Golf Etiquette Notes for the New Year: Playing With New Golfing Friends

One of the greatest aspects of the Myrtle Beach golf scene is the way in which it brings together golfers from all over the country and all over the world. And because you may not always have a round foursome anytime you visit, you may well be paired with someone from thousands of miles away. Numerous Myrtle Beach visitors acquire lifelong friends at random during their trips.

All golfers have different upbringings in the game. Some were introduced at a staid, formal country club by their grandfathers at the age of four or five, while others had to be dragged along to the course by their buddies in college, mostly enticed by the prospect of drinking a few beers, before falling in love with the game. Obviously, then, there are different levels of seriousness with which people play the game. But there are some general etiquette points that any traveling golfer should be aware of, especially should you happened to be paired with someone from a different golfing background. Playing with others you’ve never met before can be unnerving and potentially intimidating, but take these tips to heart and you should avoid any awkward exchanges with your playing partners for the day.

On The Tee

  • At the beginning of the round, as soon as you realize you’ll be playing with people, shake their hands and introduce yourself by your first and last name. Even if you don’t plan on keeping score in your cart, immediately write their names down on your scorecard. Not much beats the awkwardness of having to ask someone’s name a second time within a few minutes of meeting him or her or, worse, artificially avoiding addressing them by name for the next four hours.
  • Stand well off to the side—not behind—your partners. If you think you might be too close or within their sightline, ask, and then take two big steps away from them, just to be sure. This also goes for shots from the fairway and on and around the green.
  • Don’t agree to any bet that might cost more than a post-round beer with someone you’ve never met. This is how on-course fistfights start.
  • This goes for any part of the course: unless your handicap is comfortably in single digits AND someone specifically asks you, DO NOT give any unsolicited swing advice.

In The Fairway

  • If you have a rangefinder and the others in your group do not, ask before you bark out their distances to the pin. They may prefer getting yardages themselves. Saying “137 to the pin!” before they’ve even arrived at their ball might make you seem like a know-it-all.
  • If your partners forget to replace their divots or lay down some sand or grass seed from the bottles on their cart, don’t make a show of maintaining the course

On The Green

  • If you like using larger ball markers (a poker chip, an old half-dollar or bigger Eisenhower dollar), also carry a smaller one in your pocket for when your ball might be near the putting line of someone else in your group. Before walking up to mark it, take a quick look around to see where everyone else is on the green. Some people genuinely don’t care if others step in their putting lines, but Murphy’s Law would seem to dictate that if you do offend this rule, it’s likely to be someone who will be upset by it.
  • If you find yourself matched up with multiple other people, avoid the temptation to knock an apparent gimme putt back to one of them. They might be playing a match you don’t know about.


  • If the beverage cart comes around and your partners ask if you would like anything, do not automatically assume that they’re picking up the tab.
  • Between nines, ask if the others plan on stopping at the snack bar. If not, and you plan on stopping, make your detour as brief as possible, so as not to hold up the round for the others.

(posted 1/7/13)

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