There are a lot of rules when it comes to the game of golf, it can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of players. Here are ten rules every golfer should know...
It is important to know the rules of golf.
Knowing the rules speeds up play. Knowing the rules makes the game more enjoyable as you are more confident in making decisions.
Knowing the rules also allows you to play with integrity and honour is one of the most important values of the game.
But there are so many rules, where do you start?
Learn these 10 rules that address common situations first.
1. Playing the Ball from Penalty Areas
You may ground your club, take a practice swing, and remove loose impediments (stones or leaves) without penalty. If the ball moves while you do this, it’s a one-stroke penalty.
2. Penalty Area Relief (One Stroke Penalty)
Red or yellow staked areas options:
a) Stroke and distance:
Play the ball again from within one club length in the same place as the original shot.
b) Back on the line:
Go back in line as far as you like with the hole and the point where the ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area. Choose a point and drop within one club length of the point.
Red stake option only:
a) Lateral Relief:
Drop a ball within 2 club lengths from where the ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area, no closer to the hole.
3. Unplayable Ball Options (One Stroke Penalty)
a) Stroke and distance:
Play the ball again within one club length from the same place as the original shot.
b) Back on the line
Go back in line as far as you like in line with the hole and the spot of the original ball. Choose a point and drop within one club length of the point.
c) Lateral Relief
Drop a ball within 2 club lengths from where the ball lies.
4. Relief from Ground Under Repair and Immovable Obstructions (Examples: Sprinkler Heads, Cart Paths, Ball Washers, etc.) (No Penalty)
From the nearest point of relief, measure one club length. Drop the ball within this measurement, no closer to the hole.
5. When Taking a Drop
Drop from knee height. Measure your relief club lengths with your longest club, except your putter. It can never be closer to the hole.
6. Playing the Ball from Bunkers
Do not touch the sand in the bunker with your club before you swing or during the backswing.
Stones or other loose impediments may be removed from the bunker without penalty. If the ball moves while you do this, it’s a one-stroke penalty.
If the ball is resting against a rake, move the rake. If the ball moves, replace the ball without penalty.
7. Playing the Ball After It Moves
Replace the ball if it moves during a search.
If the ball moves after you have marked the ball on the putting green, replace the ball. If it happens before you have marked it, play it where it lies.
If someone else hits your ball with their club or ball, replace your ball as close as possible to its original position.
There is no penalty if the ball is accidentally deflected by you, your equipment, your partner, your caddy, or a double hit. The ball is played from where it lies.
8. Hitting a Provisional Ball, Lost Balls, and Out of Bounds (OB)
To speed up play, if you think you may have lost your ball or gone OB, you should declare that you will play a provisional ball. If you do not declare this, the provisional ball hit becomes the ball in play.
You have three minutes to search for a lost ball.
If your ball is lost or OB, your provisional ball is in play and you must count the first ball hit, a penalty stroke, and your provisional hit (3 strokes).
If you find your ball, even if it is deemed unplayable, your provisional ball is not in play.
9. Giving or Receiving Advice (Two-Stroke Penalty)
A player may not give advice to another player verbally or visually. Advice that is not allowed includes choosing a club, making a stroke, or recommending a strategy.
It is allowed to ask about physical features, such as distances and hole locations. It is ok to ask about rules information but not the recommended option.
The person who receives advice doesn’t get a penalty in the first occurrence. If they do not act to stop the advice giver, they will receive a penalty for subsequent advice.
10. Rule 3-3: What You Can Do When You Don’t Know What to Do
Rule 3-3 allows you to play two balls if you are unsure of your options. You must announce which one you want to score. Once the round is complete, you must ask the pro shop or the referee which score to use.
Understanding and knowledge of the many other rules of golf will come with more experience and play. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t know all the rules or make a mistake on the course. Professional golfers use referees to help them with the rules during tournaments.
Are you interested in knowing more about the rules of golf? To register and enroll in the FREE Level 1 online course, please visit the Golf Canada Rules page and scroll down to the Level 1 section.