Basic Knowledge of Golf Rules
BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR ROUND
- Read the Local Rules on the score card.
- Put an identification mark on your ball. If you can't identify your ball, it's lost.
- You are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs.
- uring the round, don't ask for ‘advice’ from anyone except your partner or caddie. Don't give advice to anyone except your partner.
PLAYING THE BALL
Play the ball as it lies, don't improve your lie, the area of your intended swing or your line of play by moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing except in fairly taking your stance or making your swing. If your ball lies in a bunker or a water hazard don't touch the ground in the bunker, or the ground, or water in the water hazard, before your downswing.
Playing a wrong ball (except in a hazard) - in match play you lose the hole. In stroke play you incur a two-stroke penalty and you must then play the correct ball.
ON THE PUTTING GREEN
You may repair ball marks and old hole plugs on the line of your putt but not any other damage, including spike marks.
You may mark, lift and clean your ball on the putting green but always replace it on the exact spot. Ball played from putting green strikes flagstick - in match play you lose the hole; in stroke play you incur a two-stroke penalty.
LIFTING, DROPPING AND PLACING THE BALL
If a lifted ball is to be replaced its position must be marked. If a ball is to be dropped or placed in any other position (e.g. taking relief from GUR, etc.) it is recommended that the ball’s original position be marked.
When dropping, stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arm's length and drop it within two club-lengths of where the ball lies, not nearer the hole.
LOST BALL OR OUT OF BOUNDS
Check the Local Rules on the score card to identify the boundaries of the course. If your ball is lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds you must play another ball from the spot where the last shot was played under penalty of one stroke i.e. stroke and distance. You are allowed 5 minutes to search for a ball, after which if it is not found or identified it is lost. If, after playing a shot, you think your ball may be lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds you may play a ‘provisional ball’.
You must state that it is a provisional ball and play it before you go forward to search for the original ball. If the original ball is lost or out of bounds you must continue with the provisional ball under penalty of one stroke. If the original ball is not lost or out of bounds, you must continue play of the hole with it and the provisional ball must be abandoned.
Under a penalty of one stroke, you may drop a ball behind the hazard as far back as you wish keeping the point of entry in line with the flag or you may play from where you played the original shot.
WATER HAZARDS (yellow stakes)
- Ball in water hazard (yellow stakes and/or lines) - play the ball as it lies or, under penalty of one stroke,
a) play again from where you hit the ball into the hazard, or
b) drop any distance behind the water hazard keeping a straight line between the hole, the point where the ball last crossed the margin on the water hazard and the spot on which the ball is dropped.
LATERAL WATER HAZARDS (red stakes)
- Under a penalty of 1 stroke you have 4 options.
a) drop the ball within 2 club lengths to the side where the ball entered the hazard, not nearer the hole.
b) drop the ball behind the hazard as far as you wish keeping the point of entry in line with the flag.
c) play another ball from your original position.
d) drop a ball on the other side of the hazard, within 2 club lengths but not nearer the hole.
Check the Local Rules on the score card for guidance on immovable obstructions (e.g. surfaced roads and paths etc.)
Movable obstructions (e.g. rakes, tin cans etc.) anywhere on the course may be moved. If the ball moves it must be replaced without penalty.
It is your privilege (and you are the sole judge) to declare the ball unplayable at any place on the course except when the ball lies in or touches a water hazard, you may under penalty of one stroke,
(a) drop within two club-lengths of where the ball lies not nearer the hole,
(b) drop any distance behind the point where the ball lay keeping a straight line between the hole, the point where the ball lay and the spot on which the ball is dropped, or
(c) replay the shot.
- Play at a reasonable pace.
- Repair ball marks, replace divots, and rake bunkers.
- Have the player who is farthest away from the pin hit first on each shot.
- Respect the rules and regulations of the course you are playing.
- Move or talk while someone in your group is hitting the ball (or about to hit).
- Ask your opponent what club he hit.
- Walk across the line of another player's putt on the green.
- Hit your shots until the group in front of you is well out of range.
Golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players, care for the course and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be.
Etiquette is an integral and inextricable part of the game, which has come to define golf's values worldwide.
Put simply, it is a series of guidelines that exist to show other players, whether through divot repair or awareness of your shadow, a degree of fairness which you would expect to receive in return.
In terms of golf's environment, etiquette is about showing respect for the course on which you are playing and the work that has been put in to create it. It’s about making sure that the game is played safely and that others on the course are able to enjoy the round as much as you.
In short: it’s about showing consideration to all others on the course at all times.
Care of the Course
Before leaving a bunker, players should carefully fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made by them and any nearby made by others. If a rake is within reasonable proximity of the bunker, the rake should be used for this purpose.
Repair of Divots, Ball-Marks and Damage by Shoes
Players should carefully repair any divot holes made by them and any damage to the putting green made by the impact of a ball (whether or not made by the player himself). On completion of the hole by all players in the group, damage to the putting green caused by golf shoes should be repaired.
Preventing Unnecessary Damage
Players should avoid causing damage to the course by removing divots when taking practice swings or by hitting the head of a club into the ground, whether in anger or for any other reason.
Players should ensure that no damage is done to the putting green when putting down bags or the flagstick.
In order to avoid damaging the hole, players and caddies should not stand too close to the hole and should take care during the handling of the flagstick and the removal of a ball from the hole. The head of a club should not be used to remove a ball from the hole.
Players should not lean on their clubs when on the putting green, particularly when removing the ball from the hole.
The flagstick should be properly replaced in the hole before the players leave the putting green.
Local notices regulating the movement of golf carts should be strictly observed.