Etiquette on the Golf Course: Should You Be Allowed to Pass the Group in Front of You if They Stop at the Turn?

Etiquette on the Golf Course: Should You Be Allowed to Pass the Group in Front of You if They Stop at the Turn?

Golf, often touted as a gentleman's game, is not just about hitting the perfect shot or sinking that elusive putt. It's also about camaraderie, respect for the course, and adherence to etiquette. One common situation that can arise during a round is when a group in front of you stops at the turn, prompting the question: Should you be allowed to pass them? Let's delve into this topic and explore the various perspectives surrounding it.

Understanding the Turn

Before we dive into the debate, it's crucial to understand what "the turn" signifies in golf. The turn refers to the halfway point of an 18-hole round, typically occurring between the 9th and 10th holes. It's where players have the opportunity to take a break, use restroom facilities, grab a snack, or simply rest for a moment before continuing their round.

The Case for Allowing Passage

Proponents of allowing groups to pass at the turn argue that it helps maintain pace of play, a fundamental aspect of enjoying the game for all golfers involved. If a group ahead is taking an extended break or is significantly slower than your group, it can lead to frustration and a bottleneck on the course.

Allowing faster groups to pass at the turn can alleviate congestion and prevent slower play, which benefits all players on the course. It's a courteous gesture that promotes a smoother flow of play and enhances the overall golfing experience.

Moreover, some golf courses may have specific policies or guidelines in place regarding passing at the turn. If the course management permits it and there are no safety concerns, then it's reasonable to exercise this option when necessary.

The Case Against Allowing Passage

On the other hand, opponents argue that allowing groups to pass at the turn disrupts the natural progression of play and can create confusion on the course. Golf is a game of order and etiquette, and altering the sequence of play mid-round may lead to misunderstandings or conflicts among players.

Additionally, passing at the turn may not always be feasible, especially on crowded days when multiple groups are making the turn simultaneously. Attempting to pass multiple groups at once can create congestion and potentially compromise safety on the course.

Furthermore, some players view the turn as a sacred tradition in golf—a time to regroup, reflect on the front nine, and prepare for the challenges ahead. Interrupting this moment of respite may detract from the overall enjoyment of the game for those who value the traditional aspects of golf.

Finding a Middle Ground

In any debate, finding a compromise often leads to the most satisfactory outcome. When it comes to passing at the turn, there are several considerations that can help strike a balance between maintaining pace of play and respecting golfing traditions:

  1. Communication: If your group finds itself consistently waiting on the group ahead at the turn, consider politely communicating with them about the possibility of passing. Approach them with respect and understanding, expressing your desire to keep the pace moving smoothly for everyone's benefit.

  2. Course Policies: Familiarize yourself with the specific policies of the golf course regarding passing at the turn. Some courses may have designated areas or procedures for passing, while others may discourage it altogether. Adhering to these guidelines can help prevent misunderstandings and promote harmony on the course.

  3. Safety First: Prioritize safety above all else. If attempting to pass at the turn poses any risk to yourself or other players, it's best to refrain from doing so. Always exercise caution and good judgment when navigating the course, especially during peak times when it may be more crowded.

  4. Flexibility: Be open to adapting to the circumstances as they unfold. While passing at the turn may not always be feasible, there may be other opportunities later in the round where it becomes more practical. Stay flexible and patient, and focus on enjoying the game regardless of the pace.


In the end, the question of whether you should be allowed to pass the group in front of you if they stop at the turn is not a black-and-white issue. It's a nuanced matter that requires consideration of various factors, including pace of play, golfing traditions, and respect for fellow players.

Ultimately, maintaining open communication, adhering to course policies, prioritizing safety, and embracing flexibility are key principles to keep in mind when navigating this scenario on the golf course. By approaching the situation with courtesy and understanding, golfers can ensure a positive experience for everyone involved, allowing the spirit of the game to shine through each swing and putt.

Back to blog