Golf rules and etiquette you broke at Karen Club
The Magical Kenya Open, part of the European Tour, was a learning curve for not only amateur and professional Kenyan golfers, but the fans who thronged the scenic Karen Country Club.
For starters, the venue of the tournament is clearly marked ‘Private Members’ Club’, but on this occasion, the gates were yanked open to all and sundry after thorough security screening.
While action on the golf course was enthralling— with the exuberant Simon Ngige upstaging old hand and bookmakers’ favourite Dismas Indiza — most fans found a caboodle of rules and etiquette quite suffocating.
Below are some of the common rules that the fans violated at the Kenya Open.
Receiving phone calls
While it is common knowledge that making phone calls in a golf course and especially during rounds is not allowed, the urge to answer calls leaves one with a kind of an itchy feeling. This was the case for most local journalists, who had to receive calls from either their editors or colleagues.
All golf Clubs have signage cautioning visitors beyond which no use of mobile phones is allowed. It also spells out a hefty fine for breaking this rule.
At the Karen Country Club, a Sh2,000 fine is applicable.
Luckily for journalists, the media center was a safe haven where reporters could make numerous calls back to their News desks without fear of being fined.
However, in the most desperate of circumstances, some fans and journalists had to duck into nearby hedges and speak in low tones to avoid being whipped. The safest bet, however, was to respond with a simple text message.
Talking during rounds
A complete golf exercise is meant to make the players have a comfortable experience before smacking the golf ball.
For example, golf players are not allowed to leave their shadow over someone’s ball when they are hitting. Distraction by fellow players or fans is sacrilegious.
Marshals at the Karen Country Club had a hectic time carrying up placards urging fans to maintain dead silence when players were taking their rounds on the course. While some observed this order, others spoke in hushed tones. Bad manners!
Walking across the course
Moving across the course was arguably the most difficult challenge especially for first-time visitors, who were not familiar with it. Marshals from the National Youth Service (NYS) were on standby to direct the movement of people across different courses.
Golf lovers, who tried to cross the fairways during rounds were met with humble yet stern NYS stewards, who stopped them on their tracks until a round is finished. This would otherwise have distracted the golf players.
Perhaps the most visible mistake made by spectators and widely abused golf etiquette was the attire. Generally, gentlemen should put on shirts with a collar (polo) and coloured khakis or capris. Similarly, ladies can wear collared shirts with khakis or capris, dresses, skirts, slacks, golf shorts or blouses. Normal running shoes are allowed for both sexes if they do not have golf shoes.
Although majority of the spectators, who swamped the Karen course for the European Tour donned their best golf outfits, others were a complete fashion disaster.
To start with, spectators who matched t-shirts with fitting blue denim jeans and shorts completely missed the mark. Jeans are not allowed on golf courses.
Furthermore, others looked comfortable gallivanting the course in sweat pants oblivious of fundamental principles of golf etiquette. Sweat pants, tank tops, t-shirts, cut-offs, athletic shorts, swim trunks and tennis shorts are also not allowed on golf courses.
Enough said on etiquette, but those who put on suits to the course really need to do some soul searching and probably apologise to the ancestors and gods of golf.
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