How Would You Penalise A Player For Not Shouting Fore?

The GM Forum has its say on how to penalise players who fail to shout fore after wayward shots...

How Would You Penalise A Player For Not Shouting Fore
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The GM Forum has its say on how to penalise players who fail to shout fore after wayward shots...

How Would You Penalise A Player For Not Shouting Fore?

The common ground, when a ball is hurtling towards a crowd of fans and no players are saying anything, is that it's one of the most annoying things in the game.

Some players are great at throwing out and an arm and bellowing out a warning but others are horrific.

We asked our forum members how they would try and improve matters…

How Would You Penalise A Player For Not Shouting Fore?

It certainly shows a lack of respect for others. Not sure it's necessary to penalise, just educate.


Disqualification, end of. Puts people in danger and it's the easiest thing to shout. The only reason they don't shout is they hope the crowd will prevent the ball going into the crap. Totally unacceptable!


I think it is a very poor example. Maybe its because they are so much involved on distance over accuracy that they would be embarrassed about the amount of times they have to shout it.


It would certainly help if course set-ups didn't encourage deliberately hitting into the stands; this could be done easily by designating them as penalty areas instead of temporary immovable obstructions. The 18th at Kiawah has the potential to turn into a shooting gallery as players look for a guaranteed good lie down the left-hand side without risking anything other than someone else's health.


Sensible - A penalty shot each time they fail to shout.

Not sensible but fun - As the tournament progresses have a rolling bar on the TV showing how often a player hit into danger and failed to shout. The numbers each day would be released and published. A wall of shame. Reach three incidents in a tournament and you are automatically DQed.

Lord Tyrion

It’s a very hard thing to police at the time I believe but if someone’s shot goes into a crowd when they know it’s going that way they should be either DQ from the comp or banned from the next comp.


I wouldn’t penalise them as I believe you’ll end up with shouts for shouts sake and then the crowds will start ignoring the shouts. The pros need to start policing themselves and let each other know that not shouting fore is not acceptable.


Stroke and distance penalty..


Play the ball as it lies, no free drops. Looking forward to seeing shots out of rubbish bins, and out of grandstands.


General penalty of two shots. They don't shout because they rely on the crowd to stop their ball going into the rubbish or out of bounds!


Agree there should be a penalty but in defence to the players, how quick would the spectators be able to react? We all know on the course it takes a while to try and work out which Right the Fore Right shout came from and whether we should duck!


Take away the clause on the back of the ticket that exonerates them if they hit somebody. That makes them just like us then. If they thought they could end up in court they might shout fore. How many other people in work would not shout if their direct actions put somebody in danger? It’s just not acceptable

I also think the PGA and other bodies should not let people congregate where they know the pros land the ball. So 260 to 330 yards should be no spectators. Especially on doglegs where they are cutting corners.


A penalty shot if it lands over the ropes and there's no shout. A penalty shot if it lands in the fairway and they do shout (crying wolf over every drive just in case won't help anyone). And make all stands no-play zones with no free drop. If you can't spot and then avoid something the size of a hotel you shouldn't be playing in a major.


At a professional tour event, spectators are watching 100 elite players smashing hard little objects at 180 mph over 300 yards. And they are watching it whilst partially standing on the field of play itself, even if it's in rough or trees. And the balls could be coming from multiple directions if on adjacent fairways or the group behind. If you're going to put yourself in danger, then better keep your wits about you. Not everything is someone else's fault. Bit like watching F1 while standing next to the track. It's a breach of etiquette to not shout, I agree. But it's not the player's fault if someone is hit.

Ser Shankalot

I've heard players say that they don't want to shout fore in case they distract other groups where a player might be mid-swing. Sounds a bit of a weak excuse, although if you're watching a cricket match and a batsman hits a six into the crowd you don't expect him to shout fore, same for any other sport where the ball might hit spectators, so the onus is really on the fans.

I would propose a scoring system:

1 point for hitting it outside the ropes into a spectator area

4 points for hitting a spectator after it has bounced

6 points for hitting a spectator on the full

10 points for hitting someone you know (er like your dad for example)

20 points for hitting someone shouting mashed potato or other inane babble

Add up the points, create a league table. Players have to donate money to their chosen charity based on end of season total.


Impossible t0 police at an amateur level. On a few occasions I have not shouted fore when I can see my shot is going towards but will miss the golfer.

When asked why I did not shout I replied I could see it was going to miss and, if I had shouted fore, you might have run into it.

It’s not easy at pro level. At Carnoustie my daughter was hit by a Paul Casey ball when she was heavily pregnant. Stopped it going into the gorse.

He hit a socket, she [and I] were in a hollow so he could not possibly have seen us. Glancing blow to the shoulder which did not even leave a bruise.

Doon frae Troon

The pro's game is slightly different to us playing on the links so lets examine a few details;

  • The noise, even the background noise at an event is considerably louder than on the average course.
  • Players can hit the ball on average 290 -340 yards with a drive. Now even a shout may not reach the crowd effectively.
  • The spectators also have a responsibility to their own safety and anyone that's gone to an event can admit that times people do not pay attention to what's happening.

Perhaps the stewards and marshals can help with wayward shots, for example a shout and signal from the pro gets relayed further down the course so it's clear what's happening. Or maybe a loudspeaker announcement for a fore right or left? Punishment could be a two-stoke penalty for failing to indicate a wayward shot - that penalty could mean the difference between winning and outside the top 10. I mean there's a penalty for taking longer than 40 seconds to take your shot so why not?


While it should attract a penalty of some sort I still find it amazing the number of people who don't move when there is a shout....


As we know the severe damage that can be caused e.g. Koepka blinding the poor woman at the 2018 Ryder Cup. For every missed "Fore!", the player is moved down a position in the final leaderboard standings.They want to save shots by hitting people and risking their welfare, then they can be hit where it hurts most, their purse!


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Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.