Can you smoke on golf courses?

Golf, often hailed as a gentleman’s game, is a sport deeply rooted in tradition and etiquette. Part of this tradition includes understanding the unspoken rules and respecting the environment in which the game is played. One aspect that frequently comes into question is whether or not you can smoke on a golf course.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the rules, etiquette, and practical considerations of smoking on golf courses. So, whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, read on to find out how to enjoy your nicotine fix responsibly while out on the greens.

Can I Smoke Cigarettes on the Golf Course?

The General Stance

The answer to whether you can smoke cigarettes on a golf course varies from place to place, but generally, most courses permit it with certain restrictions. Smoking a cigarette while playing a round of golf can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for many. However, it’s crucial to remember that not everyone shares the same sentiment.

Variances in Policies

Public and private golf courses may have differing policies regarding smoking. Public courses often have more lenient rules, while private clubs may impose stricter regulations. It’s essential to respect the rules of the course you are playing on and be aware of any designated smoking areas.

Respect for Others and the Environment

Smoking on the golf course comes with responsibilities. Proper disposal of cigarette butts is a must. No one wants to see discarded cigarette butts littering the picturesque landscape of the golf course. Always carry a portable ashtray with you to ensure you leave the course as beautiful as you found it.

Additionally, consider wind direction when you smoke. Be mindful of fellow golfers, and avoid blowing smoke in their direction, which can be distracting and unpleasant.

How Do You Smoke on a Golf Course?

Selecting the Right Smoking Spot

Choosing the right spot to smoke is crucial. Find a location away from the fairway, tee boxes, and greens to minimize disruptions for other golfers. Most golfers prefer to smoke while waiting for their turn to tee off or while walking between holes.

Carrying a Portable Ashtray

As mentioned earlier, a portable ashtray is an essential accessory for any golfer who smokes. These pocket-sized containers are designed to safely hold used cigarette butts until you can dispose of them properly.

Minimizing Distractions

Golf is a game that requires concentration. When smoking, be considerate of your fellow golfers. Take your break when it’s your turn to play, rather than holding up the pace of play. Nothing can be more frustrating for your playing partners than waiting for you to finish your cigarette.

Can You Smoke on Golf Courses in the UK?

The UK Landscape

If you’re a golfer in the United Kingdom, you may be wondering about the rules for smoking on golf courses here. It’s important to note that the regulations regarding smoking can vary between the four nations: Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Influence of Local Club Policies

In addition to national regulations, local golf clubs may have their own smoking policies. These rules can be more stringent than national regulations, so it’s essential to research and respect the specific rules of the club you’re playing at.

Are Golfers Allowed to Smoke on the PGA Tour?

A Strict No-Smoking Policy

While smoking might be tolerated on many golf courses, the PGA Tour, the highest level of professional golf, has a strict no-smoking policy. This policy applies to players, caddies, and spectators. In fact, you won’t find any designated smoking areas on a PGA Tour event.

Coping with Restrictions

Professional golfers who are smokers face a unique challenge. Some may use nicotine gum or other alternatives to get their nicotine fix while on the course. The stringent rules of the PGA Tour make it clear that smoking is not an option during tournaments.

Contrasting with Everyday Golf Course Etiquette

It’s worth noting that the rules on the PGA Tour are quite different from the expectations and etiquette on your local golf course. While professionals must adhere to strict rules, everyday golfers have more flexibility and can enjoy a cigarette or cigar if the course permits.

Alternatives to Smoking on the Golf Course

Smokeless Tobacco and Vaping Considerations

For those who enjoy nicotine but are considerate of others on the golf course, smokeless tobacco or vaping may be viable alternatives. However, it’s essential to remember that not all courses permit these options, and you should always check with the course management before indulging.

Nicotine Gum and Patches

If you’re looking to quit smoking but still crave nicotine, gum and patches can be excellent options. These products provide a controlled dose of nicotine without the need to light up.

Encouraging a Healthier Lifestyle

Lastly, it’s worth considering the broader health implications of smoking. Golf is a sport that requires physical fitness, and smoking can be detrimental to your overall health. If you’re a golfer looking to improve your game, quitting smoking might be a step in the right direction.


In conclusion, smoking on golf courses is a topic that requires careful consideration of both rules and etiquette. While many golf courses do allow smoking, it’s crucial to respect the rules of the specific course you’re playing on and to be considerate of fellow golfers and the environment.

Whether you’re enjoying a cigarette or exploring alternative ways to get your nicotine fix, always aim to strike the right balance between indulging your habits and maintaining the integrity of the game. Golf is a beautiful sport, and with a bit of mindfulness, you can ensure that it remains enjoyable for everyone on the course.

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