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TPC Etiquette

As a non-golfer, the fun of attending TPC for me is clearly social.  But since I’m not a regular on a golf course I find myself with gap in my etiquette repertoire.  In order to be a good tournament guest, I searched etiquette books, talked with friends in the etiquette business, did internet searches and had conversations with “regulars” at TPC this week.  Here’s what I found.  Let me know if I’ve committed any faux pas or left anything important out. 

  • It’s fine to walk, talk and otherwise have a good time on the course but when the Marshall holds up his/her hands, signaling to the gallery that a golfer is about to make a shot, take heed and be quiet. There’s a lot on the line here, as in big bucks and standings, so avoid doing anything that will distract the golfer including getting too close with your camera.
  • Fans are so close to players at a tournament—is it OK to strike up a conversation or ask for an autograph?  No, say the experts.  It can be distracting to the players and is considered bad form.  Ditto on trying to shake hands or giving a fist bump.  
    • At TPC, there is a designated “Autograph” zone. You will have to stand in line to get an autograph but it’s bad manners to ask for one anywhere else.
  • Never touch a player’s ball, even if it lands very close to you. 
  • What to wear?  Decorum is in order.  
    • Ladies, of course you want to wear something cute! But keep it classy. Shorts should be mid-thigh (according to the TPC website). Slacks, golf attire, or a sundress are all fine, too.  Comfortable shoes and a hat or visor will ensure comfort.  
    • Gentlemen, wear golf attire, shorts or khaki slacks.  A polo or cotton shirt is perfect.  Ditto on the hat and comfortable shoes.
    • Prepare for the weather.  It can be hot or cold, rainy or windy or absolutely perfect in Ponte Vedra in March.  Take something to ward off a chill and sometimes a little rain.   
    • Here’s what the TPC site says “not to wear”
      • Graphic tees, tube tops, spaghetti straps, short-shorts, spandex, jeans, heels and flip-flops
      • For men:  baggy t-shirts, tank tops (can we just ban these altogether??) cut-offs, and golf spikes.
  • Collapsible chairs are generally permitted but check your tournament website before arriving.  The rule of thumb is to take a small chair that does not take up too much room.  This has to do with space but think about carrying that chair around all day–you might want to go even smaller.  

So there you have it.  Be quiet when you are supposed to be, dress nicely, don’t talk to the players and be prepared.  And enjoy this beautiful tournament that graces our community.  Enjoy!