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March – Week 2 – Etiquette

JGS March 8, 2021

The unwritten rules of golf are pretty much endless. We’ve got ’em on the course. We’ve got ’em in the clubhouse. And we’ve got ’em when you’re warming up to play. On that note, here are twelve top tips to follow for the putting green.

1. Mind the Signs

OK, so this is technically a written rule. If it says no ‘chipping’ on the practice green, that means no chipping. No exceptions. No excuses. There will be a valid reason for it, just follow the rule and you’ll be fine!

2. Who is in charge of the flag?

Generally, the player whose ball is closest to the hole marks his or her ball and asks if anyone would like the flag in or tended. If not, they remove the flag. If so, they wait until everyone is on the green and has had an attempt at putting

3. Where do you put the flag if it need removed?

In casual rounds, the flag is generally placed near the players but not in a place where any putt might strike it and incur a penalty. The Rules of Golf’s etiquette section would like you to place the flag just off the putting surface.

4. Where should I avoid walking on the green?

Here’s a complicated one, full of dont’s.

1. Don’t step on the line of someone else’s putt — even though today’s shoes do little damage to putting greens, it is a point of manners not to tred where a ball is going to roll.

2. Don’t walk around if you are in the field of vision of someone who is ready to putt.

3. Try to keep your feet outside a three-foot circle around the hole when picking up your ball if someone is still to putt.

4. Avoid leaning on the edge of the hole

5. The hole looks damaged. Should I fix it?

In a tournament, not before your group has putted out. In casual play, it is a considerate thing to do before anyone has putted.

6. Who putts first?

In tournaments, it is always the turn of the player farthest from the hole, whether on or off the green. In casual rounds, we invite players who are off the green to “come on up” before we remove the flag. And for pace of play, if you are ready and someone else is still marking and cleaning, go for it!

7. I’m away, but if I putt I’ll be stepping on the marker of my friend who is a litte closer. What should I do?

Explain the situation to your friend and tell her she can go first if she’d like. If she declines, don’t worry about where you are stepping.

8. I’m worried my ball or marker is in someone’s way. Should I move it?

No, don’t worry about it. It is up to the player to ask for a ball to be marked or a marker to be moved. It might be helpful, however, for you to use a small flat marker in this situation rather than the big, bulky marker

9. I missed my putt. Can I just go ahead and finish up?

Yes, and you don’t have to ask. Just say, “I’ll finish.” Never say, “I’ll try to finish,” unless you are entertaining the notion of missing.

10. My ball is on the green, but there is rough between it and the hole. May I chip it?

Many players hesitate to do this because they fear they will damage the surface. But you certainly may chip your ball when it is on the green! Just be sure to repair the divot.

11.  Where should I stand when someone else is putting?

You should not be standing directly behind or opposite someone, even if you stand in the rough. One way to remember: Stand in a place where you are looking at their face or their back. The idea is not to be in her peripheral vision. For pace-of-play, try standing in a place where you can study your putt so that you are prepared when it is your turn.

12. Who puts back the flag?

The first player to finish putting should move to the flagstick and prepare to return it to the hole.