Greetings and welcome to the first edition of the Hillcrest Etiquette Corner, where we will periodically discuss the general etiquette and rules that are expected when participating in the game of golf.
Over the past two years, we have introduced so many new golfers to the game. Men, women, families, and juniors, golfers young and old who have no experience at all or who have returned to golf after years away. It’s quite amazing to see the excitement level for the sport, and we hope that enthusiasm carries on for years to come! New and changed perceptions of a sport once thought of as “old-time” or “boring” have helped new golfers overcome the “stuffy” cogitations of the past. It’s undoubtedly the perception change our sport needed to survive the future.
As we introduce new golfers to the sport, it’s important that we all know what is expected of us while inside the clubhouse, on the golf course, or casually hitting a bucket of range balls. These etiquette tips will provide both our new and seasoned golfers a chance to reflect on the question, “Am I meeting expectations?”
Pace of Play Tips
Don't be the slowest player in your group
A casual round of golf at Hillcrest should not exceed 2 hours and 5 minutes for 9 holes, or 4 hours and 15 minutes for 18 holes. Often times, when groups are aware of pace, you'll find it easy to finish under these expected timeframes. It’s important to evaluate your pace of play honestly and often. If you’re consistently the slowest one in your group, you’re a slow player, period. Encourage everyone to move quickly enough so you find yourself right behind the group in front several times, both early and late in the round.
Play ready golf
Ready golf means if you're ready to hit your next shot, GO FOR IT! — regardless if someone else is “out” or further away. Unless you’re playing a high-stakes match play style of competition, there’s no need to wait for others to hit their golf ball if you're ready to sink a 20-footer or to hit a “bomb,” as Phil Mickelson would say.
Read your putt while others are putting
We see a lot of golfers wait to line up their putt until the previous player has already marked their ball. Instead, be proactive: Line up your putt as others are putting. Just be sure you are sufficiently far enough away to not be diverting, and once their ball is rolling, place your ball down and begin your putting routine. If your ball isn’t in the way, you can put it down and pick up your spot before it’s your turn to hit.
Use of Golf Carts
Make your golf cart "invisible"
Carts are very much a part of the
modern game. Your goal when driving a cart should be to leave no trace that you were there. Because we tend to look where we’re going and not where we’ve been, it’s easy to damage the turf without realizing it. Avoid wet areas and spots that are getting beaten up from traffic.
Many golfers tend to play “follow the leader” and drive in single file out to the fairway before branching off. It’s usually better to scatter—where everyone takes a different route—so cart traffic is spread out.
Where can we drive carts?
It's always acceptable to drive golf carts on cart paths. Rough surrounds and fairways are usually fair game unless they’re marked with signs like “keep carts on path,” arrows indicating that carts should move towards the cart path, or “ground under repair."
Golf carts are NEVER permitted to be driven on tee boxes, green surfaces, green surrounds (fringe or collar), or close to any water hazards. Bottom line: Please respect the golf course when driving a cart! Your maintenance team works tirelessly to provide golfers an exceptional playing product. Please also respect the golf cart unit itself, too. It’s not a bumper car or off-road vehicle; it’s simply a vehicle to get you safely from golf shot to golf shot.
Hitting Into the Group in Front of You
If there is one universal, unbreakable etiquette rule, it's this:
If there is ANY chance that your shot could hit the player(s) in
front of you, do not hit your ball. Do not hit your ball into the group in front of you. Instead, wait.
You should never, ever, ever hit into other people if there is even the remotest possibility that your shot could reach them. No matter how long you’ve been waiting to hit that shot. No matter how angry you are. No matter how poorly you’ve been hitting the ball that day. No matter if you “usually don’t hit the ball that far.” You simply do not do it.
It’s incredibly selfish, undeniably dumb, and unbelievably dangerous.
Music on the Golf Course
Music on the golf course has become more common in the last 5 to 10 years as the sport transitions into a more welcoming environment for all participants. There are certainly golf traditionalists that will never engage with the idea of music on the golf course, which is totally an acceptable viewpoint. There is a time and place for music on the golf course. A casual round of golf with the friends or a fun scramble event, absolutely. A Club Championship or the Navajo Trail Open, definitely not.
Here are some rules for music on the course. Follow these and you will stay out of the “Public Comments” section of the next Board Meeting.