Before even thinking of going to a country club, it is very important to understand that there are some rules that you will have to follow. This means that you can’t just enter their premises dressed however you want or act with no regard to their rules. You have to understand that most country clubs will have very strict rules pertaining to general etiquette and dress code and most will usually ask their members and guests to either oblige to the rules or leave the premises after a set number of infractions. Although you should have a clear understanding of the rules, you shouldn’t get too stressed about following them; these rules will usually just enforce respect and common courtesy. Below you will have a list of the most common etiquette tips that you will be required to follow when going to a country club.
Wear Proper Clothing
Most country clubs will have a set of rules around the way their members and guests will have to dress. This is why it would be smart for you to check the club’s dress code before you enter their premises. Most of the time, members and their guests won’t be allowed to walk into country clubs wearing hats that are worn backward, leggings, yoga pants, cutoffs, midriff0bearing shirts, denim, any type of tank tops, and some other different types of clothing that shows a lack of respect. This means that you will have to make sure you’re properly dressed before going.
Don’t Take The Phone Everywhere
Most country clubs will have clear rules regarding phone usage. You will have full areas where talking on the phone is prohibited, like the clubhouse or conference room. Some clubs go even further than that and prohibit the use of a phone all around their facilities. If you need to take an urgent phone call at some point, ask where the designated area is inside the club and go there to talk.
Be Respectful on the Golf Courses
You should always try to be respectful, but when it comes to playing golf, this rule becomes more important tenfold. Try to be courteous of other guests, players, and other people on the golf course. One example of respectful behavior is to fix the divots as best as possible and refrain from throwing litter on the course. It is very important to respect the course, the game itself, and all of the players involved. In the end, you will have to understand that the responsibility of keeping the golf course in the best condition falls on the shoulders of all of the players.
Try to be Genuine
Going into a popular country club and getting in contact with all those rich, powerful people might make you want to fake with an improved personality. This is something that older members will usually sniff out very quickly and you will notice that people will start to avoid socializing with you. Being yourself and trying to be as normal as possible will get other members to get close to you a lot faster.
Tipping Always Works
You should check the country club’s rules for tipping, to make sure that it is allowed. If there is no rule against it, make sure to tip the valet, caddies, and other personnel that treats you properly. This means that you should always have some spare cash on you.
A Thank You Goes a Long Way
Getting accepted as a guest is a nice gesture so it would be nice to send them a follow-up thank-you note when you leave. This might help you get remembered if you ever want to go again and, at some point, might even be a small step towards accepting you as a member. You should try to avoid sending emails or texts. Go instead for the classic handwritten note.
Can you carry the clubs from your car or will you have to use the bag drop?
Most clubs have nothing against it if you choose to carry your clubs instead of using the bag drop. Clubs usually have attendants for bad-drop, which will usually ask you for your name. This is usually the perfect moment to introduce yourself to club staff. If for any reason the club is against you carrying your own clubs, they will send someone to you to help you out.
Where is the best place to change your shoes?
All private country clubs will have locker rooms that are available to guests and can be a place for you to change your street shoes and leave them safely. If you want to put on your golf shoes in the car instead, then you should do this discreetly. Some clubs have a problem with people that change their shoes in the parking lot. Especially the more traditional ones. You will be able to take flip-flops or tennis shoes at most country clubs. If you want to keep it safe, you can never miss with spikeless golf shoes.
Should guests pay the guest fees?
You should offer to pay your guest fees and you should also offer to pay for caddies. If you want to give a pro vibe, then offer to pay before you get to the golf course. Make sure you have enough money on you because country clubs usually have no ATMs around.
Is there a protocol to ordering food?
The host at a country club will usually be the one to pick up the tab. There are clubs where you can get a voucher for a guest if you pay in the golf club. If you want to pay, offer ahead of time and not after you eat. This will seem tacky at most clubs.
Some people might find all of the rules a bit intimidating but relax; There are a couple of things that will help make your life a lot easier. First off, find the website of the country club and look for the rules page. This is where you will usually learn about their etiquette and dress code. The second thing to do is to go directly to the host and ask them if there is something you should know before going inside. Ask any questions you have in mind before your visit, but don’t be afraid to talk and ask questions while you’re inside as well. Oh, and another thing: Don’t get too caught up in the rules and remember to have fun. Don’t try to police your every move and take advantage of what the club has to offer.