Golf Rules vs. Golf Etiquette

Who needs rules!

The game of golf is one of the older sports in the world and dates back to the 15th century.  Being that old, the rules of golf have obviously been tinkered with and evolved a lot over the years.  For the professionals, it is imperative that they know and understand every rule.  But for a regular Joe who plays 1-50 times a year at their local course, are the rules really that important? Maybe not. But one thing that is important is how you conduct yourself on the course, better known as your Golf Etiquette.

Whats the difference?

To begin, it has to be noted that there is a HUGE difference between rules and etiquette.  Golf etiquette is something that you acquire by playing the game, watching parents or friends, watching the pros or even reading about the do’s and don’ts on the golf course.  Everyone playing a round of golf should know the etiquette.  These things include repairing divots, ball marks, letting groups through if you’re slow, not stepping in someone’s line on the green, being quiet when someone is hitting, etc. 

The rules however, will predominantly be used to determine a player’s score.  Penalty strokes and how they are used is a big one.  Gimmes, mulligans and things of that nature are other examples.   Some people will never take a gimme, other will.  And THIS IS FINE.  I suggest you discuss the general rules before you tee off and determine a common ground for the group.  For the majority of us, picking rules that will speed up play is highly advised.  Drop the ball when you go OB, don’t re-tee, take a couple gimmes.  However, if you do not establish these “rules” before you tee off, all hell will surely ensue.   

Playing in a competitive tournament or playing with a bunch of money on the line is a different story obviously.  But trust me, no one else cares what rules you enforce in a fun round between friends.  On the other hand, EVERYONE cares about your etiquette on the golf course. Be thoughtful of others out there because in the end, golf is an escape and everyone wants to enjoy it.

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