Rules of Golf

Basics for New Golfers

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The Course (Rule 2)

  • Golf is played on a Course whose boundaries are set by a committee. Areas not on the course are out of bounds. There are five areas of the course, as follows; Teeing area, General area, Penalty area, Bunkers, and the Putting Green.

Playing a Hole (Rule 6)

    • A player must start each hole by playing a ball from anywhere inside the teeing area. The teeing area is a rectangle that is two club lengths deep where: the front edge is defined by the line between the forward-most points of two tee-markers set by the Committee and the side edges are defined by the lines back from the outside points of the tee-markers. In Stroke Play, if you play your tee shot from outside the teeing area, you incur a two-stroke penalty and must replay your shot from within the teeing area.

Course Played as it is Found (Rule 8)

  • Play the ball as it lies. Don’t improve your lie, stance, area of your intended swing or your line of play by moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing. If a branch or other object is bent or moves due to you taking your normal stance, this is allowed. Don’t improve your lie by pressing anything down.

Preparing for and Making a Stroke (Rule 10)

  • You must swing the club and make a stroke at the ball. It is not permissible to push, scrape or scoop the ball.

Ball Search: Finding and Identifying Ball (Rule 7)

  • Players should mark their ball with a pen or marker to be able to identify it compared to other players in the group. If you think a ball is yours but cannot see your identification mark, you may mark the spot of the ball, lift the ball and clean the ball only as much as needed to identify it. If the player lifts his or her ball under this Rule when not reasonably necessary to identify it, fails to mark the spot of the ball before lifting it or cleans it when not allowed, the player gets one penalty stroke. 

Wrong Ball (Rule 6.3c)

  • If you play a wrong ball play you incur a two-stroke penalty and you must then correct the mistake by playing the correct ball. Any stroke made to the wrong ball before the mistake is corrected, does not count. If the mistake is not fixed before the player tees off of the next hole, that player is disqualifed.

Putting Greens (Rule 13)

  • A ball is considered on the putting green when any part of the ball; touches the putting green, or lies on or in anything on the putting green. Sand and soil may be removed from the putting green without penalty. You may mark, lift and clean your ball on the putting green; always replace it on the exact spot. You may repair damage on the putting green without penalty by taking reasonable actions to restore the putting green as nearly as possible to its original condition. This must be done without unreasonably delaying play. Aeration holes and other normal practices for maintaining the overall condition of the putting green are not considered damage and may not be repaired. 

The Flagstick (Rule 13.2)

  • The player may make a stroke with the flagstick left in the hole, so that it is possible for the ball to hit the flagstick.