round ever, you can bet they’ll be blaming you and your question when the round is over.

Also, don’t ever say this: “Hey, do you know you only need a bogey to break 80. Have you ever broken 80 before?” No they haven’t broken 80 before, and they won’t today because now it’s in their head.

Don’t hit, or even look at someone else’s golf ball

Want to see a golfer completely lose the plot? Walk over to their golf ball, bend over to look at it, then address it with a golf club.

Anyone who has had someone accidentally hit their golf ball knows there’s nothing that makes a golfer angrier. If your golf ball happens to be in the vicinity of someone else’s ball — or if there’s even a chance of it — be extra, extra careful that you’re hitting the correct one. I’ve seen disputes over golf balls turn into fisticuffs.

And, whatever you do, DO NOT hit someone’s golf ball, realize it’s theirs, and then drop the ball back in a worse lie than where you found it. Not even your worst enemy deserves that.

Tell someone if they’re teed up in front of the tee markers

Don’t wait until after they’ve hit the shot to tell them their ball was in front of the tee markers. If you noticed it, that means you noticed before they hit the ball, or else you wouldn’t have been able to tell. Don’t put another golfer in that awkward position, because there’s only two ways of dealing with it:

  1. They take the stroke and re-tee, in which case they’re fuming because you could have saved them the stroke.
  2. You agree to let it go, but then the player feels bad and can’t concentrate the rest of the round knowing it wasn’t completely by the rules.

Golf is a game of sportsmanship, and you should never want another player to incur a penalty. Even if you’re playing against them, calling penalties that you could have saved from happening is a sure way to make enemies in the game.

Wait until the clubhouse to pay

I know it hurts when you’ve lost a money match, and you want to get the payment over as soon as possible, but on the 18th green in front of an audience is NOT the right time to do so.

You need to be sensitive to the fact that some people are uncomfortable advertising that they gamble on the golf course, and others are even more uncomfortable with people knowing they won. Wait until you’re in a more private setting to settle your bets. If they want to then brag to their friends or fellow members, that’s their right.

Take your ball out of the hole before someone else putts

There’s something poetic about the sound of the golf ball rolling around in the bottom of the cup. It’s confirmation that you’ve successfully completed your goal of making the putt, and your award for finishing the hole.

There are only 18 opportunities to hear that sound during a round, so don’t rob your playing partner of any of them.

Plus, you don’t want your playing partner thinking about your golf ball that’s sitting in the bottom of the cup, rather than concentrating on what he or she needs to do on the green. Maybe you’re just trying to speed up play or not get in the way of the other player, but it’s never wrong to just hurry up and grab your ball out of the hole.

Seek instruction, but make sure it’s timed correctly

There’s not a golfer on the planet who will refuse to give advice to a player seeking assistance with their game. Even on the PGA Tour, where golfers compete against each other for seven-figure paychecks, players give each other pointers when asked.

That being said, right after someone hits a shot that spins violently off the front of the green is NOT the correct time to ask, “How do you get the ball to spin back like that?” If the ball spins off the green, I can guarantee they weren’t trying to do that. And if they duck hook a ball into someone’s backyard, that simply isn’t the right time to ask, “How do you make the ball draw like that?”

There’s a time and place for instruction; just make sure it’s not when your playing partner is ready to snap their club in half.

Inspired by Assistant PGA Professional Steven Westphal

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.



  1. Mmmmm

    Jul 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    The fact that you called it “Rules of” Etiquette tells me you should quit this game and get off the golf course and leave us alone, because you don’t understand golf in any way whatsoever

  2. Scooter

    Jul 24, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    I’ve played with folks who miss a putt and immediately rake the ball back to re-try or drop another ball to re-try … before I’ve hit my first putt … very uncool

  3. Suncoast 9

    Jul 23, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    1. Pull that short tee out of the ground after teeing off on a par three or short par four.
    2. If someone says nice shot when you know it wasn’t, just smile and say thank you.

    • Double Mocha Man

      Jul 24, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Hey, I like that short tee left there. I use it if it’s on the correct side of the tee box.

      • Double Mocha Man

        Jul 24, 2016 at 7:31 pm

        In front or in back of the markers… it’s gotta fit the club’s distance. Why let a silly thing like a tee marker interfere? I have actually moved them before… if I can’t get a level stance. Folks, do you know who places the tee markers?! Some hard-working 2nd string greenskeeper grunt who has never played a round of golf in his life. He mowed the tee and was told to place the tee markers in a new position. Bless his heart… what does he know.

        • Double Mocha Man

          Jul 24, 2016 at 7:40 pm

          Ah, my bad. We all thought the PGA and the USGA came in to our little public course and professionally placed those tee markers. I used to think that, too.

    • Jack

      Aug 2, 2016 at 5:15 am

      I got annoyed at a guy that kept saying nice shot when I hit it OB. I told him about it and he stopped. Communication is the proper etiquette. But what bugs me most is the unsolicited swing advice. It’s like WTH, you really think I’m going to get better immediately? Especially when it’s coming from a high handicapper who has no clue what he’s doing.

  4. Sam

    Jul 23, 2016 at 2:22 am

    First hole of a big tourny i was nervous and chipped on from near the green and 3 putted.My scorer said ‘ your short game is really bad’
    I became mad.

  5. Grizz01

    Jul 22, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    And this, is how you get into your opponets head.

  6. Bert

    Jul 22, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Not sure your opening comment is correct; seems like new players to the game know very little about anything except what they may see on TV.

    “There is certain etiquette all golfers are taught when first learning to play the game, such as not to step in another person’s line on the green, and not to talk while another person is hitting. Those are the basics,”

    Who teaches them?

    • Double Mocha Man

      Jul 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Always remember to shout, “Get in the hole!” or “Mashed potatoes.” when a member of your group hits.

  7. Nils Nelson

    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Regardless of your on-course experience, read THE GOLFER’S CODE, by David Gould. (Thank you for speaking up, Mr. Montesano.)

  8. Joey5Picks

    Jul 22, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Regarding #9: Was playing with friends once. On a par 3 friend #1 hits his tee shot and as soon as it’s in the air friend #2 says “Nice shot!”. The ball flies the green and goes into the junk. Friend #2 immediately says “oh, never mind.”

    Don’t say “nice shot” until the ball comes to rest.

  9. acemandrake

    Jul 22, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    “Maybe you’re just trying to speed up play or not get in the way of the other player, but it’s wrong to just hurry up and grab your ball out of the hole.”

    ??? Am I reading this correctly? Didn’t he say to take our ball out of the hole before the next player putts?

    What’s wrong with me?

    • Brian

      Jul 22, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Nah, you read it the same way I did. I believe it’s a typo.

  10. Double Mocha Man

    Jul 22, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    #7. I like to keep my own score. I do it by tracking how many over par I am… on rare occasion how many under. I dislike it when someone else insists on keeping my score. A while back I resorted to telling outright lies to “Mr. Scorekeeper”. I’d say, “Par.” He’d say, “I had you for a bogey.” Well, if you’re counting my strokes why friggin’ ask me?!

    • KK

      Jul 22, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      That’s kind of the rule of golf, bro. It appears your own naivete is the root cause of your problem. Read up.

      • Double Mocha Man

        Jul 22, 2016 at 9:06 pm

        KK… Tell me again what’s naive about keeping my own score.

        • Uncleyianni

          Jul 23, 2016 at 6:44 am

          You both keep score to be there to fix each other’s mistakes. As a kind of back up for each other.

        • Dad

          Jul 23, 2016 at 4:50 pm

          Makes it easier to cheat. Even though I’m SURE you’re a great guy, there’s a reason partners keep score in golf

  11. Bob Castelline

    Jul 22, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    #11 — No such thing at “ready golf” when you’re on the tee
    You gotta hate the guy who strides arrogantly up to the tee ahead of you, despite the fact that he just made double to your par. “Ready golf,” he says as you stand there dumbfounded, driver in hand, ready to play.

    Ready golf is not for the tee, dude.

    • Double Mocha Man

      Jul 22, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      Ready golf is for the tee if you’re not ready. Also, first one to the 19th hole buys… ready drinks.

      • Bob Castelline

        Jul 22, 2016 at 4:54 pm

        OK, right. But I just said, “as you stand there dumbfounded, driver in hand, ready to play.” Definitely agree on the 19th hole rule.

        • Double Mocha Man

          Jul 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm

          Since you said you were ready, I understand. I owe you a gin & tonic. In the groups I play with we only give tee honors to a guy if he just made birdie or better… then we’ll suck it up and wait.

          • Double Mocha Man

            Jul 22, 2016 at 5:37 pm

            If I’m playing in a strange group I’ll usually wait to see how they play it, or I ask or I just score the lowest so I have the honors anyway. 😉

    • Double Mocha Man

      Jul 22, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Agreed. If you want tee honors get your butt up on the tee.

    • Bob Castelline

      Jul 22, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Perhaps you missed the part where I wrote, “Driver in hand, ready to play.”

      FWIW, I don’t do any of that crap you just described. So no, you’re not right. Consider getting your psychic gyro calibrated.

      • ooffa

        Jul 22, 2016 at 5:39 pm

        Hey Smiz, Bob is lying. He does all those things. You Rock Smiz.

      • Double Mocha Man

        Jul 22, 2016 at 5:48 pm

        Smizter… I’m with Bob. I think he was a half step late to the tee box ’cause he was kind enough to put the flag back in the hole.

        And go easy on Ferguson… I grew up there as a kid. One black in my graduating class of over 300. Sneaked onto many a private country club there… Norwood Hills, Normandie, Glen Echo.

      • Brian

        Jul 23, 2016 at 1:23 am

        You are the absolute worst person on the Internet.

        • Brian

          Jul 25, 2016 at 1:11 pm

          You’ll call it a cesspool, but you won’t look into extenuating circumstances that create the “cesspool.” You’re more than happy to point out the bad, but not willing to understand how it became the way it did. Systemic racism, under-employment and/or abject poverty due to systemic racism, fathers not being fathers, mothers not being mothers, and on and on and on.

          Honestly, you could point to just about any low-income area in the U.S. and find similar traits. It’s not just Ferguson, (I’ll go ahead and say it, because it seems like everyone’s afraid to) it’s not just black people, but as long as you enjoy continuing to paint that picture, it’ll never change. We could all, myself included, use a nice step back and exercise some empathy every now and again.

    • KK

      Jul 22, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Golf is too long as is and is killing the game. No one has the time for wait for you to prance on up to the tee.

  12. Patricknorm

    Jul 22, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I play a lot of tournaments and for those who do, you know making a four footer for par ( or even a tricky 3 footer) is a skill. Most non tournament matches I play, I putt out. Occasionally I’ll play with a group who has the habit of ” giving me” those 3-4 footers. I’ll politely explain that this is the only opportunity outside of a tournament to have to make them.
    Also, I hate when players stand behind you when you putt to see your line. This happens occasionally even in tournaments and even then I have to request that I not be able to see them in my backswing. Of course when I play with better players this is never an issue.
    I’m only a 7 handicap but it’s never easy scoring unless I putt well. I’ll admit to some minor anal retentive behaviour on this issue. Good article .

    • Double Mocha Man

      Jul 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      I love the guys who give themselves 6 foot gimmes. They swipe at them backhanded or while walking. I called a buddy on that once and challenged him to putt out every hole. He didn’t make anything under 4 feet. Next round I relented and let him go back to giving himself putts. He was much happier once again.

  13. Scooter McGavin

    Jul 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Ugh. Such pretentious, whiny crap. Stop asking everyone to walk on eggshells around you because of your “fragile” ego. Be an adult for Christ’s sake.

    • Justin

      Jul 22, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Completely agree! These rules are fine if you play on the PGA tour, but they are part of the reason why some people stay away from golf. If you play with anyone who does any of these things and you don’t like it, just don’t play with them anymore! It’s really that simple!! If you can’t handle me talking to your ball and you think it’s affecting your game, that’s on you. I shouldn’t have to change the way I play so you can play better. I’m a good golfer who grew up in a “country club” and know all the proper etiquette that some do not. Just because they didn’t grow up in the same environment as I did doesn’t make them bad people. Here is the short list of etiquette that I think about covers it:

      1. If the group behind you is on your ass, and the group in front of you is a hole ahead, let the group behind you through. Also, if you are a foursome and a twosome is behind you, look for an opportunity to let them through.

      2. Be conscious of where you are on the green while someone else is putting. As a general rule, mark your ball and take a look at the line of your putt until the first person to go addresses their putt. At that point, walk slowly off the green out of their vision. DO NOT walk back over to your ball until it is your turn to putt.

      3. To improve the pace of play, do not watch other people hit their shots while standing right next to them. Drop them off at their ball and drive or walk over to yours so you can save time preparing while they are executing. If your ball is very near theirs then this doesn’t apply. If your ball is 20 or 30 yards directly in front of them, know how far they are away from the pin and “estimate” what club you will use to save time. Nothing worse than slow play!

      4. Don’t rush to be the first one to tee up on every hole… you seem like an asshole. And no, you don’t have to play by who has honors, you can simply play ready golf. But, for the people who intentionally rush ahead of you to tee up… you know who you are… stop it jackass!!

      5. Know who you are playing with. If you are playing for business reasons, please act more professional regardless of what you may think the situation calls for. If you are out with buddies enjoying a six pack, please don’t be so uptight. In fact, you may actually play better during the round with buddies if you just try to have fun and lower your expectations.

      • Bob Castelline

        Jul 22, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        Oh, so YOU get to decide what’s proper etiquette and what’s not.

        Got it. Thanks.

      • Double Mocha Man

        Jul 22, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        #3. No can do. I can’t walk over (up) to my drive ’cause I’m 40 yards ahead of ’em. It’s dangerous to be standing in front of these guys. 🙂

  14. Ian

    Jul 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Your playing partner (not you’re playing partner). I read somewhere that a baby seal dies every time you use it incorrectly – just saying.

  15. Snoopy

    Jul 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    #1(b) – Don’t give unsolicited advice. The next shot after a ball OB right is not the time someone is going to learn to hit a 300 yard draw. If I make double on the first two holes, I’m probably in no mood to let you “show me something…”, and ironically, if my game is that far off, I’m probably not going to be able to implement new ideas properly anyways. I can still just enjoy my round even if I’m not playing well. If I’m not paying you for your advice, keep it to yourself. At least wait until we’re off the course.

  16. Double Mocha Man

    Jul 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I’ve learned to refrain from saying “Nice shot!” too early. Off the tee you hear the solid sound of a ball hit in the center of the clubface and you see your friend’s ball soaring down the center of the fairway. As soon as you utter the “Nice shot” words the ball initiates a 90 degree slice to the right into the weeds.

  17. Modog

    Jul 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    When I was a 14 Handy, dude told me I was even par on 17 tee. Knees shook so bad that I was lucky to bogie the last 2 holes. Thanks a lot.

    • talljohn777

      Jul 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      The odds of a 14 handicapper being even through 16 are well in-excess of 37,000 to 1, which is what the odds would be if you were just 10 under your handicap through 18 and this would put you in excess of 14 under your handicap. Making the probability of your supposed feat two to three times higher or closer to 100,000 to 1. Sorry, but I call BS.

      • Double Mocha Man

        Jul 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm

        Gotta love a master forensic golfer. If I had just made 12 more putts today I would have been under par…

      • Golfdoc95

        Jul 22, 2016 at 5:10 pm

        He was playing the back nine only…lol

      • Bob Castelline

        Jul 22, 2016 at 5:14 pm

        I’m a 7 handicap. I shot 5-over 40 on the front and 4-under 32 on the back of my home course earlier this year. What are those odds, Columbo?

        • Double Mocha Man

          Jul 22, 2016 at 5:39 pm

          I think that round will fit into the bell shaped curve.

      • mc3jack

        Jul 22, 2016 at 9:42 pm

        It happens. I shot two-under with a triple on my card when I was a 10 hcp. No joke, no gimmes, 6500 yd course. It was the ‘dream round’ everybody hopes for on the first tee. I was ‘losing balls’ because they kept landing in the dishes where the yardage markers were. Freak putts, etc. Sucked when the single who joined us asked me, “What’s your handicap?” on 15 tee, a tricky drive. I told him, “Having to play with you.”

    • ooffa

      Jul 22, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      If I was betting you I would have told you on the 10th tee.

  18. Peter

    Jul 22, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    If I’m part of a gallery, I’ll clap in acknowledgement of a good shot. If I’m competing, I’d say good shot or even great shot, but I’d NEVER clap.

    • Double Mocha Man

      Jul 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      On occasion I’ll give a hearty clap for someones’s really good shot. I think we all want the same feeling the pros get on the course… even if I’m just a gallery of one.

      On that note, I played this morning and found myself in a fairway trap with a 7 iron in my hands. Had to request a group of about 15 junior golfers on the course taking a lesson to move a bit to the left so there would be no chance of hitting them. Picked that ball off the sand perfectly and landed on the green. What a treat when they all started applauding! That doesn’t happen everyday. Looking back on it I should have signed a few autographs.

      • Bob Castelline

        Jul 22, 2016 at 4:51 pm

        Earlier this year, I hit a blind shot to a short par 5 in an effort to reach in two. Hit it great. The ball was screaming right at the green before it went over the hill and out of sight.

        Right about the time the ball would have come to a rest, this huge roar crescendoes from an unseen crowd. My buddy and I were like, “What? Whoa!”

        As we got over the hill, we could see there was a wedding going on just across the pond from the green. I found out later (from a dude who was bored out of his mind and actually saw the shot) that the preacher said “you may kiss the bride” at the exact time my ball was rolling to a stop on the green, 6 feet away for eagle!

        Coolest feeling I ever had on a course, even though it was totally fake.

        • Double Mocha Man

          Jul 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm

          In my case it woulda been, “You may kiss the birdie, because you’ll never be sleeping with the eagle.”

          • Bob Castelline

            Jul 22, 2016 at 5:17 pm

            I made the putt and thought it would be funny to turn and tip my hat.

            Nobody was clapping. They were trampling each other trying to get to the bar.

  19. Matt

    Jul 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Is it wrong that I don’t like people picking up my clubs on the green? If they are left behind that is fine but when you have a handful of clubs and pick up my clubs and they hit against each other or pick up my club with your club, etc. Don’t like it.

    • Bob Castelline

      Jul 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      I don’t think you’re wrong. I suppose if I grab the flag and my playing partner is polite and picks up my wedge on the way off the green, that’s OK. But I totally agree — pick it up with your hand, and for God’s sake, don’t put it in my bag.

  20. SpellingBean

    Jul 22, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    #20 – Piss out of the view of all golfers and surrounding houses e.g. go in the bushes or wait. Nothing kills your game worse that seeing hose.

    • Busterpar

      Jul 24, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Hard to do in this day of houses crowding every fairway and only 1 outhouse/kybo per 9 on a course. When you get old and feeble and are on Flomax like lots of us you’ll understand my point a tad better. I really feel for the women in outings on hot days, they must be miserable.

  21. Kelly

    Jul 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Really liked the article. I think etiquette is something not discussed enough.

    I do wonder about #10; I’m guilty of this quite often. I usually will say thing like “Get down” to a ball heading toward the bush/water or “Get up” to a putt looking short. I actually think this is good sportsmanship because it indicates to your playing partner that you want good things to happen in his game — I’m on his side, even if we’re competing. I certainly don’t mind when people do it to me. Do I feel guilty when bad things happen as a result of my “instructions”? Well, oddly, yes. I sometimes even apologize saying, “Sorry about that; I thought it was short.” But if we’re really being rational, we both know that my comment had nothing to do with the outcome.

    I very much agree with all the others, except #5, which is a bit silly. I’ve actually never hit someone else’s ball, but when it happens, it’s pretty clear that it was a mistake, so it’s not really an etiquette issue.

    #11 (or #1), be aware of the pace of play. Your playing partners don’t want to have to make up for your slow play. I hate when there are people waiting behind you, and a playing partner is making no effort to keep up or play a bit faster. The result is that the rest of the foursome has to play extra quickly to make up the time.

    • Kelly

      Jul 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Oh, oh, oh…here’s another one. 🙂 Watch your freaking ball! It drives me crazy (I hope my wife is reading this) when people hit their ball into the rough or trees, and have completely no idea about its line. I know sometimes crap happens and you don’t always do this, but that should be the exception, not the rule. If your ball hits the trees, you should know pretty close to exactly where it went in. Take a moment and mark a line.

      On the flip side, watch your playing partners freaking ball because sometimes, number one doesn’t happen. I hate when you hit a ball and either lose it in the sun or just don’t pick it up in the air and your partner doesn’t have a clue because they weren’t watching. Sure, sometimes you have your attention elsewhere, but for most part, it’s your job as a playing partner to help track other player’s shots. At least, that’s the way I see it.

  22. Donald Quiote

    Jul 22, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Rule #16 Never say good putt before the ball stops rolling or hits the bottom of the cup.

    • Rancho Bob

      Jul 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Is “Good lag” appropriate after a missed two foot putt?

      • Double Mocha Man

        Jul 22, 2016 at 5:22 pm

        Not if you want to keep all of your teeth.

    • mc3jack

      Jul 22, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      I Looooooove doing this to guys in match play. If it falls, cool. If it doesn’t…hahahahahahaaaaa

  23. Max

    Jul 22, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Golfers I hope to never get paired with in my life: Andrew Tursky

  24. JustTrying2BAwesome

    Jul 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    #10 – Is this really bad etiquette? I do this all the time, as have a few others I’ve played with. I feel like a jerk now, I had no idea.

    Especially on the greens. If my ball needs to go a little to get there, I want as many people as I can get yelling at it. Maybe it’ll listen one of these days.

    • Max

      Jul 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Yeah, I don’t understand #10. This is not an etiquette thing but more of a personal thing with the author and golfers like him. I have played golf for 25 years and am an etiquette snob and this one has never even crossed my mind. More often than not, talking to someone else’s ball is actually polite and show’s that you are paying attention to their game and not just self-absorbed in your own world. It also shows that you are watching their ball and can help find it if in the woods or water. I’d way rather have that than someone who is either too much in their own world that they don’t notice what’s happening in yours or people that are so serious that they barely acknowledge that you are playing along beside them.

      • Mr. Wedge

        Jul 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm

        I guess it may vary from person to person then, because I agree 100% with the author on this one (although personally I’m still guilty of it sometimes). Most of the time it’s insincere.

        What pisses me off the most is the confirmation of your bad shot. You dump one in the water and someone goes, that one’s wet. All I can think in my head is “yeah no sh*t, you ***hole. I know that b/c I hit the F’in thing”.

        • Jack

          Aug 2, 2016 at 5:17 am

          So what you’re saying is that you’re redirecting your frustration at someone who just saw your bad shot happen. You must be a joy to play with!

    • Double Mocha Man

      Nov 15, 2016 at 11:06 am

      You have friends?

  25. Chris

    Jul 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    #11 first to hole out gets the flag – dont walk back to your cart grumbling about your 7
    #12 if you’re away on the green, don’t expect someone closer to putt so you can get the line b/c they’re “the better putter” (yes this actually happened)
    #13 if your playing partner helped you look for a ball on 3, you help him look for his on 12

    • larrybud

      Jul 22, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Yes to #11 and 13. Never had someone ask me to putt first!

    • Mr. Wedge

      Jul 22, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      #14 If they miss a putt, give them a moment to finish it out (if they want to of course). Nothing worse then wanting to clean it up quickly but by the time you reach your ball someone else is already lined up and making their putt.

      • Steve

        Jul 22, 2016 at 11:50 pm

        So just go up and hit your putt and don’t worry about them. It’s their fault if you distract them during your putt – you have the honors still… They’ll learn real quick.

    • Scooter

      Jul 24, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      #12 Same goes for the teebox. If you birdied the previous hole, be ready to hit first on the next hole. I’ve seen birdie-men that become slower than death on the next tee and eventually tell somebody “go ahead and hit … I’m not ready” … I always tell them “no way, bad karma pro” just to put the pressure back on them.

  26. Cornwall1888

    Jul 22, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    90% of these are very petty are we really this sensitive?

    Sorry if you’ve had a bad hole I’m going to ask you what you scored prett quick so I don’t forget

    • Double Mocha Man

      Jul 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      How about if you just count everyone’s shots. It’s not that hard. Or let them keep their own score.

  27. Nicholas

    Jul 22, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Added rule:

    Don’t touch or remove my clubs from my bag without my consent.

    *I have no problem letting people handle my clubs but make sure you ask first. No need to rummage through when I’m not looking to check them out.

    • Nicholas

      Jul 22, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Negative. They usually like to take a practice swing with them. Happens often lately. Very odd.

  28. Gr

    Jul 22, 2016 at 11:41 am

    #11. Don’t walk on somebody’s putting line
    #12. Always make the effort to pat down any spike marks around the cup, after your putt out, even if they aren’t yours

  29. jim

    Jul 22, 2016 at 11:39 am

    is it in bad taste to hit the range before a round if you know for a fact the guys you are playing with will not have time to hit the range??

    • Steve

      Jul 22, 2016 at 11:45 am


    • Nicholas

      Jul 22, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Nope, not your fault for making the effort to get to the course early enough to warm up.

      • Nicholas

        Jul 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm

        I am on his side. I’m giving him ‘kudos’ because he’s making the effort to hit the range before the round.

    • Joey5Picks

      Jul 22, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      Nope. Want to warm up? Arrive earlier.

  30. Jafar

    Jul 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

    #7 Players are just gonna have to suck it up because in a tournament I don’t have time or patience to coddle someone after they mucked their hole out.

    If they’re that sensitive they should find another sport or face reality.

    That being said I’m also kinda guilty of 9 and 10. So I’ll refrain from that now on thanks to this article.

  31. Ronald Montesano

    Jul 22, 2016 at 11:00 am

    1. I’ve played in a tournament with a guy on two occasions. Dude tells me “I had you for XX after the front nine” each time and I told him this year, “I don’t want to know, so keep quiet.” Th first time, i let it get to me; this year, I closed like a boss.

    2. Tell a guy to replace his ball marker when he has moved it out of the way. I did this from the gallery at a major amateur event, as the eventual champion was about to putt out from the mistaken spot, with no one saying a word. Talk about all eyes on me! Fortunately, I was correct and the champ sought me out to thank me.

  32. Tom

    Jul 22, 2016 at 10:55 am

    #2 I leave mine in the cup for the next hoe out and pick up the pin.

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Opinion & Analysis

Paige Spiranac explains her decision to pose for the 2018 SI Swimsuit



During the PXG 0311 Gen2 iron launch event, I caught up with Paige Spiranac to talk about a variety of topics including her advice to young girls in the golf world, how her life has changed since becoming a golfing celebrity, her relationship with PXG, her decision to stop playing professional golf, and she explains why she wanted to pose for the SI Swimsuit issue.

Enjoy my interview above!

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Opinion & Analysis

Bag Chatter: An Interview With 36 Golf Co.



Bag Chatter is a series of interviews that spotlights brands around the golf industry and the people behind them. We’re looking to make this a regular thing, so please comment and share through your medium of choice. If you have a brand and are interested in participating in these interviews, you can email for consideration. This interview is with Jay Vogler of 36 Golf Co (Pictured above caddying for business partner Chevy Mayne).

Talk to me about 36 Golf Co. What are you guys all about?

We’re all about getting people out to the course, having fun and not taking golf too seriously. We’re trying to create a brand for people who love the game, but aren’t necessarily trying to turn pro. The whole idea started when I was walking through a hockey shop and saw all these hockey lifestyle brands and I was like, “Why doesn’t this exist in golf?” We’re mainly targeting the 18-35 crowd; folks that kind of have a laid-back approach. We think it doesn’t matter if you wear cargo shorts and a T-shirt as long as you’re respecting the game and taking care of the course. It’s more important to replace your divots, repair your ball marks and keep up with the pace of play than it is to wear a collared shirt.

There are a lot of people launching brands in the soft goods world these days (clothing, towels, head covers, etc.). As a result, that world can be a little crowded. What makes 36 Golf Co. different from everyone else out there?

Our corner of the market, if you will, is trying to create a community of people who see the game the same way we do. We want to see the game grow, especially among the millennial age group. We think participation is lacking in that demographic, and we want to play a part in making the game a little more accessible for them. We want people to connect over our attitude toward golf. If you see a guy walking down the street wearing a 36 hat, we want you to think he’s approachable and he’s down to hang out and talk about golf and life without being pretentious. We’re out there to lower some of the barriers to entering the game.

Since I know you’re all about growing the game, what do you think it needs? What do you think is the biggest “problem” with golf that’s keeping people away from playing it or trying it?

I think perception is probably the biggest thing honestly. I picked up the game five years ago when I was 22 and I came from skateboarding and snowboarding. When I got into the game, a lot of people make a weird face and were like, “You play golf?!” It’s totally a perception thing, but once you get past that, it’s just such a fun game. From the first time I flushed a 7-iron at a driving range, I was hooked, but a lot of people don’t even get that far. We’re just trying to lower the barriers to the game and put a community out there.

36 Golf Co. “The Looper” Meshback Hat

If you could change one thing about the game of golf, what would you change? It doesn’t have to be something in the USGA rule book necessarily.

Obviously, I would get rid of dress codes. That’s my big bugaboo with the game. If I was just going about my daily life, I wouldn’t be wearing pants and a collared shirt and I think a lot of people would be in that same boat. If we let people come as they are, I bet participation would go way up. Appearance, respectfully, only matters so much. You can wear a collared shirt and still be a jerk and not repair your ball marks.

When you got the idea to start this company, how did you actually go about making that happen? Did you just google shirt suppliers or something? What was that process like?

Yeah, I pretty much spent the first month on Google looking for suppliers. I have a design background, so we did the design and the website ourselves, so that was good. Finding the right suppliers who were willing to work with us and had quality stuff was difficult.

What’s the biggest road block you’ve experienced with 36 Golf Co.? Launching it, marketing it, logistics, billing, whatever…

Starting a business in general was just…so much to take in. It’s overwhelming. Accounting, problems with suppliers… but if you don’t just start it then you’ll never know. I know it’s a cliché, but you gotta start somewhere. It’s not that any one thing was so difficult. It was just the amount of things that come your way.

36 Golf Co “The Sniper” Snap Back Hat and “Fleck” T Shirt

What are you most optimistic about with 36 Golf Co? What’s got you excited these days?

We just went to a show this past weekend in Toronto, and we just met a lot of people who really seemed to get what we were about and were excited to be a part of it themselves. That’s what gets you excited; when people really understand your vibe and want to be a part of that community and rep your brand for no other reason than it resonates with them. That’s what it’s all about.

Let’s play a game. Imagine golf was like baseball and you got to pick a “walk-up song” when you got to the first tee. What song are you going with?

Haha. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jurassic 5 lately, so we’ll go with “What’s Golden.” I feel like that’d be a pretty good hype song.

If you could only play one course for the rest of your life, which one would it be? It has to be a course you have played before or have access to, though. Don’t just say Augusta.

There’s a little course called Bathurst Glen just north of Toronto. I used to work there, but it kicks my butt every time I go. It’s a friendly spot, which I enjoy. I struggle playing really nice golf courses. They kind of stress me out.

Chevy Mayne of 36 Golf Co. in the “OG” T Shirt and “Frost Delay” Snapback Hat

It’s kind of old news, but I’ll ask the following since it’s right up your alley. What was your take on the LPGA dress code announcement last year?

Oh man. I was like, “What the hell are you thinking?” You know, when they said that I was showing it to my girlfriend who’s a non-golfer and she was like, “I don’t understand what the problem is.” It’s not like they’re wearing thongs or something. Obviously, I think that golf needs to be tailored to welcome people into the game, and I think that sent the wrong message.

Lastly, what do you guys have in the works? Let us know what’s coming from 36 Golf Co.

We have limited resourced with just two people, but we have tons of plans. Our main products right now are our hats, which are mainly modern styles. You know, snapbacks and flat brims. We also have T-shirts and quarter zips available. All of that is on our website at We will be getting some golf shirts in soon, which we are calling our “collared T-shirt” this spring, so that’s going to be the most exciting launch for us in the near future. Follow us on Instagram @thirty6ix_golf_co and on twitter @Thirty6ix_golf to keep up with our brand and join our community.

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Opinion & Analysis

How valuable is hitting the fairway, really?



Hitting more than 50 percent of fairways has long been considered a good goal for amateur golfers. The winners on the PGA Tour tend to hit 70 percent. I have long maintained, however, that it is not the number of fairways HIT that matters. Instead, it is the relative severity of fairways MISSED.

Think about it. By the one-dimensional Fairways Hit stat, every miss is the same. A perfect lie in the first cut is exactly the same as a drive in a hazard… or even OB. There is nothing in the 650+ PGA Tour stats about this. In all, there are 60 stats in seven categories that relate to driving performance, but none about penalties! Like PGA Tour players don’t make any?

Let’s see exactly how important the old tried-and-true Driving Accuracy (Percentage of Fairways Hit) really is. To test it, I used two data clusters: the 2017 PGA Tour season (14,845 ShotLink rounds) and my database for the average male golfer (15 to 19 handicappers – 4,027 rounds).

For the graph below, I started with the No. 1-ranked player in the Driving Accuracy category: Ryan Armour. He certainly was accurate by this measure, but why did he only rank 100th in 2017 Strokes Gained Off the Tee with a barely positive 0.020?

Next I looked at the actual top-5 PGA Tour money winners (J. Thomas, J Spieth, D. Johnson, H. Matsuyama and J. Rohm), the 2017 PGA Tour average, and all PGA Tour players that missed the cut in 2017. We all know the significant scoring differences between these three categories of players, but it’s difficult to see a meaningful difference in the fairways hit. They’re not even separated by half a fairway. How important could this stat be?

For those that have not tried, our analysis includes Strokes Gained and Relative Handicap comparisons. That enables users to easily differentiate between FIVE MISS categories below based upon severity. The final three categories are what we consider to be Driving Errors:

  1. Good lie/Opportunity: One can easily accomplish their next goal of a GIR or advancement on a par-5.
  2. Poor Lie/Opportunity: One could accomplish the next goal, but it will require a very good shot.
  3. No Shot: Requires an advancement to return to normal play.
  4. Penalty-1: Penalty with a drop.
  5. OB/Lost: Stroke and distance penalty, or shot replayed with a stroke penalty.

As we are fortunate enough to work with several PGA Tour players at Shot by Shot, we have access to ShotLink data and can provide those clients with the same valuable insight.

Let’s see how the frequency and severity of driving errors relates to the above groups of players (removing Mr. Armour, as he simply helped us prove the irrelevance of Driving Accuracy). The graphs below display the number of Driving Errors per round and the Average Cost Per Error. Note the strong and consistent correlation between the number and the cost of errors at each of the four levels of performance.

Finally, the average cost of the errors is heavily driven by the three degrees of severity outlined above (No Shot, Penalty, OB/Lost). The graph below compares the relative number and cost of the three types of errors for the average golfer and PGA Tour players. The major difference is that PGA Tour players do not seem to have a proper share of OB/Lost penalties. I found only TWO in the 14,000+ ShotLink rounds. While I accept that the most severe faux pas are significantly less frequent on the PGA Tour, I also believe there must have been more than two.

Why so few? First and foremost, PGA Tour players REALLY ARE good. Next, the galleries stop a lot of the wayward shots. And finally, I believe that many of the ShotLink volunteer data collectors may not actually know or care about the difference between a Penalty and OB/Lost.

Author’s Note: If you want to know your Strokes Gained Off the Tee (Driving) and exactly how important your fairways and the misses are, log onto for a 1-Round FREE Trial.

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19th Hole