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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006
Golf Etiquette: A Guide to Rules and Behaviour

Malcolm Campbell
Dorling Kindersley, 127 pages

Okay, so you've packed your bags and clubs for that great golfing vacation, but have you boned up on appropriate behaviour on those courses you intend to play?

As Dr. A.M. Mathewson, Captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, writes in his foreword to this marvellous little handbook: "There can be few things more irritating, and at times even infuriating, for a golfer than to find his game ruined by the thoughtless and ignorant behaviour by other players on the course."

Golf Etiquette will be an invaluable reminder to new as well as experienced golfers alike about the unwritten rules of the great game.

Folded into an unlabelled black-leather dust jacket, convenient for discreet reference, this small book is a marvellous guide to everything a golfer needs to know but cannot find in the rule book. Here, succinctly explained, are the dos and don'ts of behaviour both on and off the course and guidance for every golfing situation from speed of play to course maintenance and tradition.

"Simply because an individual owns some golf clubs and a few golf balls, and takes them on to a golf course to put one to the other in the accepted fashion," says Scottish writer Campbell in his introduction, "it does not follow logically that that person is by definition a golfer. There is far more subtlety to the noble game of golf than that."

Campbell divides this gem into six sections covering codes of conduct, behaviour at the course, minding the pace of play, taking care of the course, knowledge of rules, and what to consider when playing away from home.

Campbell can be amusingly fussy about his advice: Two full pages, for example, are devoted to using, removing and stowing gloves before putting.

"Be wary of the trend set by Arnold Palmer of painstakingly removing the glove for every putt," he puffs.

"If you are one of those players who simply must remove the glove before putting, do so while walking on to the green and lining up the putt. Don't wait until it is your turn to putt before beginning the disrobing process."

But, all in all, his advice and guidance are valuable, especially for travelling golfers who want to be on their best behaviour with foreign business associates.


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