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Golf Etiquette Toward Maintenance Personnel
Author: Robert Partain

We all know that it is considered "bad form" to hit a ball towards another player, but you might be surprised at how many times balls are hit toward the personnel who maintain the course. I hasten to add that the vast majority of these are not hit deliberately--meaning, with the intent to strike anyone--but many maintenance personnel "are" hit each year, and we should do whatever we can to avoid that.

One thing that we should all keep in mind is that it is impossible for all maintenance to be completed before the course opens for the day. The amount of time it takes to cut grass, repair bunkers, etc. simply cannot be completed in the few hours from daybreak to opening time. Therefore, maintenance has to take place while players are on the course. The simple fact is that players and maintenance personnel will meet each other on the course at some time or another.

It's always to wise to remember that maintenance personnel are usually concentrating on the task they are performing at the time and, therefore, may not even see approaching players. Many times maintenance personnel are using dangerous tools and cutters and any distraction from their work could lead to serious personal injury to them. Because they are often trying to get their work done as quickly as possible to avoid delaying play, it is not possible to ask them to stop their work so the player can play through. Doing this would turn a 2 hour job into an all day chore and is simply not practical.

Many times the course manager will have the maintenance personnel begin work in reverse order. That means they will start the morning on hole 18 and work their way back toward hole number 1. On courses that do this, it is likely that players will meet up with the maintenance crew at some point. When this happens it is more timely and safe if the players pause long enough for the crew to pass. If the crew signals for the players to continue, then players should take their shots and move along as quickly as possible.

A little common sense and courtesy can go a long way in preventing injuries or mishaps to maintenance personnel. All players should be aware of their surroundings and if they see a work crew on the course take the time needed to insure that no one is put into danger. This is especially true when workers are using hand-held cutting tools or mowers. It only takes a second for a worker to maim himself.

In addition to the safety factors, crews can get the work done faster if we let them do it.

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Robert Partain has been an avid golfer for over 40 years. He publishes a golf blog that is updated 4 times a week with golf tips, techniques, and information: www.golftipscenter.com

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