The Naughty List: Golf Etiquette Rules Santa Often Sees Broken

by | Dec 22, 2023 | Blog, Most Recent

Written by: Brendon Elliot

Everyone knows that Santa loves golf. It’s a proven fact. At one point in his golf career, he was even close to playing at near scratch. I mean, the man has over 100 hole-in-ones…but for a guy who is eternal, and has magic on his side, you’d kind of think he’d have a few more than that. 

Anyway, Santa is a golf purist and follows the rules to a T. He also is a stickler for following the unwritten rules of golf etiquette. With the big man always watching, to see if you are naughty or nice, I would think twice about not filling in that divot or stepping on someone’s line on the green. 

You can leave him all of the most delicious cookies in the world, or pour a little something extra in his milk, but that won’t get you off his naughty list if your golf etiquette is in the crapper. I’d suggest having a look at my list below, as I explore the most common golf etiquette rules that I see broken most often.


The Naughty List: The Most Common Etiquette Breaches in Golf


1. Not Replacing or Filling In Divots: There is nothing more frustrating in golf than coming up to a bombed drive, right down the middle (shout out to DJ Khalid), only to find it in a massive divot. Depending on where you live in the country, and how your local superintendent wants them tended to…fill in those divots! 

2. Not Driving Golf Carts Responsibly: There are certain types of jerks, and then there is a jerk behind the wheel of a golf cart. A golf cart is not a toy, and honestly, is not something to fool around with. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are approximately 15,000 serious golf cart related injuries requiring emergency room treatment in the United States each year…and that number is rising. Beyond the harm you could do to yourself or someone else by being reckless in a golf cart, you also need to consider where you drive the cart on the course. Stay on the path as much as possible and follow any recommendations the course has for operating the cart so not to potentially cause damage to the turf.

3. Not Fixing Pitch Marks on the Green: Remember what I said about how frustrating it is to find your crushed drive in the middle of a divot? Well, how about a birdie or eagle putt tracking right towards the hole, with proper speed, only to be knocked off course at the last second by a pitch mark…now that is simply infuriating! FIX YOUR PITCH MARKS! If you don’t know how to do it properly, check out this video from the USGA.



4. Playing Golf S-L-O-O-O-O-W-L-Y: Golf is meant to be enjoyed while you play. Nothing kills that enjoyment quicker than having to endure a five-hour-plus round. Or getting stuck behind a group that is playing at a snail’s pace. One thing that many golfers do not understand, however, is that pace of play issues are not just about the golfer. I operated a public Muni course for many years in the past. I know that factors other than the golfer contribute to slow play. The spacing of tee times, the course layout, and the course’s difficulty all play a part in this issue in golf. Pin placements and green speeds also affect it. With that being said, it is the responsibility of all interested parties to ensure pace is not an issue at your course. That includes the golf course staff and you, the golfer.


So, if you are a golfer and you don’t get that golf item you asked for this Christmas, or worse yet, you get coal in your stocking, perhaps you should brush up on your etiquette. Remember, the big fat man in the red suit is watching and he loves him some golf!



PGA Professional Brendon Elliott is a multiple award-winning Golf Professional based in Central Florida. He is the 2017 PGA of America’s National Youth Player Development Award Winner and is the recipient of more than 25 other industry awards with a Brendon Elliot Headshot focus on Coaching & Education. He is considered by his peers as an industry expert on topics ranging from Jr. Golf Development to Operations to Industry Sustainability. He is the founder of the Little Linksters Golf Academies and the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development, a 501c3 nonprofit also based out of Central Florida. Brendon is also a freelance golf writer for PGA.com, Golf Range Magazine and several other golf websites and blogs. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America. You can learn more about Brendon at BrendonElliott.com and Little Linksters at littlelinksters.com.


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