If you’re an avid golfer, you probably rent a golf cart from time to time or one is included in your captain’s choice event. Do you ever share a golf cart with someone you don’t know very well? Are you a pleasure to ride with or a bit of a menace?
It’s quite possible you’ve never even thought about your golf cart behavior. We’re here to help, providing you with our top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for golf cart etiquette.
1. Do Follow All Posted Cart Rules
The golf course posts cart rules for a reason; to keep the course in nice playing condition. Cart Path Only means your cart should not leave the path, like ever – seems simple, but many golfers tend to struggle with this concept. Also, you don’t need to be a Geometry major to understand the 90 degree rule. Drive down the path, straight across to your ball, and straight back to the path. The other common cart rule is “scatter” and this gives you free reign. One final piece of advice, make sure you return to the cart part before getting too close to the green.
2. Don’t Be Evel Knievel
Golf carts can be fun to drive, but can also be dangerous. You’re not a stunt driver and your cart can flip over on steep hills. Be careful when going around sharp curves and pay special attention to bridges. You would be surprised with how many golf carts end up in creeks, lakes, and rivers because of reckless or unfocused drivers. No one wants to make that call to the Pro Shop and no one wants to leave the course and head to the emergency room.
3. Do Ask Permission Before You Rock Out
Bluetooth speakers and music are becoming more and more popular on the course, but you still need to check with your playing partners before you crank up your speaker. You should always check on the type of music they like or potentially, if the noise impacts their ability to play. You might be surprised to find out that not everyone loves AC/DC when trying to make a birdie putt.
4. Don’t Disrupt With Your Cart
We don’t think you would do this on purpose, but carts make noise and can disrupt your playing partners. Make sure you don’t slam on the breaks, hit the gas, or put your cart in reverse while someone else is swinging. Also, be aware of where you park your cart. It shouldn’t be too close to someone’s ball or within their peripheral vision.
5. Do Efficiently Park Your Cart
Pace of play is always a hot topic on the golf course. No one enjoys playing 5+ hour rounds and you need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Where you park your cart while putting can help improve your speed of play. Park your cart near the green, on the cart path, in a direct line to the next hole.
6. Don’t Take Up All the Space
When you rent a cart, you are typically sharing with a buddy, an acquaintance, or with a stranger. Make sure you treat it as a shared space. If there are 4 cup holders, only 2 are for you. Did you bring a cooler? If it takes up the entire basket on the back of the cart, maybe offer your playing partner a beverage or two.
7. Do Let Your Kid Drive
Do you have a youngster at home that is showing a little interest in the game of golf? One great way to get them hooked is to take them out on the course in your cart. Of course, if they’re under 16 they shouldn’t be driving the cart alone, but let them sit on your lap and steer. Having a fun time in the cart will keep them asking to come back out and before you know it, you might just have a junior golf prodigy on your hands.
8. Don’t Smoke Out Your Partner
Just be considerate. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good cigar on the course, but check with your riding buddy before you light up. Make sure they don’t have an allergy or an aversion to smoking. Worst case, you might be able to trade riding partners with the other cart in your foursome to find a player who also enjoys a stogie. Of course, you might have to share.
9. Do Tip The Cart Boy
You don’t have to do it every time, but if they go out of way, give them a couple bucks. Maybe they wash your clubs at the end of the round or you leave a bunch of trash in the cart that needs to be cleaned out. The “cart boy” job isn’t the most exciting – getting a couple dollars from a player will make his or her day much better. It also never hurts to make a friend who works at your local club.
10. Don’t Drive Up On The Group In Front Of You
It is tempting to do. You’ve been waiting all day on the group in front and now they are still on the next tee when you arrive. Resist the urge and give them some space. They won’t play any quicker with you breathing down their necks and the last thing you want is an argument. Sadly, fights have broken out on golf courses over slow play and golf cart etiquette. You don’t need that drama ruining your afternoon on the links. Relax, let them play, and get ready to birdie your next hole.
Our list of Dos and Don’ts are mostly just common sense and being considerate, but keep these in mind the next time you get paired with someone and share a cart. Sharing a cart is a great way to build a relationship and potentially find a new golfing buddy. Even if that doesn’t happen, you will be in close quarters for 4-5 hours, so make it a pleasurable experience for both of you. Respect the course, respect the game, and go make some birdies!
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