Scottish Manners


Headed to Scotland with Dad & 2 brothers to golf for a week & then watch the weekend of the U.K. British Open. Are there any courtesy/manners/decorum things that we need to be aware of while over there? (e.g. No hats in clubhouses, no shorts on some courses, quirks about working with caddies, etc.) I know in the States a lot of famous/upper-tier courses will have unspoken rules that they get very frustrated if you don’t follow.

We’ll be playing Western Gailes, Royal Troon, King Robert the Bruce, Ailsa, St. Andrews New Course, Kingsbarns, St. Andrews Old Course.



No hats in the clubhouse for sure.


I think this type of thing gets overplayed a bit and across the golf sites I visit it’s not uncommon to see threads from Americans asking this.

I would say the fact you’re even asking the question says you’ll be fine! And if you conduct yourself politely and keep up with the group in front, any offence anyone takes about some obscure, local piece of etiquette is on them.

Definitely no hats in the clubhouse, clubs that insist on knee-high socks with shorts should say so on their website, and beyond that just have fun and enjoy the experience.


This is bang on. Most clubs have dress code info on the websites. We’re currently experiencing a bit of a heatwave (for Scotland) so most people are out in shorts. From experience I know you’ll be fine on the course at Turnberry, Western and Troon with that. Turmberry clubhouse will be fine for shorts too. Western I think will be ok as long as you’re in the casual bar. Troon is a strange one. They let you play in shorts but you can’t wear them inside. So if you want beers afterwards you’ll need to get changed. A bit strange.

St. Andrews is pretty casual too. The clubhouses are open to the public so anything goes. Never been to kingsbarns but I’m sure it’ll be the same.

As Scott says, anything you’re not sure about, just ask. People will be delighted to help.

Caddie etiquette I can’t help you with I’m afraid. Never had one, although I’m sure other posters will be able to give you a point in the right direction.


This is awesome info. Thank you everyone for the responses.


As long as you don’t yell out Bababooey at The Open you’ll be fine.

If you do feel compelled to shout out dumb shit you’ll be hauled out and beaten to death by the rest of the crowd, while the TV pundits look on and cheer. :slight_smile:

As for caddies, just let them know early in that you’re sound, informal and enjoy a bit of banter. They take their cue from you so if you’re stuffy and pompous they’ll work with that. If you’re good fun they’ll relax and you’ll have the time of your life.

For the record a usual tip for caddies is a Five O (£50), so that’s really a minimum. If you have a good time go for £70-80. Personally I like to give me caddy £70 up front so he’s relaxed about the game. They really can be super fun.


If you wear shorts at some courses you have to wear long tube socks up to your knees. See @djpie


Took a caddie at every course I played and they were all wonderful, full of great stories, and of course so much help working your way around the links.