6 Unwritten Rules on the Practice Putting Green

Things are warming up, up north, and today for the first time this season, I hit up the driving range to test out the old swing and feel around the greens. Things are rusty, but it should be a good year. While I was hitting up the putting green, and there was this guy doing those big no-no’s on the green that really piss other people off, and so here’s a post on what to do and what not to do while practicing putting drills on the putting green.

1) Don’t get friendly

There’s usually lots going on, on a putting green. Generally the rule of thumb is to not cross lines with other people’s putts, and not to putt to the same hole they’re going to whenever possible. This is sort of standard etiquette on the putting green.

2) Don’t be a hole hog

On the average sized putting green there’s usually about 6-8 holes to choose from. So, often when you hit the 6 people to a putting green mark, things begin to get busy. Then there’s the times it gets busy with 3 people because they all go from hole to hole, monopolizing two holes at a time (the one they stand beside and the one they’re putting to). This is a big pet peeve of mine. Simply moving your balls 5 feet from the hole you were just at opens that hole up to others to go for. Putting greens are not built so you can go hole to hole, you should find random locations on the greens and putt to the holes from all different angles. On the other end of things, there’s the guy that removes the flagstick from the hole and continually putts to the same hole. This doesn’t bother me too much, but as long as they don’t linger for eternity and give others a shot at the hole on occasion, I’ll let this one slide. They better replace the pin though when their done, or they’ll be right back on my list.

3) Avoid Line of play

Just like on the course, its kind of frowned upon to be walking on the line of play for someone who is trying to practice putt on the green. Same goes with errant balls… if you’re putting and your ball stops right in someone line, it’s usually good etiquette to go and move your ball as not to disrupt their practice.

4) Chippers Beware

Some putting greens allow chipping, others don’t. Follow the signs and rules of the club, but also be aware of your surroundings. If you’re putting on a green with only a few holes, it’s quite annoying to have to dodge the guy chipping balls onto the same green. Depending on your level of play the time when you have to say “maybe its time I stop chipping” will change, but generally if you’re having problems finding a hole to go to because of the amount of people you’re trying to avoid, then it’s time to grab the putter and join the masses. No one likes a ball landing within feet of them, no matter how good your chipping skills are. One other thing of note – I’m talking about chipping here. The low flying bump and run style. Pitching and flop shots are very much frowned upon in general on a busy putting green. Oh, and please fix your pitch marks!

5) Clean Up Your Mess

If you are practicing your putting and you send 30+ balls to the same hole, with 8-10 inside of it. Please take the time to clean up your mess. One of my other pet peeves is digging out 8 balls from a cup just so I can putt my one in there. Be considerate of others out there, and clean up your mess after you’re done.

6) Don’t Run, Yell, Take Full Swings

This rule mostly applies to children, but generally running on greens, yelling or taking full swings is something you should avoid. It can easily wreck the turf and often leaves marks, and yelling is just unappreciated overall. Just don’t do it.

That’s about it on my end in terms of things people do on the greens that really grind my gears. What about you? What are your practice green pet peeves?


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  1. I’d also love for a ‘no smoking’ rule to apply to putting greens but I don’t think it has come in as yet at most golf courses. I’m there to practice my putting stroke and not to inhale toxic fumes.


  2. I agree Troy, I hate smoking at gold courses, whilst those electric cigarettes aren’t too bad I don’t really appreciate people who blow smoke in your face whilst you’re trying to play a round of golf.

  3. I think one of the most annoying things with practice putting greens are the people who end up having a full blown conversation with someone who has just turned up whilst leaving there balls peppered around a hole and lingering in the middle of potential putting lines for other people. Simply picking your balls up and standing to one side allows everyone else to carry on unipeded!

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