Rules and Etiquette for the Game of Golf

The Game of Golf has been played for more than 500 years. It is enjoyed around the world by millions of people. The game has stood the test of time, because of simple values: Integrity, Honesty, and Respect. These values are the Hallmark of the Game. They bind the very fabric of the people who enjoy it. Golf is often referred to as a metaphor for life.

Over the years, many customs and traditions have been maintained. They have become a standard set of rules and acceptable etiquette. These standards are maintained and expected by every golf club in the world. They are consistent wherever you play. It is also a standard at the Banff Springs Golf Club.
This outline and the accompanying practical lessons will give you the tools you will need to play the game of golf here and anywhere in the world. It is the goal of the committee to produce players who are competent in a casual game or competition at the highest level. The Rules and Etiquette are the same everywhere and for everyone.

This section will demonstrate acceptable and the minimum level of etiquette expected at the Course.
We will start with a typical day at the golf course (any course)

•Phone the golf course to verify your tee time and be sure to arrive early.

•Be sure to dress properly. The dress code at the Banff Springs will not allow: blue jeans, short shorts, uncollard shirts, hockey jerseys, stenciled t shirts, or sweat pants. Please wear soft soled or soft spiked golf shoes.

•When you get to the golf course, check with the starter and let him know that you are at the course. You should be early enough to warm up at the driving range. Start with a short iron (a 9 iron is good) and hit a few shots. Hit only a few; this is a warm up, not practice. Hit a few more shots with your mid irons and then finish with your driver. This will warm you up for the first tee. Be sure to hit a few chips and putts to round out your warm up. Now you are ready to play the game.

•You should arrive at the first tee at least five minutes before your tee time. Show the starter your membership card and be sure to take a score card for your round.

•The starter will tell you who is playing with you; if you don’t already know. Introduce yourself to the group and shake hands. Wish them good luck, discuss which tees you will play from, and then get ready to tee off. At this time you should have a ball, tee, repair tool, and glove in your pocket. Your golf bag should be beside the tee; but not on it. Powered golf carts can only be driven by people who have a driver’s license.

•The order of play on the first tee is established by the starter and the first to play will be the first person on the draw sheet. The order at all other holes is established by lowest score on the previous hole; and is referred to by having “the Honour”

•When you tee off; tee your ball behind the markers but not more than two club lengths behind. While waiting for your turn to tee off; be ready to play; have your glove on, with ball and tee in hand. Stand quietly to the side and rear of the person teeing off. Never behind. Make no noise or motions. You must respect the person who is making his swing by not distracting them. They will offer you the same respect when it is your turn. Watch the path of their ball until it lands. If it is in trouble; try and mark it with a reference point near where it landed; like a tree or sprinkler box, etc. This will help make it easier to find. If you think that the ball is lost or out of bounds; you may hit an additional shot after everyone else has hit. You must announce that your second ball is provisional. If you cannot find your first shot then you may play your provisional with a one stroke penalty. Remember; there are no free shots or Mulligan in the game of golf.

•After your group has teed off; proceed down the fairway and locate all balls immediately. Determine who is the furthest from the green and they hit first. Stand clear or behind the person who is hitting. If a person is hitting from the trees; stand at a safe distance in case the ball hits a tree and bounces back. If you have to search for a ball, leave a golf bag in the fairway to show the group behind that you are still playing that hole. If the ball is lost and appears to be difficult to find; then, wave the group behind to play through. At this time, stand clear and wait until the other group has passed before hitting again. You are allowed five minutes to look for a lost ball. If you cannot find it in that time frame and didn’t hit a provisional ball; then, you must go back to the tee and rehit. One stroke penalty for the lost ball.

•Be ready when it is your turn to hit the ball. Visualize your shot, choose your club and prepare yourself for the shot. When it is your turn; hit your shot without delay. If you take a divot; replace it immediately.

•Sometimes you may misjudge your ability to hit the ball far or are aided by the wind; and hit into the group in front. This is not acceptable or safe. Should your ball be heading directly at someone; holler “FORE” immediately. If your shot is close; but not in danger of hitting anyone; then delay momentarily yelling “FORE”. The call is a courtesy and should be delayed so the person doesn’t move and run into the ball flight. In both cases; you must apologize to the group in front at your earliest opportunity. Remember; you are responsible for the shots you hit. If someone yells fore at you; turn your face away and duck. Hide behind a tree or golf bag to protect yourself.

•You may at some time hit your ball into a sand trap. You cannot touch the sand with your club with a practice swing or your take away. This is called grounding your club. When you enter a sand trap to get to your ball; enter below and behind the ball. This way you won’t hit your ball into your own footprints. When you have made your shot; rake the trap is such a fashion as to leave it in better shape than when you found it. This is pride in your golf course and is a courtesy to the golfers behind you. If your fellow competitor is having difficulty in a sand trap and is causing delay in the game; you can help him speed play by raking the trap for him and allowing him to make his next shot. This is a common courtesy and will help speed play.

•When you arrive at the green, place your golf bags at the rear of the green near the path to the next tee. Fix your ball marks and mark your ball. The person closest to the flag will tend it. Stand to the side so you are not standing on anyone’s line and be careful you don’t cast a shadow on the hole. Ask the person putting if they would like the flag tended or removed. When you remove the flag, place it gently on the green far enough away from the hole; so as to not interfere with anyone’s putt. Place the flag in such a way that it is not across the line of anyone’s putt. When someone is putting; stand very still and be very quiet. If you are trying to read someone’s putt; you must do it from a distance so as to not distract the putter. While other players are preparing for their putt; you should look at your putt and prepare to play when it is your turn. When you make your putt; it is still your turn unless you mark your ball. You may putt continuously unless you are going to be on someone’s line. To mark you ball; place a visible marker directly behind the ball in line with the hole. If your marker is on someone’s line; you can move the marker by placing your putter head down and measuring a distance to one side or the other. Line your putter up; with an object in the distance so you will have a reference when you return your mark to the original position. Be sure to replace your marker to prevent a penalty. The first person to putt out has the responsibility to replace the flag when everyone has completed their putts.

•When your group has finished the hole; leave quickly and proceed to the next tee. This is the time to mark your scores. The lowest scorer on the previous hole now has the honour of teeing first.

•When you have completed your round; it is customary to shake everyone’s hand and pass pleasantries. Leave the green quickly and mark your scores. Tally your scores and proceed to the handicap computer. Enter your scores and check for any announcements on the board. When you have finished; if you have time; it is customary to enjoy the nineteenth hole with your group and socialize about your game.

Some rules around the golf course and club house:
All members of the golf club are invited to enjoy the clubhouse. Your membership card will grant you discounts at all facilities. Members are asked to remove their hats and refrain from running. Profanity and obnoxious behavior will not be tolerated anywhere on the golf course and clubhouse.