The ninety-degree rule is a rule implemented by golf courses. It aims to minimize the damage on the turf while still allowing golfers to drive golf carts on the fairways. This is also considered good golf cart etiquette and many golfers subscribe to it even the golf club does not require it. It helps to keep the turf healthy.

Defining the Ninety-Degree Rule

When a 90-degree rule is in place in a golf course, it means that:

  • Golf carts are allowed to be drivenon the fairway.
  • Carts must remain on the cart pathsand only go on the fairway at90-degree angles to the cart pathswhen the players want to reach theirball.

In practice, the 90-degree rule goes like this:

  • Golfers must take the cart paths asmuch as possible.
  • They can go on the fairway at a90-degree or a right angle from thecart path.
  • When they take their shot, theycannot drive on the fairway to reachtheir ball’s position. Instead, theymust go back to the cart path.
  • Once on the cart path, they willwait until they are as close to theball as possible.
  • They will then turn into the fairwayat a 90-degree angle to reach theirball.
  • After the ball has changed position,they must go back to the cart pathagain.

Why is the 90-Degree Rule Implemented?

Golf courses implement the 90-degree rule to allow golfers to reach their ball easier by letting them drive their carts on the green. At the same time, it is done to help preserve the quality and the health of the grass.

In most cases, even if golf courses do not require players to follow the 90-degree rule, it is still considered good golf cart etiquette to follow the rule.


Golfers must consider that there will be golf courses that do not allow golf carts on the turf, no matter what. If this is the case, you will see notices right before the first tee.

There will also be courses that do not require golfers to follow the 90-degree rule. Instead, they may implement the rule based on certain conditions such as after it rains.