Contact the golf shop and make a tee time so that the staff can anticipate your arrival. Try to arrive soon enough to give yourself time to warm up properly.
Check the scorecard to learn any local rules.
Make sure to place an identifying mark on your ball and inform the other players the type and number ball you are playing.
Avoid Slow Play:
Time Pars are established so that all players can have a positive experience. As a guide, you are allowed a maximum 13 minutes to play a par 3, 15 minutes to play a par 4 and 17 minutes to play a par 5 for groups of three or four. Groups of less than three please reduce this by two minutes for each.
When your group is not keeping up with the pace of play of the group in front of you:
Walk at a reasonable speed between shots.
Begin planning your next shot as you approach the ball by studying the strength and direction of the wind.
When you reach your ball, check the lie, select your club, visualize your swing and shot, and then play your shot.
From the time you select your club until you actually hit your shot, you should take no more than 30 to 45 seconds.
If you aren't ready to play when it is your turn, encourage one of your fellow players to play.
Maintaining the Course:
Golf cars should be kept on the cart paths next to tees and greens.
Players with medical conditions should maintain a minimum distance of 20 feet from the tees and greens.
Golf cars should not be driven or parked in the fairway within thirty yards of the green.
After taking a divot, please fill in the divot with the sand mixture.
Important to repair any pitch marks or indentations caused by the ball hitting the green.
Using a tee, knife, key or repair tool, repair the mark by working the edges towards the center, without lifting the center of the mark. Don't tear the grass. Finish by smoothing the area with a club or your foot. Try to get the area smooth enough to putt over.
Bring a rake into the bunker with you -- remembering that you should always enter the bunker from the low side at a point nearest to the ball.
Whenever possible, avoid walking on the steep face of a bunker.
After hitting your shot, rake the area you played from, as well as all your footprints and any others within reach.
Rakes should be left either in or nearby the bunker.
On the Green:
Don't step on your fellow players putting lines -- the imaginary line that connects the ball to the hole.
If your ball is on a player's line, volunteer to mark the ball.
When marking your ball try to use a flat object such as a coin or an accessory noted as a ball mark.
After you have marked your ball, place your putter down at a 90-degree angle with the heel touching your marker.
Move the marker from the heel to the toe of your putter. Reverse the procedure to return the ball to its original position.
Do not stand where you might distract a fellow player and don't move.
Don't make any noise when your fellow player is preparing to putt.
If you lay down the flagstick, lay it off the green to prevent doing any damage to the green.
Generally, the player closest to the hole will tend the flagstick if requested.
Hold the flagstick at arm's length so the flag doesn't flutter in the breeze, and make sure your shadow doesn't fall across the hole or line. Loosen the bottom of the flagstick so it doesn't stick when you try and remove it by pulling it straight up after the other player has putted. The flagstick should be removed right after the player has hit the ball.
If you hit a tee shot into the woods and suspect that it might be either lost or out-of-bounds, the Rules of Golf allow you to play a second or provisional ball.
You then have five minutes from the time you reach the spot where you suspect the ball landed to find the ball. If it is not found within that five-minute period, you must declare it lost and play your provisional ball with a one-stroke penalty
If, however, you play the provisional ball and subsequently find your original ball in-bounds, you must pick up your provisional and continue to play the original ball, in-bounds.
For safety's sake, never hit when there's a chance you might be able to reach the group ahead of you, and anytime you hit a shot that you think even has remote chance of hitting any other players, yell "fore" immediately, and make a point of apologizing to any players your ball lands near.
Displays of frustration are one thing, but outbursts of temper are quite another. Yelling, screaming, throwing clubs are unacceptable and, in some cases, dangerous to yourself and others.
As a player, you also have a responsibility to learn and understand the Rules of Golf. www.usga.org
Five of the most common Rules are those deal with Out of Bounds, Lost balls, Unplayable lies, cart paths and water hazards.