NCG’s five-point plan to save our sport!


This is the most divisive topic in our sport, so Steve Carroll and Tom Irwin want your vote! Take a look at the quintet of suggestions they offer to raise the standards of the club and the course

Has golf etiquette passed to the dogs? Find a corner of the clubhouse and you’ll likely find someone complaining about footmarks, unraked bunkers, or why it took too long to get around.

Not too long ago the label had its own section in the Rules of Golf and prospective members could be asked about the traditional standards of golf in a pre-membership interview.

Much of that is gone now and new and established members can be left to their own devices in the sometimes tricky world of on and off course behavior.

Well, no more. At NCG, we are launching a new campaign to formalize what counts as good golf etiquette.

Today, we present to you our first five-point manifesto – our policy statement on how we should all conduct ourselves.

We talked about this at length in a recent episode of From the Clubhouse Podcast. But if you don’t have an hour to listen to Tom and I pontificate, here are some of our key takeaways…

course care

It’s number one for a reason and it’s a three-line whip. A red line not to be crossed. Golf course etiquette includes replacing your divots, repairing your pitch marks, raking bunkers – violators can expect the maximum penalty.

The greenkeepers are having a torrid time. They are fighting against nature – a difficult task at the best of times and even worse now with this strange weather (yes, it was really 17 degrees in mid-November). What they don’t need is another headache because you can’t be bothered to spend a few seconds doing a bit of herding.

However, we will go further. Anyone who pulls a piece off a green simply because they miss a putt is outright out. Pack up your locker and get the hell out of the parking lot.

And be careful with your carts. Do you really think it’s a good idea to push one into the middle of a temporary green, or between the putting surface and a bunker? Thinking about where you walk would really improve conditions for many trails in some of our wettest areas.

cause distractions

Talking during swings, jingling your keys, standing just behind a player on the tee, fidgeting when preparing to shoot, crossing lines of putt, respecting line of sight, standing on a passing line . Try not to do any of these things. It’s not difficult, is it?

Of course, a lot of these things are really subjective. What bothers you may not bother your playmate one iota.

But if you can all find common ground, you can avoid unnecessary recriminations and a potentially ugly scene.


Far be it from us to disagree with a king – Arnold Palmer wasn’t a big fan of carrying a cellphone with your clubs – but banning phones these days is a step too far.

We’ll probably get all of our scores on them sooner rather than later and it’s getting increasingly ridiculous to ban them from the moment you enter the property, as a few of our more traditional clubs still do. He is trying to push water up a hill.

That said, there has to be a measure of respect. There really is no excuse for a mobile ringing during a ride or ringing with the noise of 1,000 notifications. Just put it in silent mode!

If you need to make a call urgently, use a little common sense. Do it away from the rest of your group and do it quickly.

And just because you’re having a bad day in the middle, try to resist the temptation to pull out your iPhone and start surfing Twitter and responding to emails.

pace of play

Let’s just accept that a lot of people complain about other people being slow and playing slow in general. What can we do about it? Trying to play Ready Golf would be a start. But how many of you do that?

Spray a few balls down a fairway and it can feel like Riverdance watching players take turns shuffling.

Then someone lost one, he didn’t hit a provisional and he’s running to the tee.

See what’s wrong with this picture? Would it be better to bring back the honor? At least you can go from tee to green without guessing who will go next.

Now let’s move on to the brass thumbtacks. Let the fastest group pass. None of that, single person has no status, or “you have nowhere to go” garbage. Small groups are generally faster than large ones.

So why not just say, four balls give way to three and so on? Would that really hurt your pride?

Oh, and one more thing. Do not mark your score cards on the putting green. Just do it on the next tee.

Should you always look your best?

For the last time, what we wear has no impact on you and shouldn’t. Case closed. Are you really going to lecture today’s gamers after donning those diamond-patterned sweaters for decades? Move on.

This list is by no means exhaustive and we will cover many more in the weeks to come. But what do you think? What is important to you and who are your enemies of etiquette? Tweet me and let me know.

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