What Are the Safety Rules in Golf?
While golf is a safe game, injuries can still happen if you're unprepared for playing or don't pay attention to your surroundings. Golf involves swinging metal clubs, which propel balls at high speeds. If you're in the way of the club or the ball, you might be in danger. You could place yourself in danger, too if you don't respect the power of the sun, the danger of lightning, or your body's need for water on hot days. There are a few basic, common-sense rules of safety regarding golf. Here are seven of the most important golf safety rules.
1. Prepare Yourself Before Teeing Up
Regardless of your physical form, you should always stretch and warm up before playing golf. You should also take some practice swings starting with shorter clubs and then switching to longer clubs. Checking the weather is important, too, as it's never a good idea to play during a thunderstorm when lightning could strike. If you're playing on a hot day, make sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater and to cover your head to protect yourself against sunburns.
2. Wear Golf Safety Gear
To prevent the golf club from slipping and avoid blisters, it's best to use a golf glove on the hand with which you're holding the club. Adequate shoes are also of utmost importance, as if you wear the wrong shoes, you can easily slip. The best shoes to wear on the course are those with plastic spikes, as most courses don't allow shoes with metal spikes.
3. Keep Track of the People Around You
When you have a golf club in your hands, and you're preparing to swing, it's your responsibility to make sure your buddies are a safe distance away from you. You should never swing a club when another golfer is close to you. Extra caution is needed when younger players are part of your group. Always look ahead of you, as well as to the left and right of the area where you're aiming your shot. Don't hit the ball until you are sure any golfers ahead are out of your range.
4. Yell 'Fore' and Cover Up When You Hear It
There will come times when you hit your drive farther than you expected, or a hook or slice comes out of nowhere and takes the ball toward a nearby fairway. If this happens, you should yell 'fore' to warn the other golfers, as this is the international word of warning in the game. It lets golfers playing near you know that a ball might be heading their way and they need to take cover. Similarly, if you hear 'fore,' you should cover up to avoid being hit by a golf ball. Crouch behind your golf bag or get behind a tree and cover your head with your arms.
5. Keep a Safe Distance from Other Golfers
When a very slow group is ahead of yours, never hit the ball in their direction. If you're ever tempted to do this, just don't. It's very rare, but golfers have been killed after being struck by balls. So, instead of taking aim at someone in anger, take a deep breath and try to find a course marshall, flag them down, and ask if they can help speed up play.
6. Stay Hydrated, Especially on Hot Days
Walking in the sun for hours can take a heavy toll on your body. By the time you're thirsty, it's too late, as you're already dehydrated. When you get really dehydrated, you can develop headaches and feel sick to your stomach, which are some of the symptoms of heat stroke. Therefore, it's very important to take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. You'll feel better on the golf course, and you won't feel as tired the next day.
7. Have Only Licensed Drivers Operate the Golf Cart
If you're driving a golf cart, stay on cart paths, and don't try to go off-roading across bumpy terrain. Only licensed people should drive golf carts, as those who aren't are more likely to cause accidents. Drive straight up and down hills and take it slow when going downhill or around turns. You should also look out for other carts and never let anyone hang their feet, arms, legs, or hands out of a cart while it's in motion.
By following these safety rules, you'll considerably lower your chances of suffering injuries while enjoying a round of golf. Furthermore, you'll also decrease the risk of injuring other golfers. Although serious injuries are not very common in golf, they can still happen, and it's best to be on the safe side every time you're on the course.