A thorough understanding and practice of golf etiquette will serve the junior golfer in ways you can't begin to imagine on the course and in the course of life.
My junior golfers leave their clothes all over their rooms, never make their beds and wouldn't know how to load a dishwasher but its amazing how a golfer who never helps out around the house will replace his divots, repair his ball marks and rake the sand traps.
Most junior golfers including my boys are fanatical about protecting the golf course and field. This is golf etiquette and, as Bobby Jones said, is as much a part of the game as the shots played.
Golf is a game rooted in integrity and honor, and golf etiquette is as much assimilated by observation as learned on the course from the very first round you play. One of the great advantages of having your child play junior golf is that they learn golf etiquette, personal responsibility and how to interact with others in a polite and meaningful way in a competitive setting.
The ability to look a competitor in the eye that just beat you, shake their hand, sit down with him and sign the scorecard and thank him for the game - will serve the junior golfer in ways you can't begin to imagine as they grow up.
Important points of golf etiquette for juniors to remember:
- On the first tee, introduce yourself to your playing partners and shake hands.
- Put an identifying mark on your golf ball and let your playing partners know what ball you are playing with.
- Respect the dress code. The golf dress code usually requires a collared shirt, long pants or bermuda length short pants. No denim, athletic pants or tee shirts.
- Don't dilly-dally. Keep up with the pace of play. If a ball is lost you have 3 minutes to look for it. Be ready to play the shot when you get to it and have your rangefinder out.
- Replace divots or fill with sand (the AJGA provides all players with a plastic tube of sand that they have to use on the course and return at the end of the round).
- Rake the bunker properly after you have played out of the sand.
- On the green, repair your pitch marks.
- On the green, don't step on your playing partners' line.
- Don't make unnecessary movement or noise while a playing partner is playing a shot and keep behind them and out of their peripheral vision until they have finished the shot. Watch where your shadow is too.
- Control your temper. On the US Kids tour, club throwing will probably result in a DQ particularly in State, Regional and International tournaments.
- Play the ball as it lies unless you are entitled to re-lie under the rules. Always observe the rules of golf and have a good knowledge of them (take a 2019 golf rules quiz).
- We encourage juniors to always write a thank you note to junior golf tournament organizers and the golf pro of the hosting club.
- At the end of the round, remove your hat, shake hands with your playing partners and thank them for the game.
The First Tee is a partnership between the LPGA, the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America, the PGA TOUR, and the USGA to introduce more American kids to golf, especially from disadvantaged areas. The people who teach golf in the program have grown up in the game and recognize the unique opportunity of blending the rules and etiquette of golf with life and leadership skills instilling important values into kids and teens through the game of golf.
The First Tee has its Nine Core Values that nicely sum up the core concepts in teaching more than golf to juniors:
When you play by the rules, defy mental demons, overcome every challenge, and enjoy a walk in the country at the same time - that's being alive.
That's from Arnold Palmer. That's golf etiquette and life lessons all rolled into one by one of the most legendary gentlemen in this glorious game.