NJM Blog

Golf Etiquette Updates for New Tech

Golfer talking on cell phone at golf course.

Understanding golf etiquette is important to enjoying your round. Following the rules fosters unity among the group and enhances the playing experience. If the rules of etiquette are ignored, it can lead to tension and potential conflict.

New technologies and rules to quicken the pace of play have created a need for etiquette updates. Here are a few that apply to players of all levels.

*Each course or club may have specific rules for these topics. Check with the starter or pro shop if you have a question.

Keep cell phone use to a minimum

All players carry cell phones, but using them on the course can become a distraction to the group and also lead to slow play. Checking your phone and sending a quick text message is fine, but prolonged use is problematic. During your round, make sure you:

  • Keep your phone on vibrate. Loud and random ring tones are disruptive to all players.

  • Limit phone conversations to 30 seconds or less. If you must pick up, let the caller know you’re busy and will call back. Making other players listen to and wait for your phone conversation to end is inconsiderate.

  • Refrain from scrolling or browsing for extended periods in the golf cart. Be respectful to other players and keep your attention on your next shot so you’re ready.

Obtain music permissions from the group

Bluetooth speakers have become popular on the golf course. Manufacturers now produce speakers with magnets so they stick to the golf cart frame. Check with your playing partners first if you want to play music during the round. Also, make sure they’re okay with the music you’re playing. Not everyone shares the same taste in music.

If you arrive at the next tee box and the group in front of you is hitting, turn off your music. It will be a distraction.

Mid–to–high handicappers overanalyzing distance

Knowing the distance from your ball to the pin is useful information for players of all levels. Needing to know the precise distance on shots with little chance of hitting the green is excessive.

GPS apps and range viewers are helpful on the course. But when the ball is resting five yards behind the 200–yard stake and a player trying to break 100 needs to get his rangefinder, it can become irritating. The stake measures to the middle of the green, so grab your 200–yard club and let it rip.

Film swings during practice, not on the course

Many players now use video to analyze their swing mechanics. This is a great way to learn your swing and identify flaws, but reserve film sessions for the practice range.

Using the video feature on your phone may seem simple, but it can cause delays in play. Setting up at the desired angle and taking the recorder (operator) away from their pre–shot preparation adds time. Taking a few photos or video clips for fun is fine but setting up shots for swing analysis is for the range.

Keep searches to three minutes or less

Hitting an errant shot into the woods or high grass is frustrating. Spend three minutes if you decide to search for the ball.

The USGA made this change official because, “golf is meant to be played in a prompt and continuous way, without long pauses in play.” Losing a ball (and stroke) is disappointing but consider the other members of your foursome and limit your search time to three minutes or less.

Remaining quiet when a player swings, standing to the side (and not behind) players on shots, and replacing divots are staple rules of golf etiquette. But new technologies and rules require updates to the list.

NJM, a leading property and casualty insurer in the Mid–Atlantic region, is proud to partner with the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP). Contact your agent or broker, visit njm.com/gap, or call 833-859-1920.

The information contained in this article should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.