Whether or not you're a player, organizing a golf event is serious business. First, it's important to understand the customs and etiquette behind the game. Next, you'll need to get a handle on the hundreds of details, on everything from pairings to group gifts. We've compiled the following checklists, timelines, and all-around advice to get you started.

Etiquette Is the Rule The way golfers treat one another on the course distinguishes the sport from all others. Consider the following rules of play:

Safety First * Don't take practice swings toward another person. It's not just unsafe, it's rude!

* Don't swing your clubs when someone is walking around, and don't walk around when someone is swinging.

* Walk quickly, but lightly. Running is annoying, distracting, and damaging to the course. Watch Your Pace of Play

* Take only one practice swing for each shot, then hit the ball.

* Plan your shot before it's your turn.

* As you approach the green, determine in which direction the next tee is located and leave your clubs (or park your cart) on that side of the green.

* If two players are on opposite sides of the fairway and you're playing from a motorized cart, drop one player off at his or her ball with a choice of a few clubs, then drive to the next player's ball and meet farther down the fairway, after both players have hit their shots.

* Keep up with the group ahead of you. As they leave the green, you should be ready to hit up to it. Don't worry about how far ahead you are of the group behind you.

Should You Play Through? * Be sure there is room for you to properly play through before you ask permission.

* Be courteous and quick as you hit your shots in playing through. If you hit bad shots, don't take any Mulligans; drop a ball near where yours was last seen and play on.

* If more than one hole is between you and the group ahead of you and you think the group behind might want to play through, wave them up, stand aside, and let them hit up to the green. As they are walking up to the green, you can putt out. Then allow them to tee off before you on the next tee.

Golf Cart Etiquette * Keep carts on paths at all times. Or, if the course follows the 90 Degree Rule, you may stay on the cart path until you are even (at a 90 degree angle) with your ball. Then you may drive your cart straight out to your ball. After your shot, drive straight back to the cart path to minimize damage to fairway grass.

* Keep all carts away from the greens and off the teeing ground. Follow directions on posted signs giving as to where to park your cart.

For more information, contact Mr. Golf Etiquette at mrgolf@mrgolf.com, or www.mrgolf.com.