BUCKINGHAM GOLF CLUB ETIQUETTE GUIDE


Golf is usually played without the supervision of a referee and so relies on the individual to show consideration for other players and the course and to abide by the Rules. Etiquette is therefore an integral part of the game.


KEEPING PACE


The R&A say on their website: "Two-ball rounds should take no more than 3 hours 10 minutes, three-balls should take no more than 3 hours 30 minutes, and four-balls no more than 3 hours 50 minutes." 


Being aware of pace of play and following the guidelines below makes the game more enjoyable for all. On very busy days or when daylight is short it determines how many of us can complete our rounds.



ORDER OF PLAY AND “READY GOLF”


The rules of golf determine the honour on the tee and during the play of the hole (the ball farthest from the hole is normally played first). These rules must be strictly observed in match play. 


However, there is no penalty for playing out of turn at stroke play (medal or stableford). So the club encourages groups to play “ready golf” at busy times or when losing ground, rather than sticking rigidly to the honour. Once you have agreed the principle with your partners then whenever you are ready to play your shot and not endangering anyone by doing so, you can go ahead. This also means that the first person ready on the tee, plays.


Thinking ahead and being ready to play 

Please anticipate your turn to play. Without putting yourself in danger or inconveniencing/unsettling other players, walk ahead to your ball, instead of remaining level with the player whose turn it is to play. Plan your shot while you are waiting to play, for instance by assessing club selection or the line of a putt. 


Be aware that using GPS and other electronic devices takes time, so please be as quick as possible when doing so.  


Leaving the putting green

When on or near the putting green, you should leave your clubs on the side nearest the next tee. When the play of a hole has been completed, leave the putting green quickly (including the 18th!).


Marking your card

Please do not stand on or beside the green you have just holed out on to mark your card, but mark it at the next tee. If it is your turn to play then the score should not be recorded until after you have played your shot.


Keeping up

It's a group’s responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If your group loses a clear hole and is delaying the group behind, you should invite them to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group. 


Lost balls 

If you think your ball may be lost or out of bounds, to save time, play a provisional ball. (You cannot do so if the ball could only be lost in a water hazard, although you can if the ball may be lost either within or outside the water hazard).


You should note the time when you start looking for a ball that may be lost. If not found within five minutes it is lost under the rules of golf and you should not continue looking.


Players searching for a ball should signal the players in the group behind them to play through as soon as it becomes apparent that the ball will not easily be found. They shouldn't search for five minutes before doing so.


CARE OF THE COURSE


Bunkers?

Before leaving a bunker, players should carefully fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made by them and any nearby made by others, using a rake if one is available.


Greens

Players should carry a pitch mark repairer and repair any damage to the putting green made by the impact of their ball, and any nearby made by others. The flagstick should be put down and replaced with care. 


Tees and Fairways

Players should carefully repair any divot holes made during their shot and avoid taking divots during practice swings. 


Trolleys and Buggies

Local notices regulating the movement of trolleys and buggies should be observed. In no case should they be placed on greens or tees (nor should bags).


CONSIDERATION FOR OTHERS


Safety?

Ensure that no one is standing in a position to be hit by the club, the ball, pebbles or twigs during a stroke or practice swing.


Wait until the players in front are out of range, or anyone using the public footpath. Likewise, the green staff, unless they choose to remain in position after being alerted to your presence.


If your ball is heading in a direction where there is a danger of it hitting someone, shout a loud warning of “fore” immediately.


Practice facilities

Safety considerations apply equally on the practice ground, where particular attention is drawn to your obligation not to put at risk either green-keeping staff working there or residents of the house adjoining the bottom right hand corner.


You can practise chipping on the practice green, but they must be low chips that do not risk making pitch marks. Golfers putting have priority over those chipping.


Avoiding disturbance or distraction 

You should always show consideration for other players on the course and take care not to disturb their play by moving, talking or making unnecessary noise. This applies not only to players in your group but to those within earshot on other holes. You should also ensure that any electronic devices taken onto the course don't distract other players.


Only tee your ball up when it's your turn to play and remember not to stand close to the ball, directly behind it, or directly behind the hole, when a player is about to swing.


On the putting green 

You should be careful not to step on other players’ putting line, or to cast a shadow on it as they play. You should remain on or by the putting green while others hole out.


Priority on the course

The Club follows the R&A lead with pace of play determining priority on the course. Two-ball matches do not have priority – that is simply determined by pace of play. 


When we host club matches, we will close the first tee for a suitable period which avoids the need to let two ball matches through. 


When, exceptionally, the club does accord priority to a match, any group holding it up will naturally be expected to invite them through even if they have not lost a clear hole. 


Use of course during competitions

For some competitions, the course, or at least the first tee, is closed to other players. Examples are weekend monthly medals, the club championship, inter-club matches and the weekly competitions of the ladies section on Monday and the seniors section on Friday. 


Otherwise, golfers not entering any competition are free to play social games at any time. Nonetheless, members should be aware that, except for January and February, the busiest competition times are weekend mornings and Wednesdays, especially in winter. 


The club is appreciative that members tend to schedule social games away from these times if they have a practicable alternative. In particular, relative beginners who have not yet been awarded a handicap are encouraged to “self-regulate” by avoiding peak times (and roll-ups) until they are proficient enough to hold their own.

 

TEE BOOKING


The System in use to book tee times is BOLDS, which stands for Buckingham Online Diary System. Members are now able to make a tee time reservation either online via the Club’s website, by telephoning the Pro Shop or in person.


There are some restrictions on the days when we are at our busiest in the mornings. For Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays no bookings can be made in advance before 12 noon. So, if you wish to play at these times then turn up at the Pr-Shop to be allocated a tee time. 


For Tuesdays and Thursdays at any time after 8am, and for Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays after 12 noon, booking can be made up to 8 days in advance via the Club’s website, by telephoning the Pro-Shop or in person at the Pro-Shop.


If booking in person in the Pro’s Shop, only one player from a game has to be present – all other players are required to be checked in. If they are late, then those checked in must play off at their allotted time or negotiate a later start time.


Regardless of how the booking was made, all players are required to check in with the Pro’s Shop before starting a round, whether entering a competition or not.

 

ROLL-UPS


Members playing in roll-ups will be given tee-times in the same way as other games and can arrange who plays in which time slot themselves (without needing to return to the shop and adjust the starting time).


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