Golf etiquette, part four
A lost ball and care of the course
If a player hits a ball which is considered to be out of bounds, in a hazard and lost, he has the option to play a provisional ball before continuing with the game. In the event the original ball is considered lost, a player is allowed five minutes to find a lost ball. During that time, if a team comes up from behind, the best thing to do is to let them play through.
If after the five minutes of searching for the original ball with no success, the player should play his provisional ball. Remember to let the team which was allowed to play through to proceed far enough ahead not to be hit by your next shots.
Golf is a game played on a relatively soft surface, a lawn. It is inevitable that a player will do some damage to the fairway, tee, or the green. If a player is on the tee and takes a divot, most courses have seed and sand on the carts for the purpose of filling the holes. If the course does not have those on the carts, retrieve the divot and replace it. Please fill the holes, and no, those little containers on the back of the carts are not ashtrays, they are sand and seed to fill the holes on the tee box.
When in the fairway and a divot is taken, it is customary to retrieve the piece of sod which was cut out and replace it in the divot. Place the piece of sod so that it is in the original position as closely as possible. It helps to tamp the sod down with your foot to secure it back into position. When the sod is not retrievable, use the sand and seed in the container on the cart.
When making a bunker shot, the sand is always displaced by your club and your feet. Near the bunker, rakes are placed to make smoothing out the bunkers easier. Always use the rake to remove any marks from the sand in the bunkers.
On the green, many times a ball will make a small indentation when landing on the surface of the green. For this reason, all golfers should carry a green repair tool. This tool must be used to repair the mark left on the green by a ball striking the surface. The greens will heal nicely in a few days and the surface will stay suitable for play.
Many times, a golfer will notice some amount of damage done by others, who either do not know how to repair the damage or are not aware of their responsibility to the course to repair any damage. A dedicated golfer, who genuinely cares for the game and the course, will repair any damage he comes upon.
Golfers should never, under any circumstances, do any damage to the fairways, greens, bunkers, or golf course equipment, intentionally. Golf can sometimes be quite frustrating, but a player should never hit, strike or throw a club or other piece of equipment which will result in damage to the course or the equipment, or another person.