Etiquette on the Golf Greens

Photo: Berkeley Hall Club Facebook page

Manners matter whether you’re teeing off, driving or putting.

With its emerald greens, spectacular weather and world-class courses, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island are known far and wide as a mecca for golfers.

However, there are a number of written and unwritten rules of golf etiquette that every player should know.

Five Minutes – This is how much time a player has to search for a ball. If time is up and the ball hasn’t been located, the player must declare the ball lost and follow the standard rules governing lost balls.

Free Drop – A free drop offers relief from a condition which carries no penalty. For instance, a player may be allowed a free drop away from a young sapling to avoid damaging the tree. The player also is entitled to a free drop from areas that are under repair.

Honor – Having the “honor” entitles a player to tee off first in a group. It is usually determined by the golfer with the lowest score on the previous hole. On the first tee, where there is no previous score to go by, the honor is decided either by a handicap order (lower handicap usually tees off first) or by the flip of a coin.

Play Through – If any group fails to keep up with the general pace of play, loses ground on the group ahead or loses a ball, then the group behind should be invited to “play through.” Please note that this is not merely a common courtesy. A player can actually be penalized for repeated slow play.

Unplayable Lie – Any number of situations on the golf course, the important point being that the player is the sole judge of whether a ball is unplayable. There are several relief options available, under penalty, once the player has declared the ball unplayable.

Remember that common courtesy is a virtue on the green, whether you’re teeing off, driving or putting. Always be considerate of other golfers. After all, you’re all trying to accomplish the same goal—to master a game that is ever changing, elusive and, above all, fun.