Etiquette & Rules

Playing The Game Of Golf

So, you think you’re ready to play a round of golf - how do you know?  Simply being able to swing a club, hit the ball and keep score is not "playing the game of golf".

Before you play your next round, make sure you know, understand and practice golf etiquette as well.  Your golf instructor can help, there are books, there's the internet and of course there's your golfing buddies that you play with - but how do you know they practice golf etiquette?

Here's a quick test to see if you need to go "back to class";

Do you know where to stand while others are playing?  On every green, how many ball marks should you be repairing?  When should you fill in your divot instead of replacing it?  Do you know how long it takes your group to play? Do you look ahead or behind to see if your group is playing slow?  Do you respect your fellow golfers, the course staff and the golf course itself?

Good golf course etiquette results in faster rounds, better course conditions, and an overall greater enjoyment of the game. Please follow these easy reminders at all times:

  • Within your group, watch everyone's ball until it stops rolling; line it up with a reference point beyond it such as a tree in the background.
  • Use "FORE" as a warning to other players. We all hit bad shots from time to time, give a person a chance to cover up and protect if you hit an errant shot.
  • Replace divots and repair ball marks, yours and others. Don’t forget, there is a right way and a wrong way.  The staff is happy to show golfers the proper way to repair ball marks!
  • Drive golf car-ts safely, obey directional signs, and stay at least 30 feet from greens and tees.
  • Stay on cart paths as much as possible.
  • Please remember to park ALL FOUR TIRES on the path to limit the excessive wear and tear around the path edges.
  • Do not practice on the course during play as it causes extra damage.
  • Please limit your conversations (jokes and stories) when on the greens and tees as this will save time.  Save your talk for the travel time between shots.
  • Never throw or bang clubs; it can be dangerous.
  • Leave golf carts or bags to the side of the green on the way to the next hole.
  • Step over others' putting lines and pick up your feet when walking so as not to scuff greens.
  • Place your litter in waste containers; help out and pick up other litter on the course.
  • When speaking, use proper language and volume. Refrain from shouting. Respect golfers elsewhere on the course.

Bunkers

Please don't forget about the importance of knowing how to handle bunker shots from a course etiquette point of view - Never walk up or down the bunker faces! Always exit out the back and walk around the bunker. Always rake the bunkers smooth before leaving. Leave rakes outside the bunkers, parallel with the ball's line-of-flight from the tee to the pin.

Here are some other basics to keep in mind when coming to play Pitman Golf Course or most all other facilities as well;

Golfing Attire

All golfers shall be properly attired.  Collared shirts are preferred however t-shirts in good taste are permitted.  Bathing suits, tank tops, cut-offs (jeans, sweats, etc.) and street shoes with raised heels are not permitted.  Only golf shoes with “alternative” spikes or “green friendly” rubber sole shoes such as sneakers are permitted.  Shoes and shirts must be worn at all times. 

Travel Between Nines

Feel free to purchase refreshments from the snack stand after playing the front nine and then MOVE ON! Golfers are not permitted to sit down and eat between nines; doing so will back up the entire golf course and could result in your group losing their position on the 10th tee. 

When finished the 18th, please do not walk across or in front of the first tee when going back to the clubhouse.  This is not only for your safety but we are also trying to limit the wear and tear on the first tee.

Cell Phone Use

 
The use of cellular phones on the golf course should be strictly limited to emergency situations. Ringing phones and cell phone conversations during a round are a distraction to other players. Using a cellular phone not only delays your group but also the play of all the other golfers behind you. Continued violators of this request will be asked to have their phone held at the golf shop while they are playing. You are encouraged to carry a cell phone as they are helpful in emergency situations but turn it off or put it on silent once you tee off.

Courtesy & Respect On The Course

The game of golf has always been referred to as a “gentleman’s game” and it should be the goal of all players to maintain that philosophy while here at the Pitman Golf Course.  All golfers should be respectful to one another as well as to the staff who are given the responsibility to maintain and carry out the rules and regulations of this facility.  Instances of rude or berating behavior may result in suspension of playing privileges and possibly police intervention.

Pace of Play Discussion

Nothing can ruin a day of golf more than slow play.  Don’t be part of the problem, pay close attention to how long it is taking your group to play each hole, the front nine and the finish time of your round.  It's easy, our scorecards have a time check on them for each hole, follow along as you play to make sure you are in good position and not taking too much time. 

"Excuse me Mr. Ranger, I'm not a slow golfer it's the other group!"  I can't tell you how many times we hear that as a response.  If that was truly the case we would have three hour rounds of golf.  First, nobody is accusing you of being a "slow golfer" - unless you have a history??? The point here is if you play enough golf, you are bound to fall behind and be approached by a Golf Ranger.  He/She has simply identified your group's pace as being behind schedule and/or your group has fallen behind the group in front.  How do we know?  Good question - Our staff records your tee off time and then has a "pace of play chart" that tells them how long it should take each group to play through certain checkpoints of the course.  So please don't attack the messenger, just consider the fact that maybe you really do need to pick up the pace a bit.  Maybe your group lost two balls last hole, maybe one of the guys in the group is having his worst day ever???  Whatever the reason, the staff is asking for your cooperation to pick it up a bit - and so is everyone else behind you.

Remember, you are expected to follow all rules when playing the game of golf including pace of play.  Here’s what you can expect;

  • If your group fails to maintain an acceptable pace of play or your group has fallen behind the group in front and is playing slow, our staff is expected to stop and check in with your group to explain your current playing time and what you need to do to get back into position. 
  • We will also explain that if you fail to pick up the pace then you may be asked to skip a hole and close the gap at any point on the course.
  • Finally, if your group can not maintain the proper pace of play you can be asked to leave the course without a refund.

Not all golfers can break 80, 90 or even 100 but ALL golfers can play in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, in many cases the better the player the slower the round usually is.  This is never more evident than looking at the golfers on TV - they are terribly slow!  Your playing ability has nothing to do with how long it takes you to play - your etiquette might but not your ability.  This policy applies to everyone including men, women, youth, seniors, and leagues. Stay ahead of potential issues by monitoring your own group's pace-of-play. Check your watch frequently and reference the scorecard to see if you are falling behind.

Did you know - Believe it or not, allowing groups to play through can slow the day down even more.  The objective is to have every group meet the standard playing time. Obviously there will be times when our staff may utilize this action to get a group or two through, but if the day is busy and there’s one group after another, you should expect to pick up your pace versus allowing several groups to go through. 

Here are some helpful hints to pick up the pace;

  • Wear a watch or carry one in your bag.  Make a note of what time it is when you tee off so you can keep track of your pace.
  • A four-player group is the standard and the maximum.
  • Play ready golf! Don't stand on formalities such as who has honors on the tee, who's away, etc. Whether you are on the green, tee or in the fairway, putt or hit on a "who's ready basis." Of course, exercise caution. Do not endanger other players.
  • Always be ready to hit your ball. Plan your next shot as you are approaching it.
  • Please limit your conversations (jokes and stories) when on the greens and tees as this will save time.  Save your talk for the travel time between shots.
  • Within your group, watch everyone's ball until it stops rolling; line it up with a reference point beyond it such as a tree in the background.
  • Maintain an aggressive pace between shots.
  • Tee off promptly at each hole without undue conversation.
  • As a player finishes putting out, go directly to the next tee without waiting for all players to putt out. The last player then replaces the flagstick their self.
  • Carry a spare ball in your pocket in case you need to hit a provisional.
  • Do not deliberate unduly over putts!
  • Do not spend too much time searching for lost balls; five minutes is the maximum time allowed. However, the pace of play policy is still enforced regardless of how many golf balls you lose!
  • If your group agrees, play the "leaf rule," drop a ball without penalty.
  • Every golfer must play their own set of clubs.
  • One slow player in a group is not a reason for slow play, use peer pressure to get your friends to play faster.

Proper Tee Usage

To maintain the established pace of play at any course and contribute to a more enjoyable round of golf, it is strongly suggested that you consider the following tee usage based on a golfer's USGA handicap index:

  • Blue Tee – The back tees (6,125 yds.) should be reserved for the low handicap golfers who regularly play in competitions.
  • White Tee – The middle tees (5,694 yds.) are enjoyed by most golfers who are experienced with the game, consistently break 100 and who can maintain a proper pace of play.
  • Red Tee – The forward tees (4,942 yds.) are played by any type of golfer including men, women, juniors, etc.

Inclement Weather

The Pitman Golf Course is committed to providing golfers with the best possible playing conditions throughout the season. There are many instances when Mother Nature forces the suspension of play or closure of the golf course. Please understand that the staff is not trying to keep you from playing during these times, but they are protecting the condition of the golf course as well as the safety of the golfers.

Frost Delays

A frost delay can occur whenever temperatures are near or below freezing.  A delay can be as short as 30 minutes or as long as necessary (2-3 hours) to allow the turf to withstand traffic.  Turf grass plants are damaged by frost when the pressure of foot and/or equipment traffic is permitted during times when air and soil temperatures are below freezing. Turf grass plant cells are ruptured when pressure is applied to frozen leaves and stems. Damage appears as dead grass in the shape of footprints or wheel tracks where they were impressed onto the turf. The immediate damage can be seen within a few days by way of footprints or wheel tracks but the true damage will impact the following season when that damaged area becomes susceptible to all kinds of stress such as drought, temperature, weed infiltration, disease, etc.  By withholding traffic from turf grass areas during time periods when leaf and stem tissue are frozen, frost damage can be minimized.

During frost delays, golfers must stay off ALL grass areas including the putting greens and driving range. The Golf Course Superintendent will make the final decision as to when the golf course will open for play. As soon as the golf shop staff is informed the course is open for play, the starter will be responsible for coordinating play according to the sequence on the tee sheet.

Fog Delays

Golf becomes a dangerous sport when you cannot see where your ball is going. To ensure the safety of our golfers and staff, the Pitman Golf Course will delay all play until the fog has lifted. While the first hole may seem clear, please remember that we will evaluate the first several holes where the fog can remain for a longer period of time.

Rain

 Golfers may choose to play in the rain. However, there are times when significant rainfall will over saturate the golf course leaving it susceptible to damage. Depending on the amount of rain, golf carts may be restricted to paths and may not be permitted at all, or the course may need to be closed completely for a period of time.

Lightning Safety

Lightning is dangerous and kills golfers every year. The temptation is always there to say, “what are the chances” but these are the times to convince yourself that there will be other days to play.  The Pitman Golf Course does not have any lightning detection or warning system, accordingly all golfers play at their own risk during these times.  If a storm does roll in quickly and you get caught on the course, here are a few safety measures you can take that might help you avoid being struck by lightning:

  • When you hear thunder, lightning is near. Head indoors.
  • Do seek; large, permanent buildings, fully enclosed metal vehicles (cars, trucks), lowest elevation areas.
  • Avoid; tall objects (trees), small shelters (rain), large open areas, wet areas, elevated areas, all metal objects (golf clubs, carts, fences, etc.)
  • If possible, get off the golf course or go to a designated lightning shelter.
  • Do not stand under a lone tree. This is where most people are injured or killed.
  • Remember to stay away from your golf clubs and cart.
  • If stranded in the open, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley.

Please understand the staff does not control nor can they predict Mother Nature. They do not know how long it will be until the frost clears, the fog lifts, the rain subsides, or the lightning stops. Please be patient and considerate during these times.

Rain Checks

Rain checks are only issued when the course is closed or play is suspended for a period of time due to inclement weather. Rain checks must be redeemed within 90 days of issue.  Rain checks will be valued in direct proportion to the number of holes played (i.e. if you play 13 out of 18 holes, you will receive a rain check valued at 5/18 or 28% of the paid price). Rain checks will only be issued for greens fees and cart rentals. No rain checks are issued for twilight golf once players have teed off.

Power Cart Rentals

Carts are rented for 9 or 18 holes and the fee is based per person.  This allows a golfer to only pay for his/her half of the cart rather than “both seats” or twice the price.   However, whenever possible our Starter will pair up single riders to avoid unnecessary carts on the course.  Users are responsible for all negligent damage. Please inspect your assigned golf cart and if you notice existing damage, have the starter or golf shop attendant note the damage on your course receipt. For insurance reasons, eighteen years is the minimum age for golf cart operation and rental. For your safety and to prevent damage to the golf course and golf carts, please keep the following items in mind:

  • Only two riders are permitted per cart.
  • Please operate golf carts on paths where provided and obey directional signs.
  • Do not operate golf carts between bunkers and greens!
  • Do not park golf carts in front of greens as this practice slows down play. Whenever practical, park golf carts adjacent to the next tee before putting out.
  • Golf carts are equipped with canopies for your protection from the sun and rain. Please exercise care in the use of these carts, particularly around and under trees where canopies may possibly incur damage.
  • Individuals with disabilities that prevent them from obeying cart rules must notify the golf shop upon registration to receive lenience (special flag).

Inevitably there will be times when weather or maintenance issues dictate a need for cart restrictions.  Our Head Golf Course Superintendent will notify the pro shop when this occurs and all golfers will be expected to adhere to the restrictions.  Failure to do so will result in the cart being taken away from the golfers without refund.  Here’s a list of potential cart restrictions;

  • Cross At 90 degrees – When this occurs, golfers are restricted to the rough but they may cross the fairway at a 90 degree angle to get to the other side.  This also allows golfers to stop at their ball, play their shot and then continue straight across.
  • Rough Only – When this occurs, golfers are restricted to the rough only and must not cross the fairway at anytime.  This means once you leave the tee area you must choose to drive up the left or right side of the hole the entire way.
  • Cart Path Only – When this occurs, golfers are restricted to keeping the carts on the paths only.  They may not leave the path.
  • No Carts – When this occurs, there will be no riding carts for golfers with no exceptions.