A question about etiquette.

Started by : SD_Golfer |

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I play golf every day.  Regardless of how many are in my group (1 to 4) I allow faster groups to play through.

I realize a lone golfer ranks lower on the "play through" list, however ... on the 4th, a group of 4 teed off ahead of me, 2 of the 4 put a ball into the woods.   I golf with the other 2 of the 4, so they know, even if I have a bad round, I'm done in 3 hours.  They continued on as if I wasn't there.

Today, the 5th, I waited for a twosome (one of which, again, I golf with) on hole #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5.   Finally I just "mosied along" rather than walk.

I have let these same golfers play through if I notice they are waiting on one hole ... I guess my question is, are they feeling they have the right to play no matter what?   and, should I maybe let them wait the same as they make me wait?

I am a firm believer in "keep it moving" but it is about speed of play, not "I can stay ahead of you, maybe"

Please share your comments, I would like to get a sense of how people generally feel about this.


Fred C

If you waited on a twosome of guys you play with, they should have asked you to join them. Historically, the USGA touted that foursomes and threesomes had priority. Today, faster groups have priority. Still, if the course has mostly foursomes playing and a single or twosome come along, should the foursomes be forced to let the smaller group play through? Not, in my opinion.

dave p

On occasion I go out by myself during "off hours" to play 9 holes and "practice" shots. I play quick and even when I might hit multiple shots, I never hold anyone up and can get thru nine in a little over an hour. Slow play is ridiculous and I have watched foursomes hit mulligans and know that I am waiting, sometimes next to the tee.  However these players totally ignore me and just go about their game. I would bet these are the same "players' that do not repair ball marks on the greens or divots in fairways, if they are ever in them!!!!  When with a group, we always allow smaller groups and especially singles to play thru, at least give them the option.   So I suppose, some players think they are entitled to play all day without ever noticing others around them. Luckily these types are not the usual group at my course, but seem to be growing!!!


It would depend on how many groups are ahead of them. If it is free, they should wave you through. If there are several groups ahead, grab a hotdog and a beer and enjoy the day out.

Jim A

I understand your dilemma Paul.  However, if the people you have played with before are ahead of you and you are a single or a twosome, good golf etiquette would be to allow you to plat through as you state you have allowed others to do.

The problem I have here is with those that you have played with and allowed others to play through when playing with you, why would they not allow you to play through?  It seems they either do not care if you wait or they do know your game better than you. 

Slow play is not something that anyone likes.  If you are playing 18 holes in 3 hours, you can hit the ball and get around better than most.  No reason that those in front of you should have made you stay behind and wait for them to play their game.  Poor sportsmanship and poor golf etiquette in my opinion.

Lou G

A single behind a 4 some should be allowed to play through.  Twosomes...... maybe, maybe not.

What irks me is being a single or twosome that plays a reasonable game of golf and being stuck behind a group of hackers that think they know how to play golf.  You know, the ones that take 10 practice swings only to hit a worm burner that goes about 100 yards, if that.

That is precisely why I play golf very early on a Friday morning or after 4PM during the summer on a Sunday.  I can finish 9 holes in 1 1/2 hours or 18 in about 3-3 1/2 on a regulation course.  I do 18 holes on an exec course in about 2-2 1/2 hours. I do this the old fashioned way - hoisting the bag on the shoulder and walking.

What also gets me is why someone rides a golf cart on a 1700 yard 9 hole layout.  Especially someone young and able.


For me, it depends a lot on whether or not you're out of position.  If there are 3 or 4 groups backed up ahead of you, there's no reason to let faster groups play through.  Just because they're fast doesn't mean everyone should get out of the way.  However, if your group is lagging behind, you should let others through.


It depends.  I would let you, or anyone, play through if you were clearly faster than my group and there was clear sailing ahead.  However, if the course was busy and my group was keeping pace with the groups in front, then that might be a different situation.

Jim K


Before you allow golfers a play through you need to ask yourself  the question " Is my pace of play creating a situation on the golf course that is allowing the golf course to back up" ? If your pace is keeping up with the group in front of you then you shouldn't allow a play through. It is the responsibility of the management of the golf course to see that pace of play is maintained as well as the players on the course. 

Don O

Apparently, it doesn't make any difference whether you are driving a car or a Titleist in America.  People don't move out of the left lane or fall back to let someone pull onto a highway.  Yesterday my wife and I were playing behind a foursome (2 couples) and were waiting at every tee box, but not for an enormous length of time.  My wife does tend to take a long time on a par 5, but I was letting her continue down ahead of me, as I was waiting for the group to clear my landing area.  As we got into the cart exiting to the left rear side of the green, our cart was hit by a wayward approach shot.  We still made the turn in 2 hours.  We let that group go past us at the turn by ordering some food, and taking about 15 minutes.  The group now in front of us were still on the tee when we got there.

Sandwiched by a slow group in front, and a pushy group behind did not increase our enjoyment.  We then enjoyed the pace following the cart strikers and patiently waiting behind them on the back nine, even when all 4 would look for a tee shot for way over 5 minutes. 

fred k


the question is, who's in front of them?  so a 4some in front of a single lets the single play thru.  let say there's another 4some in front of them.  that group may not necessarily let the single play thru.  now you've got a single trapped between 2 4somes.  think about it, if you're in a group and there are 2-3 4somes in front of you, would you risk letting a single behind you play away?  just a though.


Mark F


I often play alone and I often run up on a group of three or four playing slowly.  Most of the time they notice me and within a couple of holes they let me play through.  I have had a bunch of instances where the group in front will be waiting when I catch them and they say that there is/are a group/groups in front of them that are holding up the show so letting me through won't matter much.  My comment to them would be that they should let me through and I will catch the others and play through them as well.  I don't feel that it is their place to decide that for me. So, I respectfully disagree with Fred on this one.  However, what I have done in a number of cases where a group just won't let me through is to just go around them.  I wait on the tee for them to hit and then I just drive to the next hole.  I put down a bogey on the card just to be fair and play on.

  Mark F


Thanks Team Titleist, I knew I could get some input from you.

I typically golf early in the morning, so there are only myself and 1 (maybe 2) other groups on the course.  When I book a tee time later in the day, a round of golf becomes equally a social outing and playing the best game in the world :)  Our group will often explain to people coming behind us about the foursome ahead of us and the foursome ahead of them, etc.

It appears a couple of our members feel they "rent the course" when they play.  I ran into the a fore mentioned foursome on the first hole again Sunday morning  ... "So, how many times a hole will I be watching you guys today?" ... I said it nicely, one of the group I have never golfed with started talking about getting to the course earlier if I wanted to get ahead of them, one of the guys I golf with said "Sorry about that, I know you move along pretty quick, so if you are ready, go ahead"

I suppose golfing before the Marshall is on duty means "etiquette" is more about interpretation than any thing else.

Thanks again, knowing other people feel similar makes me feel a little better :)

Lou G

I agree in not letting a single play through when there is a foursome ahead.

Usually if the golf course is THAT crowded that there are several foursomes ahead of each other, they generally pair up singles anyway.



Where are the course rangers?  They should be out there and visible to keep the pace of play moving.  If you are frustrated with the pace, you could always ask them what is causing the delay - they should be able to help get you through, or move the other group(s) along.

Mike C

The answer really depends upon the groups ahead and whether you are out of position or not.  If it is early in the morning, and there are scattered groups ahead of me, we would let anybody play through (regardless of group size) if they were pushing us.  Likewise, if it were in the middle of the day and there was a couple of open positions in front of us, we would let a faster group play through.  However, if there was not an opening in the course, we would not waive the other group through because there would be nowhere for them to go.  Likewise, I would not expect somebody to waive me through unless there was an appropriate opening if front of them.

Daniel Rimmelzwaan

I love playing by myself, most of the time I go out alone. I usually try and plan my rounds at times that are not busy, or I will get a tee time for the back nine early in the morning on a weekend. I try to be nice about pace of play, and will keep my distance when I catch up on a group in front. Most of the time they'll let me play through but unfortunately as a single I get a lot of very nasty attitudes as well, especially when the group behind ME catches up and I just can't speed up because the group in front of me is slow. It happens quite regularly that some dude behind thinks it is really funny to 'nudge me along' by hitting into the green while I putt. 

Fortunately most people are quite nice about it, and when they don't let me play through, I play a two ball scramble with myself, and take extra chips around the green to pass the time, of course clearing the green when the group behind me catches up.

i used to get upset when those nasty things happen but I decided you can't make ppl do what they don't want to do, and I try not to let other guys dictate how I feel. Don't let it affect you, enjoy being out there. It's not worth the headache to get upset about it.

Greg P

Rangers?  It seems that they are so happy to have a paying customer nowadays, that they don't want to push anybody along.  Sure they don't alienate the pokey group, but they do tick off everyone behind them by failing to prod when warranted.