Golf Cart Etiquette: 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Riding in a Golf Cart

In the world of golf, the golf cart is not just a mode of transportation but a vessel carrying the unwritten rules of courtesy and respect. The do’s and don’ts of golf cart usage aren’t merely suggestions; they are the bedrock of maintaining harmony and decorum on the green. Let’s dive into the specifics, where I’ll blend my personal experiences with the collective wisdom of seasoned golfers to outline the etiquette that every golfer, novice or seasoned, should embody.

Learn about Golf Cart Etiquette

  • Follow the designated path, park behind the green, and pay attention to cart signs.
  • Avoid driving on tee boxes, greens, or near hazards, and always be mindful of other golfers.

1. Do Follow the Path

Golf courses are meticulously designed landscapes, where every path and sign serves a purpose. Veering off designated paths not only disrespects the course’s architecture but can also cause unnecessary wear and tear. I recall a time when, in an attempt to shave a few seconds off our round, my companion drove off the path, leading to a stern reprimand from the course marshal. It was a lesson learned the hard way: respect the path, respect the game.

Man with sunglasses smiling in a golf cart with clubs in the back.

Insider Tip: Following the path isn’t just about adherence; it’s about preserving the course for future games and showing respect to fellow golfers.

2. Don’t Drive on the Tee Box

The tee box is sacred ground in golf, a place of concentration and strategy. Driving a cart onto it is not just a breach of etiquette; it’s a violation of the game’s very spirit. The damage caused by tires can affect the playing surface, impacting everyone’s game. This rule is so fundamental that I’ve seen players asked to leave the course over it.

Parking behind the green while playing golf is a small yet thoughtful gesture that can make a significant difference in the overall experience for you and your fellow players. By positioning your golf cart strategically behind the green, you not only show respect for others on the course but also help maintain a neat and organized environment. This practice also has practical benefits, such as ensuring that you are not in the line of play and facilitating a smoother transition to the next hole.

I had a firsthand experience of the impact of parking behind the green while playing with my friend Sarah. As we approached the green, we noticed another group waiting to tee off behind us. Sarah promptly parked our golf cart behind the green, allowing the group behind us to have an unobstructed view and reducing any sense of urgency they might have felt. This considerate gesture not only demonstrated our respect for fellow golfers but also contributed to a seamless flow of play for everyone on the course. Remember, simple acts of courtesy like this can go a long way in enhancing the golfing experience for all parties involved.

4. Don’t Drive on the Green

Driving on the green is possibly the most egregious of all golf cart sins. The green is the pinnacle of the golf course, where games are won or lost, and its integrity must be preserved. Any golfer worth their salt knows this is a line you do not cross. The damage to the turf can take weeks to heal, affecting countless games.

Golf cart etiquette a golf cart is parked on a course near a putting green with a golf flag in the background.

5. Do Pay Attention to Cart Signs

Cart signs are not mere suggestions; they are directives that manage traffic flow and protect the course’s integrity. Ignoring these signs not only shows a blatant disregard for course rules but can also lead to dangerous situations. On one occasion, ignoring a sign led my group into a freshly seeded area, causing damage that was both embarrassing and costly.

For a deeper understanding of golf basics and etiquette, consider exploring our comprehensive guide here.

6. Don’t Drive Near Hazards

Hazards are designed to challenge your game, not to serve as shortcuts for your cart. Driving too close can disturb the natural elements and wildlife, besides risking a cart mishap. I’ve witnessed carts stuck in sand traps and water hazards, which, beyond the inconvenience, can cause harm to these carefully constructed challenges.

7. Do Keep Your Cart Clean

A clean cart is not just a matter of aesthetics; it’s a reflection of your respect for the equipment and the course. Returning a cart with trash or mud can create additional work for course staff and degrade the overall experience for everyone. I make it a point to carry a small bag for trash and shake out any debris before returning the cart.

Insider Tip: A clean cart ensures a pleasant experience for you and the next user, fostering a culture of respect and care.

8. Don’t Drive on the Wrong Side of the Path

Just as on the roads, keeping to the correct side of the path ensures safety and efficiency. Driving on the wrong side can lead to collisions and confusion, disrupting the flow of play. It’s a simple rule that, when followed, maintains order and safety on the course.

9. Do Be Mindful of Other Golfers

The golf course is a community space where consideration and mindfulness go a long way. Whether it’s waiting your turn, offering a polite wave to let a faster group pass, or being conscious of noise levels, these small gestures build a positive atmosphere. From my own experience, the camaraderie and respect among golfers are what make the game truly enjoyable.

Incorporating lessons on golf etiquette can significantly improve your game; learn more at our Golf Lessons section.

10. Don’t Drive Too Fast

Speeding in a golf cart isn’t just dangerous; it disrupts the serene pace of play that is a hallmark of the game. Fast driving can lead to accidents, damage to the cart path, and, most importantly, can disturb other players. A leisurely pace ensures safety for everyone and maintains the tranquil atmosphere of the course.

As we reflect on these do’s and don’ts, it’s clear that the essence of golf cart etiquette is rooted in respectrespect for the game, the course, and fellow golfers. These guidelines serve not just to maintain order but to enhance the experience of the game. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or new to the greens, adhering to these principles ensures that the spirit of the game remains intact for everyone.

In conclusion, golf cart etiquette is an integral part of the game that every player should embrace. By following these simple yet significant do’s and don’ts, we contribute to a culture of respect and enjoyment on the course. Let’s drive with care, play with consideration, and continue to uphold the traditions and integrity of this beloved sport.


Who should follow golf cart etiquette guidelines?

Golfers and those using golf carts on the course should follow etiquette guidelines.

What are the key do’s of golf cart usage?

The key do’s include staying on designated paths and driving at a safe speed.

How can I park my golf cart properly?

Park in designated areas, away from greens and tees, to ensure safety and course preservation.

What are the don’ts of using a golf cart on the course?

Don’t drive too close to hazards, rough areas, or water bodies to avoid damage.

How should I handle situations where there are no cart paths?

In the absence of cart paths, drive on the rough or use the 90-degree rule for safety.

Isn’t it restrictive to follow golf cart etiquette rules?

Following golf cart etiquette ensures a safe, pleasant experience for all players.