Video Series

Video Transcript

I am sure that the necessary rules and the etiquette in the game of golf are one of the reasons why a lot of people actually are fearful of joining in a game. They almost think that, it doesn’t matter how they play, they’re just worried that they’ll do something wrong and everyone will frown on them and look at them badly. And actually, the rules are so complicated and difficult to understand that many people have that fear even if they had been playing for years.

So I am not really going to try and explain the rules of golf to you right now. What I would encourage you to do is get a rule book, have a flick through the definitions to start with, have a flick through the simple rules and then keep the rule book in your bag so in future times if anything comes up you’ve always got a rule book there. Ask your friends about some simple rules as well, what happens if I lose a ball, what happens if a ball goes into water and then just double check that they’ve got the ruling right when you get home. Flick through the rule book, find it, make sure they’ve got it clear as well.

However, the etiquette side of things is often a side of things that I would probably take more seriously when I am starting to play golf because if you are not playing in formal competitions, the rules aren’t that important initially. Obviously when you are playing properly in competitions, stick to the rules. But when you are playing in informal social competitions or social games, the etiquette side of things is something I’d be really sharp on because as a golfer if you break a rule, I can give you a penalty, but if you break a code of etiquette, I can’t really give you penalty for doing that and it does actually disrupt my game as well.

So, a couple of things you got to be careful for when you are on the golf course, couple of simple ones, turn your phone off, don’t walk or talk when anybody else is playing and try and stand well back to give everybody some space. So don’t crowd a player, don’t stand on the first tee on your mobile phone or jangle your keys, that’s the quickest way to lose friends. And also when I am playing, stay safe, make sure you stand back behind the line of the golfer, very rarely do golf balls ever go back but golf balls can go sideways or often times you’d say stay well back and stand still and quiet when someone is playing.

When you get to the putting green, there is a piece of etiquette on the putting green that most people are quite sharp on and that’s standing on someone’s line. If I am taking a putt and my ball is here and I am putting towards this hole here, there is an imaginary line on the ground that my golf ball will roll across and it’s really quite important that nobody stands on that line. It would only take one person to put a dirty great big footprint right in the middle of my line, lift their foot up and leave a depression or a spike mark and then if I take my putt and my putt misses, guess who is getting the blame? The size 12s that landed right into the middle of my line. Even if that didn’t make a difference, I’ve still got somebody to blame. So the best thing to do is always avoid standing on somebody else’s line of putt; just walk around the side.

And you actually see that on the TV, you will see golfers on the TV kind of straddling this imaginary line, walking around things. And why is he doing that? He’s really just trying to avoid standing on anybody else’s line of putt. So, we got a couple of things there from the etiquette side of things. Keep asking your playing partners as you’re walking around the golf course, should I be doing this, am I allowed to do that, what’s the situation that I need to abide by here?

The one other thing that most golfers when they are learning to play the game are conscious of self is slow play or being pressured by people coming behind them. So one thing I would encourage my beginners to do when they starting to play on the golf course is to walk quickly but to actually play slowly because the last thing I want to see you do is sauntering down the fairway, thinking that you’ve got all day chatting away to your mates, then get on to the golf ball and quickly rush and hit it as fast as you can because that’s the sure fire way to actually get worse and if you are getting worse you will take longer. So, walk between your shots quite quickly and then play nice and slowly, take your time with your shots.

Couple of other things, make sure that when you leave the green you put the flag back in and you leave the green quickly. You don’t put the flag in and then stand marking your scorecard, because putting the flag back in is a signal to the people behind you that you are finished and then they are ready to go. And if you will standing on the green marking your scorecard, you are now delaying them even more, so put the flag back in, move quite quickly to the next tee and then find time when you are on the next tee to mark your scorecard, maybe when your playing partners are teeing off you sign the scorecard or mark the scorecard then.

As you’re walking around the golf course, try and look as you’re walking on to the green, where is the next tee, where is the best place to me to leave my bag so I can finish that hole, take my bag straight to the next tee rather than having to collect my bag from the wrong side of the green, walk all the way back around the green to get to the next teeing ground and again that just slows down play.

So when you are learning to play the game, don’t be afraid of asking a lot of questions, etiquette, and rules based questions certainly. Take a rule book, have a read of it, keep it in your golf bag, learn the etiquette side of things as fast as possible and then everybody will be comfortable playing with you and you will be a nice playing partner, once you got good playing partners your game can keep improving and improving.