35 rude things you should never do on the golf course

It’s time to review your etiquette.

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But rather than get lost in the weeds of all the things you should do, why not start by highlighting the things you should not do? For that, we turned to members of our How To Hit Every Shot Facebook group (which you can register for free here) and asked them about the rudest, most annoying things golfers do on the course. They didn’t hold back.

1. “Drive the cart ahead of the group”

I get why people would hate that, especially if the cart is in an area where you might have to worry about bumping into it. You don’t save a lot of time either. More often than not, you slow things down while being rude.

2. “Take calls on the course”

If you’re going to do this, ask ahead, pick up your ball, and excuse yourself to go to a distant location. This may sound like overkill, but remember most people play golf to get away from their phone. Be aware of this.

3. “Ordering way too many drinks”

We all want to have fun, but beware of getting rude, especially around a fancy club.

4. “Go crazy over their game”

I get this one. Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s just a game, have fun with it.

5. “Standing above the ball too long”

Standing over the ball doesn’t even help you. Give yourself about five seconds and go.

6. “Talk too much”

File this one under basic social skills. Don’t talk about yourself all the time, ask questions, and occasionally give others space.

7. “Drove their cart too close to your ball”

As far as I’m concerned, each balloon is surrounded by a no-cart zone of at least 10 meters. Never enter it.

8. ‘Unsolicited swing tips’

If you’re going to do it, do it well.

9. “Write the score in the basket, not on the next start”

Sounds like small potatoes to me, but I guess I get it. The goal is to completely clear the green so that others can hit.

10. “Too many practice swings”

You really don’t need more than one or two anyway. Just hit the ball.

11. “Cheating”

This one came back a lot, and for good reason. Again, it’s a game: what’s the point of playing if you’re going to cheat?

12. “Get viewers to watch”

Specifically, family members, the commenter said. I think it’s only a problem if you don’t ask your playmates first if they’re okay with it. Remember that a round of golf is a shared activity.

13. ‘Walk in your line’

This is without a doubt my biggest pet peeve. I’m really annoyed about it. Don’t step in my line – it’s super inconsiderate.

14. “Complaining after every bad shot”

Like your fantasy football team, we don’t really care.

15. ‘Stand behind you off the tee’

Stay out of people’s peripheral vision, especially if you’re restless.

16. ‘Knows your score on bad holes’

Don’t be an accountant there, especially after someone clearly just had a bad hole. They don’t need to be reminded.

17. “Don’t show up and have the courtesy to inform yourself”

Do people really do that? If you’re going to give up, at least have the courtesy to let them know you’re giving up.

18. “Complaining after good shots”

Whoever you are, you’re not good enough to do this. Trust us.

19. ‘Trolling for golf balls’

Do it at your own pace.

20. ‘Play music on the course’

Personally, I’m not a music listener on the course, but if anyone does, I’m not going to stop them. Remember: it’s a little rude not to ask your playmates first.

21. “Joke when it’s my turn”

This is essentially the #1 rule of golf etiquette.

22. “Hit My Ball”

I have a friend who is one of the nicest guys you can meet who turns into a scary monster when someone hits his ball. So many golfers really hate it when you do this, and for good reason, so take a few extra seconds and check out the ball you’re about to hit.

23. “Not ready to leave when it’s their turn”

Don’t procrastinate. When it’s your turn to leave, get moving.

24. ‘Give Up’

A colleague and I played a match once with someone who left the course after the 10th hole. It was quite awkward, but also quite satisfying, if I’m being totally honest.

25. “Comment on my photos”

Calm down, Johnny. Focus on your own ball.

26. “Take honors on the tee box”

Unless playing golf ready has been clearly established, if you have honors, you have earned them. You should be able to enjoy it.

27. “Standing in Your Line of Sight”

A few steps to the side make all the difference.

28. “Congratulating someone for making a putt before they do”

Specifically, if the ball ends up missing. Wait a few extra seconds and save yourself an awkward situation.

29. “Don’t let the next band play”

There’s actually no advantage in not letting faster groups play. Do it.

30. “Owling Putts Too Long”

You’re not playing the Masters – and that probably doesn’t help much anyway.

31. “Talking to My Golf Ball”

Don’t talk to MY golf ball.

32. “Making Apologies”

Again, no one particularly cares. It’s just a game, have fun.

33. “Spitting sunflower seeds on the putting green”

A weirdly specific one, but I can see how super boring it would be, especially for supers.

34. “Not Fixing Bullet Marks”

Someone has worked hard on this green. Don’t disrespect him like that.

35. “Take a divot on the green”

It’s golf’s ultimate deadly sin, and definitely not OK. You should be banned for this.

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