Golf Etiquette and Safety

Golf Etiquette and Safety

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Why Practice Golf Etiquette?

As a turf professional, you might have cared for grounds in a variety of different places, from universities to large corporate campuses. Golf etiquette is a part of turf management exclusive to golf courses, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Proper golf etiquette is essential to succeeding at the work you do on the course.

Golf course professionals need to make special considerations for members on and off the golf course. Luckily, we can expect members to maintain these same standards of etiquette themselves.

Golf etiquette keeps members focused on their game, keeps our staff safe on the course and keeps golfing fair and fun for everyone involved.

The basics

Working safely around course members in areas of play starts with three simple rules:

  • be quiet
  • be still
  • and stay out of the line of play

Though these rules may seem like common sense, it can require some nuance to know how to use them correctly in every situation. 

When to be quiet

Be as quiet as you can when golfers address the ball. According to the Rules of Golf and the United States Golf Association, a player has “addressed the ball” when he or she has grounded his club immediately in front of or immediately behind the ball.

The last few seconds before a golfer strikes the ball are critical, and golfers need as much focus as they can muster during this time. Know whether or not to turn your equipment to idle quietly or off altogether in this situation. This is at your superintendent’s discretion and may vary depending on the golf course.

When to be still

Stand still while shots are in play. This is especially important if you’re working at a tee box, green or any other place golfers commonly get ready to take shots.

If you’re far away from the tee but find yourself within the range of a golf shot, stop working and quietly move out of the line of play.

How to stay out of the line of play

The line of play is the direction a golfer wishes a shot to take, plus a reasonable distance on either side of the intended direction.

Always make sure you’re working out of this line of play. If golfers move into your work area, stop working and reassess their line of play, moving out of the way if necessary. This is another rule that will depend on your superintendent.

Avoiding rogue golf balls

As long as you’re attentive and follow basic golf etiquette, it’s unlikely that you will be hit by a golf ball. Accidents do happen, however, and you should be prepared for the situation. A blow to the head by a golf ball could cause a concussion or more lasting damage. Minimize your risk by staying vigilant and attentive in active areas of play.

Learn where every blind spot is on the golf course. Blind spots are anywhere that golfers can’t see you, even though you’re within range of golf shots. Sand dunes and hilly courses are the most common examples of areas that might pose a blind spot risk. If you hear “Fore!” but can’t see any golfers or balls, try to quickly determine the direction the ball may be coming from and turn to face away. Duck, then cover the back of your head and neck with your hands and arms.

If you are struck with a golf ball, go straight to your superintendent. Never interact negatively with golfers or club members. Use basic first aid and ice to reduce swelling and help with minor injuries. If you fear you’ve sustained a serious injury, or if you’ve been hit directly on the head, let your superintendent know and seek immediate help.

Where courtesy and productivity meet

Balancing golf etiquette with your work rhythm can be tricky at first. The challenge is to stay productive while taking extra care around golfers. Even though following etiquette and safety rules sometimes slow you down, they pay off in the long run by keeping members happy and you safe.

If you find yourself delayed by group after group, try to find a pocket between groups that you can coast through to finish your job. Your superintendent may instruct you to work backward through the course to escape a string of groups, too.

Sometimes, when you’re working greens, you might need to delay players while you finish up before moving out of their area of play. Even if your superintendent allows you to delay players for a full minute, be courteous to members and communicate to them that you’re less than a minute away from finishing. They will appreciate seeing you hustle, and your actions will reflect positively on the turf management team as a whole.


Golf etiquette is one of the realities of working in turf management. We expect every member of our team to abide by golf etiquette and safety rules.

Always remember the basics: be quiet, be still, and stay out of the line of play.

Also, remain vigilant when working in an active area of play.

And finally, ensure you balance courteous player interaction with productivity when working on the course. When in doubt about a specific etiquette rule, never be afraid to double check with your superintendent. As long as you’re attentive and follow instructions, you’re sure to have a safe and happy time working on the course.

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