Rules & Etiquette
Rules & Etiquette

Rules & Etiquette

Unlike other sports, golf is mostly played without the presence of a referee. The game is based on the honest effort of every single player to pay attention to other players and to play by the rules. All players should be disciplined and show courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, no matter how ambitious they may be. This is the "true spirit of golfing".

Golf etiquette

Etiquette is an integral part of the game, defining golf's core values . It describes the manner in which the game of golf should be played to ensure all players gain maximum enjoyment.

In short, it’s about “respect”:

  • Respect for the course – leave the course as you would like to find it by repairing pitch-marks, replacing divots and raking bunkers
  • Respect for your fellow players – be sportsmanlike and polite, stay by the green to watch them hole out, and avoid distracting them
  • Respect for the game – by knowing the Rules and etiquette of golf

 Spirit of the game

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. 

This is the spirit of the game of golf.

Etiquette Essentials

The Etiquette section provides guidelines on the manner in which the game of golf should be played.  If they are followed, all players will gain maximum enjoyment from the game. 

The overriding principle is that consideration should be shown to others on the course at all times.

Explore the panels opposite to find out more.


Player’s should ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball or any stones, pebbles, twigs or the like when they make a stroke or practice swing.

Wait until the players in front are out of range. Players should always alert greenstaff nearby or ahead when they are about to make a stroke that might endanger them.

If your ball is heading in a direction where there is a danger of it hitting someone, shout a warning immediately. The traditional word of warning is “fore!”.

Priority on the Course

Unless otherwise determined by the Committee, priority on the course is determined by a group’s pace of play. Any group playing a whole round is entitled to pass a group playing a shorter round. The term “group” includes a single player.

It should be remembered that consideration should be shown to others on the course at all times.


Play the ball as it lies, play the place as you find it and if both are not possible, do something fair. But to do what is fair, you have to know the rules.

24 rules define how golf is played today. Whether in a quick round of friends after work, or at the oldest tournament in the world, the Open in England, it's always the same. The modern golf rules are being developed further and are therefore also concerned with mobile telephones, laser rangefinders and all the elements of the equipment that are constantly being technologically developed in a race between the manufacturers.


Further reading: Etiquette and rules of golf.

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