Why Do Golfers Shout Fore?

The sound of a fellow golfer yelling fore should be something most regular players are familiar with. For those new to the game, it can come as a surprise to hear a fore call, but it's a sign that an errant shot has been hit and that there could be an incoming ball!

When I hear a shout of fore I normally duck and cover. There are no man points for getting knocked out by a rock hard Pinnacle on a Sunday morning.

A golfer should shout fore if they have hit a ball off line on the golf course to warn other golfers that the ball could potentially be heading in their direction and give them enough warning to take evasive action.

Here are some key reasons why golfers should shout fore.

golfer shouting fore

Why Should Golfers Yell Fore?

It is proper golf etiquette to shout fore if you hit a shot which could potentially land close to or hit anyone on the golf course. Golf is a really tough game, and golfers will be aware that bad shots happen and be ready for a shout of fore, it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. Always shout fore, even if you think that there aren't any players near to where the ball will lands, it's just safer to do so.

It's Proper Golf Etiquette

Golf is a game of tradition and respect. One of the keys to good golfing etiquette is to try and play without having an impact on the groups around you. It might then seem counter intuitive to be shouting "Fore" at the top of your lungs, but this is the only time you're really permitted to make a lot of noise on the course as it could be the thing which stops that errant shot hitting another player.

Golf Balls Are Dangerous

A golf ball hit with a driver can be travelling at speeds around 140-150 mph. It doesn't take a genius to work out that getting hit by a hard object like a golf ball at those speeds is potentially very dangerous. You could be knocked unconscious or worse, and if you're lucky enough to not get hit on the head, you will have a massive bruise as a souvenir.

When should you shout fore?

You should shout fore whenever you believe you golf ball could land near another person on the course. This could mean a member of the greens staff, another player, or perhaps someone walking their dog on a public footpath. If in doubt, shout fore!

What To Do When Another Golfer Calls Fore In Your Direction?

When people hear fore on the course, their immediate reaction is to turn and look at the direction the shout came from. This is a bad idea. Any golf ball coming your way will be travelling at serious speed and with a trajectory you won't be able to predict. If you did manage to track the flight of the ball, it might still be travelling to fast for you to get out of the way in time. The best thing to do when you hear fore, is to crouch down and cover your head. If you are near some cover, like a tree or even your golf bag, you could shelter there, but don't do so if you have to move around too much.

Fore Right. Fore Left

I've never really understood the need to add right or left to a fore shout. Whose right or left are we talking about? A simple and loud call of fore should be enough for anyone in harms way to take the necessary cover before the ball lands.

Putting an arm out to signal a direction might be useful, but again it requires people to he able to see you! You might see pro golfers do this, but they have loads of people in the galleries watching their swing so it makes more sense.

Why Don't Professional Golfers Shout Fore? 

It has become a bit of a hot topic in recent years as to whether pro golfers should yell fore or not. To me it's simple, YES they should. I don't care how many marshalls or forecaddies there are on the courses they play, there's just no excuse not to shout fore.

Sure, they might be frustrated with their shot, but it'll get a lot worse if they hit a spectator who had no warming the ball is heading for them. Bryson Dechambeau used to be guilty of not shouting fore when hitting a bad shot, but he's since made a point of yelling fore.

In Thailand where I play a lot of golf, all of the caddies shout fore, sometimes even when the ball is going to land in the middle of the fairway! Me and my playing partners still make a point to shout fore too, even though we know the famous caddies siren is about to go off.

What does fore mean in golf?

For has been a documented golf term for a long time. It was recorded in the Collins dictionary in Scotland as far back as the 1800's.

There's speculation that the word fore comes from the military, where Artillery men would shout ‘Fore' to warn infantry in front to drop and cover. It could also come from an abbreviated use of the term "fore-caddie" who are people responsible for watching where a golfer's shots went on the golf course. Golfers would shout "fore" to warn the caddie to look out for where their ball is going to land to prevent lost balls. Golf balls used to be even more expensive than they are now, so paying a fore caddie made economic sense!

Final thoughts on why do golfers shout fore

Shouting fore should be a central part of any golfer's knowledge of etiquette. Forget walking on other people's lines, if there's one thing you remember when playing golf, it should be to shout fore when you hit a poor golf shot which could hit other players. A wayward shot is pretty much guaranteed in a round of golf, so be a considerate golfer and shout fore when you can. 

Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Matt