A golf course is often a thing of beauty, with tall trees lining the edges of fairways and placid ponds fronting greens and luxuriant grass waiting for the arrival of your tee shot.

Even courses that should be (and possibly once were) goat farms have a certain natural attraction. 

On a warm spring day or on an autumn afternoon with a cool wind chasing away the heat of summer, a golf course provides 18 holes of nature and four hours of open-air entertainment.

With those positives in mind, treat the course – and the people sharing it with you for part of the day – with respect.

  • A short list of Things You Shouldn’t Do On A Golf Course:
  • Talk on a cellphone. No, no and no. The Lords of Golf are considering making this a death-penalty offense.
  • Eat Cheetos. You don’t want that orange stain on your grips.
  • Chew tobacco. Do you want your ball landing in a divot filled with that juice?
  • Chase your golf ball into a yard managed by a German shepherd.
  • Your taxes.
  • Play music. With all due respect to your super-cool Bose portable speaker and the Neil Diamond collection on your cellphone, we don’t want to hear “Cracklin’ Rosie” on the fifth fairway.
  • Jingle the car keys in your pocket while an opponent is putting. Shows no class.
  • Yell abuse across two fairways at a friend who has just shanked a shot. Shows even less class.
  • “Surf” by riding on the roof of a moving golf cart. (Sorry if you’ve never had that idea and now want to try it. Just don’t).
  • Yell “In the hole!” Never, ever do this. Nowhere. Never.
  • Start telling a very long joke on the teebox. Either the person about to tee off will have to swing during your monologue, or he’ll have to wait until you finish. Either way is bad.
  • Wear a solid black shirt on a 98-degree day.
  • Attempt to subdue a snake with a ball retriever.
  • Play for money with anyone who looks even remotely like Lee Trevino.
  • Study a putt for more than 30 seconds.
  • Comment on the ranger’s family heritage when he asks you to speed up play.
  • Argue with yardage markers. No future in that.
  • Wear a bright red shirt on Sunday. You’re not Tiger.
  • Ignore the advice of the starter. He often has good course information.
  • Challenge those guys on the fast-moving mowers with your golf cart.
  • Approach alligators, geese or dogs that might be coyotes.
  • Hit a ball before you’re absolutely sure it’s yours. Friendships have ended over such offenses.
  • Cheat. It’s not becoming.
  • Litter. It’s disgusting.
  • Spend 15 minutes looking for a ball in the woods.
  • Hit into the foursome in front of you. Especially if one or more of them might have been college football linebackers.
  • Carry chili dogs from the pro shop grill to the 10th tee. Several things can go wrong, and all of them are messy.
  • Step on those big mounds of dirt. In certain parts of the country, those are hotels for fire ants, and fire ants are among the things you don’t want crawling up your pant leg.
  • Take a divot that makes it appear you’ve started an archeological dig.

Now, go out there and do this – have fun.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.