The “unwritten” Rules of Golf

2019 has ushered in a new set of golf rules that have re-defined many aspects of the game. Perhaps the most prevalent and one discussed ad-nauseam by golf commentators is leaving the flag in on the putting green, as the penalty for striking the flag pin has now been removed. Adam Scott is one who has seemingly benefited from this rule as his putting has immensely improved since leaving the flagstick in the hole even on the shortest of putts.

Other rules such as being allowed to touch the sand in a bunker or ground the club in a penalty area (not a hazard as it used to be known) are good additions to a game already over-complicated by too many rules.

However, with the recent poor display of bad behavior by Sergio Garcia in mind during a recent tournament in Saudi Arabia, more emphasis should be put on good etiquette rather than improving just the Rules of Golf.

Here are a few unwritten rules to know before venturing onto the golf course.

Have your own equipment.

There is no rule against using other player’s equipment in a casual round of golf but many clubs insist on players having their own set of clubs. This is done to speed up play. Make sure that your golf bag contains enough tees for the round and golf balls which may run out sooner than you think! Always have a ball mark repair tool and fix ball marks on the greens.

On the Putting Green

Nothing upsets players more than other golfers walking onto the line of their putt before they have made their putting stroke. A depression from the shoe will affect the roll of the ball and may cause it to be deflected, so take care to check where players have marked their balls on the green. Use a flat ball marker. Many golfers use tees or similar objects to mark their balls which may be in the golfers view or deflect the ball on the green.

Be on time to tee off

There is nothing more irritating than being ready to play and waiting for one of the group who is late on the tee. This will cost you a penalty in a tournament but in a casual round it is bad etiquette. Players who rush onto the tee last minute often experience a bad hole as their tempo is rushed in the effort to tee off without a proper pre shot routine.