Rules of Golf
Miscellaneous content for golfers of all abilities who wish to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Rules of Golf.
Monday, 24 September 2018
Barry Rhodes RIP
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Jon Rahm Treads on His Ball
I always find it interesting to find videos of Rules incidents that occur on one of the Pro Tours, as I believe that it is easier for golfers to understand and remember rulings when they see someone they recognise breaching a Rule and being penalised for it. I was pleased to find a video of an incident concerning Spanish Pro, Jon Rahm (Rodriguez), during the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive.
Sometimes a single incident can lead to several different nuances of the Rules of Golf and the subject of this blog provides an excellent example. There is a video of the whole incident at this YouTube link. The circumstance was that on the par-5 8th hole, Rahm’s 17th, he was looking for his ball in deep rough just a couple of paces off the fairway, when he felt his foot touch a ball, which he then identified as his. Whether he trod on it, or touched it with the toe or side of his shoe is not certain, as even he was not sure, if we can believe him. What is pretty certain is that when a player of Rahm’s size ‘touches’ their ball in long grass, the odds are that the ball will not have returned to the exact spot where it was at rest. If a player moves their own ball it is a breach of Rule 18-2 and they get a penalty of one stroke, even if it occurred while they were searching for their ball.
Knowing that he had touched/moved his ball in play Rahm called over a Rules official. He was clearly unhappy with the marshals on the hole, because he started by saying;
“Nobody was marking where the ball was. I didn’t know .There’s nobody telling me where the ball is.”
Perhaps he thought that this was a factor that might help him get a favourable ruling. If only we all had marshals spotting our balls for us!
Rahm continued; “I definitely felt I touched it with the top of my foot. I know I touched it. I don’t believe I moved it all,”
As he was saying this he lifted his leg and pointed to the underside of the sole of his shoe, which indicates to me that it was most likely that he had trodden on it. The official ruled that given the circumstances it was most likely that the ball had moved and Rahm had to accept the penalty of one stroke.
Rahm said; “Even if I know I didn’t move it.”
But his caddie, Adam Haye, interjected: “You gotta take the penalty.”
Rahm then asked the official; “Can I clean it?”
Surprisingly and disappointingly, the Rules official replied, “No.”
I will be generous and suggest that he probably knew the Rule, but was caught up in the pressure of the situation; many Rules officials claim that their duties are 95% boredom and 5% panic! Of course, any ball that is lifted under the Rules may be cleaned, except when it has been lifted to determine if it is unfit for play (Rule 5-3), for identification (Rule 12-2), or because it is assisting or interfering with play (Rule 22).
Because Rahm was not sure whether he had moved his ball or not, and the ruling was that he had, he obviously could not then say where it had been at rest before he touched it, so that it could be replaced there. This meant that he had to drop a ball at the estimated spot (Rule 20-3c), which was pointed out to him by the official.
Rahm then asked, “If it goes forward I replace it?”
If you haven’t yet viewed the video, I urge you to do so now. (Click here.) Did Rahm decide that he was going to do everything possible to make sure that his ball rolled forward when it was dropped, allowing him to place the ball after the second invalid drop? Rule 20-2 requires that the player must stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height [not above!] and arm’s length and drop it [i.e. straight down!]. A player is penalised if they take any action to influence the position or movement of a ball, Rule 1-2. This includes flicking the fingers, or spinning the ball, to ensure that it bounces forward when it hits the ground. I should emphasise that Rahm was not penalised for any of the above actions, but I know that if I had been the official I would have asked him to drop again.
After two drops that resulted in his ball rolling forward, Rahm was allowed to place his ball where it had first hit the course on the re-drop and he played it from there. Despite the one stroke penalty for accidentally touching his ball in play he managed to par the par-5 hole.
Jon Rahm may find some consolation in the fact that in the New Rules of Golf – 2019, Rule 7.4 states that there is no penalty if the player’s ball is accidentally moved by the player, opponent or anyone else while trying to find or identify it.
‘666 Questions on the NEW Rules of Golf – 2019′ can now be purchased at this link.
The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2018 and may not be copied without permission.
A regular blog for information on the Rules of Golf
Basic Golf Rules Plain and Simple
Golf Rules in Concise Form
These Basic Golf Rules are designed to give the average golf player a concise summary of the key elements of the Official Rules of Golf.
The Rules of Golf are published by the USGA and R&A in a booklet you can find at your local Pro Shop or book store. The book is about 180 pages in all, presented in extreme detail and covers almost every possible situation that a golfer would face playing the game of golf.
We are going to define just the basics in this article. This brief summation of the rules should never be used to settle disagreements or disputes regarding the rules. Always consult the Golf Rule Book.
Because the vast majority of golfers are involved with “Stroke Play”, as opposed to “Match Play”, we will not expand on the subject of Match Play within each Rule, therefore keeping this subject as brief as we can.
Following is the table of contents with a brief summary of each subject within the Official Rules of Golf:
- 1-2: You or your Caddie cannot take any action to influence the position or movement of a ball except in accordance with the Rules; Removal of loose impediments (Rule 23-1) or obstructions. (Rule 24-1)
- 1-3: You must not agree to exclude the operation of any Golf Rules or to waive any penalty incurred.
Rule 2: Match Play (Please refer to the Official Rules of Golf)
- 3-1: Each competitor is playing against every other competitor in the competition. The competitor who plays the stipulated round or rounds in the fewest strokes is the winner. (In a handicap competition, lowest net score wins)
- 3-2: You must play your ball into the Hole before starting the next hole.
- 3-3: If a competitor is doubtful of his rights or the correct procedure during the play of a Hole he may without penalty complete the Hole with two balls.
- 3-4: If a competitor refuses to comply with a Rule affecting the rights of another competitor, he is disqualified.
CLUBS AND THE BALL
- 4-1: Any part of a club that has been purposely altered is regarded as new and must in its altered state, conform to the Rules.
- 4-2: During a stipulated round, the playing characteristics of club must not be purposely changed by adjustment or by any other means. Foreign material must not be applied to the club face for the purpose of influencing the movement of the ball.
- 4-3: If during a stipulated round, your club is damaged in the normal course of play, you may continue the round with that club, or you may replace it with another club not belonging to any other player playing on the course.
- 4-4: You may carry no more than fourteen clubs according to Basic Golf Rules.
- 4-1: The ball with which you play must conform to the requirements specified in the Rules.
- 4-2: Foreign material must not be applied to a ball for the purpose of changing its playing characteristics.
- 4-3: A ball is unfit for play if it is visibly cut, cracked or out of shape.
You may not change balls during the play of a hole unless Basic Golf Rules allows it.
- 6-1: You and your Caddie are responsible for knowing the Basic Golf Rules. During a stipulated round, for any breach of a Rule by your Caddie, you will incur the applicable penalty.
- 6-2: Always use your correct handicap. It is your responsibility to know the Holes at which handicap strokes are to be given or received.
- 6-3: Know your tee-time or starting time, and be there ready to play at that time.
- 6-4: You may be assisted by a Caddie, but you are limited to only one Caddie at any one time.
- 6-5: The responsibility for playing the proper ball rests with you. You should put an identification mark on your ball.
- 6-6: Make sure your score for each hole is correct and sign your card before returning it.
- 6-7: Maintain a good pace during play. Keep up with the group in front of you.
- 7-1: Practice putting or chipping on or near the first Teeing Ground before starting a round is permitted.
- 7-2: You must not make a practice stroke during the play of a Hole, nor between the play of two Holes according to Basic Golf Rules.
Rule 8: Advice; Indicating Line of Play
- 8-1: During a round, you must not give advice to anyone other than your partner, nor ask for advice from anyone other than your partner or your caddie.
- 8-2: Off the Putting Green, you may have the line of play indicated to you by anyone. When your ball is on the Putting Green, your partner or caddie may point out to you a line for putting before the stroke, but must not touch the Putting Green in doing so. A mark must not be placed anywhere on the Putting Green to indicate a line for putting.
Rule 9: Information as to Strokes Taken
- 9-1: The number of strokes a player has taken includes any penalty strokes incurred.
- 9-3: A competitor who has incurred a penalty should inform his “marker” as soon as practicable according to Basic Golf Rules.
- 10-2: The competitor with the lowest score at a Hole, takes the “Honor” at the next Teeing Ground and plays first. After competitors have started play of the Hole, the ball farthest from the Hole is played first.
- 10-3: Based upon Basic Golf Rules, if a player plays a provisional ball or another ball from the Teeing Ground, he must do so after his opponent or fellow-competitor had made his first stroke.
- 11-1: Tee your ball between the Tee-Markers or slightly behind them. You may Tee your ball as far as two club lengths behind the markers, and you may stand outside the Teeing Ground to play a ball within it.
- 11-2: You may not move the Tee-Markers for any reason.
- 11-3: If your ball accidentally falls off the tee before making your first stroke, you may replace it without penalty. If you make a stroke without hitting the ball, the stroke counts.
- 11-4: Based upon Basic Golf Rules, you must not play a ball from outside the Teeing Ground.
- 11-5: You must not play a ball from the wrong Teeing Ground.
PLAYING THE BALL
Rule 12: Searching for and Identifying Ball
- 12-1: In searching for your ball anywhere on the course, you may touch or bend long grass, bushes or the like, but only to the extent necessary to find and identify it, provided that this does not improve the lie of the ball, the area of the intended stance or swing or the line of play. In a bunker or water hazard, if sand or leaves cover your ball, you may remove enough of the sand or leaves to be able to see a part of the ball.
- 12-2: Within Basic Golf Rules, it is your responsibility for playing the proper ball. You should place an identification mark on your ball. You may lift your ball to identify it anywhere on the course. You must tell your opponent or fellow competitor before you lift your ball to identify it.
Rule 13: Ball Played as It Lies
- 13-1: You must play the ball as it lies. You may not move it to a better spot.
- 13-2: You may not improve the area of your stance, intended swing or line of play by bending or breaking anything growing, such as tree branches or long grass. You may not improve your lie by pressing down behind the ball.
- 13-3: You are entitled to place your feet firmly in taking your stance, but you must not build a stance per Basic Golf Rules.
- 13-4: In a bunker you may not touch the sand, or in a water hazard touch the ground or water, with your club before or during your back swing. In any hazard, you may not remove loose impediments (natural things such as leaves or twigs) but you may remove obstructions (artificial objects such as bottles or rakes.)
- 14-1: According to Basic Golf Rules, the ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed or scraped.
- 14-2: In making a stroke, you must not accept physical assistance or allow your Caddie or partner to position themselves on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball.
- 14-3: You must not use any artificial device to assist in striking the ball in any way, unless the device alleviates a medical condition without giving you an unfair advantage over other players.
- 14-4: If your club strikes the ball more than once in the course of a stroke, that additional stroke counts, plus a one stroke penalty is added in addition.
- 14-5: You must not hit your ball while it is moving.
Rule 15: Substituted Ball or Wrong Ball
- 15-1: You must hole out with the ball played from the Teeing Ground unless the ball is lost.
- 15-2: You may substitute a ball when proceeding under a Rule which permits you to play, drop or place another ball in completing the play of the Hole.
- 15-3: If you make a stroke at a wrong ball you will incur a two stroke penalty based upon Basic Golf Rules.
THE PUTTING GREEN
- 16-1: When your ball is on the green, you may brush away leaves and other loose impediments, but otherwise do not touch your line of putt.
- Always mark your ball by putting a small coin or other marker behind it when you want to pick it up to clean it or get out of another player’s way.
- You may repair ball marks or old hole plugs, but do not repair marks made by spikes or shoes before playing.
- You may not test the surface of the green by rolling a ball or scraping the surface.
- You must not make a stroke from a stance astride or with either foot touching the line of putt or an extension of that line behind the ball.
- You must not make a stroke while another ball is in motion.
- 16-2: Per the acknowledged Basic Golf Rules, if your ball overhangs the edge of the hole you can wait ten seconds to see if it drops in. If it falls in after 10 seconds, add a penalty stroke to your score.
- 17-1: Before making a stroke from anywhere on the course, you may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the Hole.
- 17-2: If a fellow competitor or his Caddie, without your authority or prior knowledge, attends, removes or holds up the flagstick during the stroke or while the ball is in motion, and the act might influence the movement of the ball, the opponent incurs the applicable penalty.
- 17-3: Your ball must not strike the flagstick when it is attended, removed or held up according to Basic Golf Rules.
- 17-4: If your ball rests against the flagstick in the hole and the ball is not holed, or your Caddie may move or remove the flagstick, and if the ball falls into the hole, you become “holed-out” with your last stroke. Otherwise if the ball is moved, it must be placed on the lip of the hole and played from there without penalty.
BALL MOVED, DEFLECTED OR STOPPED
Rule 18: Ball at Rest Moved
- 18-1: If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced per Basic Golf Rules.
- 18-2: When your ball is in play, if you, your partner or your Caddie lifts or moves the ball on purpose you will incur a penalty of one stroke. If the ball moves once you have addressed the ball, add a penalty stroke, and replace the ball.
- 18-3: If during search for your ball, an opponent, his Caddie or equipment moves the ball, touches it or causes it to move, there is no penalty. If the ball is moved, it must be replaced.
- 18-4: If a fellow competitor, his Caddie or his equipment moves your ball, touches it or causes it to move, there is no penalty. If the ball is moved, it must be replaced.
- 18-5: If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must be replaced.
- 18-6: According to Basic Golf Rules, if a ball or ball-marker is moved in measuring while proceeding under normal rules, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced.
Rule 19: Ball in Motion, Deflected or Stopped
- 19-1: Per Basic Golf Rules, if your ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies.
- 19-2: If your ball is accidentally deflected or stopped by you, your partner or your Caddie, you will incur a one stroke penalty. The ball must be played as it lies.
- 19-3: If your ball is accidently deflected or stopped by an opponent, his Caddie or his equipment, there is no penalty.
- 19-5: If your ball in mot ion after a stroke is deflected or stopped by a ball in play and at rest, you must play your ball as it lies.
- If your ball in motion after a stroke is deflected or stopped by another ball in motion after a stroke, you must play your ball as it lies.
RELIEF SITUATIONS AND PROCEDURES
Rule 20: Lifting, Dropping and Placing; Playing from Wrong Place
- 20-1: A ball to be lifted under Basic Golf Rules may be lifted by you, your partner or Caddie, but the position of the ball must first be marked prior to lifting. Place the marker directly in front of the ball. If a ball or ball marker is accidentally moved in the process of lifting the ball or marking its position, the ball-marker must be replaced.
- 20-2: A ball to be dropped under the Basic Golf Rules must be dropped by you only. When a ball is to be dropped as near as possible to a specific spot, it must be dropped not nearer the Hole than the specific spot which, if it is not precisely known to you, must be estimated. – – To drop a ball, stand erect and hold the ball at shoulder height and at arm’s length, then drop it. If the ball when dropped touches any person or the equipment of any players before or after it strikes a part of the course and before it comes to rest, the ball must be re-dropped.
- 20-3: A ball to be placed under the rules must be placed by you or your partner. If the ball is to be replaced, you or your partner who lifted or moved it must place it on the spot from which it was lifted or moved.
- 20-4: If your ball in play has been lifted, it is again in play when dropped or placed.
- 20-5: When you elect to or are required to make your next stroke from where a previous stroke was made, you must proceed as follows: The ball to be played must be played anywhere within the Teeing Ground, and may be placed upon a Tee.
- 20-6: A ball incorrectly substituted, dropped or placed in a wrong place or otherwise not in accordance with the Basic Golf Rules but not played may be lifted, without penalty, and you must then proceed correctly.
- 20-7: If you make a stroke from a wrong place, you will incur a penalty of two strokes.
- 21-1: According to Basic Golf Rules, a ball on the Putting Green may be lifted and cleaned. The position of the ball must be marked before it is lifted, and the ball must be replaced.
- Other than the Putting Green, you may clean your ball when you lift it, with a few exceptions: when you are checking if it is unfit for play, identifying it, or if it interferes with another player’s play.
Rule 22: Ball Interfering with or Assisting Play
- 22-1: A player required to lift his ball, may play first with permission from a competitor rather than lift the ball per Basic Golf Rules.
- If a competitor’s ball interferes with your stroke or swing, or is on your line of play, you may ask the competitor to lift it.
- 23-1: According to Basic Golf Rules, except when both the loose impediment and the ball lie in or touch the same hazard, any loose impediment may be removed without penalty.
- If the ball lies anywhere other than on the putting green and the removal of a loose impediment by you causes the ball to move, you will incur a one stroke penalty.
- Loose impediments are natural objects that are not growing or fixed, such as loose fallen branches, twigs, leaves, or stones.
- When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.
- On the putting green, if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of removing a loose impediment, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. There is no penalty.
- 24-1: Moveable obstructions are artificial or man-made objects, such as rakes, cans, or bottles. Immoveable obstructions are sprinkler heads, cart paths, buildings, or any other “fixed” element of the golf course. – – Movable obstructions anywhere on the golf course may be removed. If the ball moves while moving the obstruction, there is no penalty incurred, but the ball must be replaced.
- 24-2: You may drop your ball away from an immovable obstruction if it interferes with your swing or stance. Find the nearest point not nearer the hole where the ball could be played without interference with your swing or stance. Drop the ball within one club-length of that point.
- 24-3: If it is known or virtually certain that a ball has not been found is in a moveable obstruction, you may substitute another ball and take relief without penalty per Basic Golf Rules.
Rule 25: Abnormal Ground Conditions, Embedded Ball and Wrong Putting Green
- 25-1: Per Basic Golf Rules, interference by an abnormal ground condition occurs when a ball lies in or touches the condition or when the condition interferes with your stance or the area of your intended swing.
- A ball imbedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground in any closely mown area through the green may be lifted, cleaned and dropped without penalty.
- Interference by a wrong putting green occurs when a ball is on the wrong putting green.
- If your ball lies on a wrong putting green, you must not play the ball as it lies. You must take relief without penalty.
Rule 26: Water Hazards (Including Lateral Water Hazards)
- 26-1: Water hazard areas are typically outlined by yellow lines or stakes. Lateral water hazard margins are identified by red lines or stakes within Basic Golf Rules.
- 26-2: If your ball lies in a water hazard (or lateral water hazard), you may play it as it lies. If you do not wish to play it, or cannot find it, add one penalty stroke and proceed with one of the following:
— 1. Drop and play another ball from where you last played.
— 2. Drop a ball behind the water hazard as far back as you wish on a straight line from the hole, keeping where your ball last crossed the hazard margin between the hole and where you drop the ball.
— 3. If the ball is in a lateral water hazard, you may also drop a ball within two club-lengths of where the ball last crossed the hazard margin, no nearer to the hole.
Rule 27: Ball Lost or Out of Bounds; Provisional Ball
27-1: According to Basic Golf Rules, your ball is considered lost if it is not found within five minutes after the search for it has begun, or you have elected to put another ball in play.
Your ball is considered out of bounds if all of it lies beyond the inside line of objects such as walls, fences and white stakes that mark the boundary of the golf course. – – If your ball is lost or out of bounds, add one penalty stroke and play another ball from where you played your last ball.
- 28-1: Within Basic Golf Rules, if you find your ball in a very bad situation and you decide you cannot play it, add one penalty stroke and proceed with one of the following choices:
— 1. Go back to where you made your last stroke, and then proceed to play a new ball from that point.
— 2. Go back on a straight line as far as you choose, keeping where the unplayable ball lay between the Hole and where you have chosen to drop a new ball.
— 3. Measure two club-lengths (you can use your driver) from where the unplayable ball lay, and then drop a ball and play from there.
We hope this condensed version of the Basic Golf Rules has been helpful and informative!
Thanks again for Visiting Us!
Basic Golf Rules for the average player can be made simple and easy to understand . . .
Golf Rules Playing Wrong Hole
As the governing body of golf in Canada, Golf Canada holds the exclusive right to govern, publish and distribute the Rules of Golf in Canada.
The Rules are typically updated every four years through the work of the R&A and the United States Golf Association. A joint committee of these associations, on which the Chair of Golf Canada’s Rules and Amateur Status Committee sits, is charged with revising, modernizing and improving the Rules of Golf. These two documents form the complete Rules of Golf that are used universally throughout the world of golf.
For clubs or committees in charge of competitions, the Conditions of Competition and Standard Local Rules that Golf Canada implements at all championships is posted for your reference. In addition, a list of local rules that should be considered is available on this website.
2019 Rules Modernization Initiative
As the National Sport Federation and governing body of golf in Canada, Golf Canada, in conjunction with the R&A and the USGA, have unveiled the 2019 Rules of Golf. This joint initiative was designed to modernize the Rules and make them easier to understand and apply.
2019 Rules of Golf Publications
‘Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf’: An abridged, user-friendly set of the Rules with shorter sentences, commonly used phrases, and diagrams. Written in the “second person,” The Player’s Edition is intended to be the primary publication for golfers.
‘Full Rules of Golf’: The full edition of the Rules will be written in the third person and will include illustrations. The Rules of Golf is intended to be the primary publication for officials and is expected Golf Club Committees and Referees will use the publication as their primary Rules of Golf resource.
The Official Guide to the Rules of Golf: This “guidebook” replaces the Decisions book and will contain information to best support committees and officials. It includes interpretations on the Rules, Committee procedures (available local rules and information on establishing the terms of the competition), and the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities. It is a “long-form” resource document intended as a supplementary publication.
Top 10 Rules Essentials on the R&A Website and App
The top 10 Rules Essentials will allow every golfer to learn the essentials of the new Rules of Golf in a fun and user-friendly way before playing in 2019. There will be 10 short videos to explain the most commonly used Rules. Click here to view.
The Committee Toolkit has been designed to help those responsible for preparing the golf course for general play and for those running and administering competitions at all levels. The “Toolkit” aims to help Committees get to know the Committee Procedures section of the Official Guide, and to better understand the changes that they need to make in advance of 2019 to reflect the new Rules.
The toolkit also includes a ‘Local Rules Creator’. The purpose of this is to helps Clubs and Committees with the process of updating Local Rules for 2019. Of course, the amount of space available on scorecards is limited and with that in mind, short form Local Rules are also available. Click here to view.
Rules Academy (R&A Website only)
The Rules Academy will be updated for the 2019 Rules of Golf. The “Academy” is aimed at all golfers and will use a combination of text, videos and diagrams to help you learn the most important aspects of the Rules. You will also have the option to take an exam at the end to check that you are 2019-ready. The Rules Academy is the on-line version of a Level 1 R&A Rules Seminar, which is the first step of the R&A’s three tier Rules Education programme. This will be available soon.
In addition to publishing the Rules of Golf, Golf Canada is committed to train and educate all golfers that could ultimately lead to national certification as a Referee.
New for 2019, Golf Canada will be adopting the R&A’s Rules Education system. One of the main objectives of the Rules Modernization Initiative was to create consistency around the world in many facets of the Rules of Golf, including educating and training referees. The exams that Golf Canada will use and the designation by marks achieved will be consistent throughout the countries allied to the R&A, such as Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
While Golf Canada traditionally has employed a four-level system, the R&A’s Rules Education program consists of a three-tiered approach. In order to align the programs, Golf Canada’s current Levels 1 and 2 will be consolidated into just one level (the new Level 1). We will maintain separate programs for individuals to continue through our Rules Education Pathway at the provincial and national level, which will be the new Level 2 and Level 3.
The chart below compares the Levels from 2018 to what will be in place for 2019:
Golf Rules Playing Wrong Hole As the governing body of golf in Canada, Golf Canada holds the exclusive right to govern, publish and distribute the Rules of Golf in Canada. The Rules are
The Rules of Amateur Status
The purpose of the Amateur Status Rules is to maintain the distinction between amateur and professional golf.
Rules of Golf Definitions
The definitions are listed alphabetically and are shown in blue in the Rules themselves.
An ” abnormal ground condition ” is any casual water , ground under repair or hole, cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal , a reptile or a bird.
A player has ” addressed the ball ” when he has grounded his club immediately in front of or immediately behind the ball, whether or not he has taken his stance .
” Advice ” is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke .
Information on the Rules , distance or matters of public information, such as the position of hazards or the flagstick on the putting green , is not advice .
See ” Move or Moved “.
A ball is “in play” as soon as the player has made a stroke on the teeing ground. It remains in play until it is holed, except when it is lost, out of bounds or lifted, or another ball has been substituted, whether or not the substitution is permitted; a ball so substituted becomes the ball in play.
A ball in play that has been marked but not lifted remains in play. A ball that has been marked, lifted and replaced is back in play whether or not the ball-marker has been removed.
If a ball is played from outside the teeing ground when the player is starting play of a hole, or when attempting to correct this mistake, the ball is not in play and Rule 11-4 or 11-5 applies. Otherwise, ball in play includes a ball played from outside the teeing ground when the player elects or is required to play his next stroke from the teeing ground.
Exception in match play: Ball in play includes a ball played by the player from outside the teeing ground when starting play of a hole if the opponent does not require the stroke to be cancelled in accordance with Rule 11-4a.
See ” Forms of Match Play “.
A ” bunker ” is a hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow, from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like.
Grass-covered ground bordering or within a bunker , including a stacked turf face (whether grass-covered or earthen), is not part of the bunker . A wall or lip of the bunker not covered with grass is part of the bunker . The margin of a bunker extends vertically downwards, but not upwards.
A ball is in a bunker when it lies in or any part of it touches the bunker .
A ” burrowing animal ” is an animal (other than a worm, insect or the like) that makes a hole for habitation or shelter, such as a rabbit, mole, groundhog, gopher or salamander.
Note: A hole made by a non-burrowing animal, such as a dog, is not an abnormal ground condition unless marked or declared as ground under repair .
A ” caddie ” is one who assists the player in accordance with the Rules , which may include carrying or handling the player’s clubs during play.
When one caddie is employed by more than one player, he is always deemed to be the caddie of the player sharing the caddie whose ball (or whose partner’s ball) is involved, and equipment carried by him is deemed to be that player’s equipment , except when the caddie acts upon specific directions of another player (or the partner of another player) sharing the caddie , in which case he is considered to be that other player’s caddie .
” Casual water ” is any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance . Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments , at the option of the player. Manufactured ice is an obstruction . Dew and frost are not casual water .
A ball is in casual water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water .
The ” Committee ” is the committee in charge of the competition or, if the matter does not arise in a competition, the committee in charge of the course .
A “competitor” is a player in a stroke play competition. A “fellow-competitor” is any person with whom the competitor plays. Neither is partner of the other.
In stroke play foursome and four-ball competitions, where the context so admits, the word “competitor” or “fellow-competitor” includes his partner.
The “course” is the whole area within any boundaries established by the Committee (see Rule 33-2).
“Equipment” is anything used, worn, held or carried by the player or the player’s caddie, except:
• any ball that the player has played at the hole being played, and
• any small object, such as a coin or a tee, when used to mark the position of the ball or the extent of an area in which a ball is to be dropped.
Note 1: A ball played at the hole being played is equipment when it has been lifted and not put back into play.
Note 2: Equipment includes objects placed on the course for the care of the course, such as rakes, while they are being held or carried.
Note 3: When equipment is shared by two or more players, the shared equipment is deemed to be the equipment of only one of the players sharing it.
If a shared golf cart is being moved by one of the players sharing it (or his partner or either of their caddies), the cart and everything in it are deemed to be that player’s equipment. Otherwise, the cart and everything in it are deemed to be the equipment of the player sharing the cart whose ball (or whose partner’s ball) is involved.
Other shared equipment is deemed to be the equipment of the player who last used, wore, held or carried it. It remains that player’s equipment until it is used, worn, held or carried by the other player (or his partner or either of their caddies).
The ” flagstick ” is a movable straight indicator, with or without bunting or other material attached, centred in the hole to show its position. It must be circular in cross-section. Padding or shock absorbent material that might unduly influence the movement of the ball is prohibited.
A ” forecaddie ” is one who is employed by the Committee to indicate to players the position of balls during play. He is an outside agency .
Single: A match in which one player plays against another player.
Threesome: A match in which one player plays against two other players, and each side plays one ball.
Foursome: A match in which two players play against two other players, and each side plays one ball.
Three-Ball: Three players play a match against one another, each playing his own ball. Each player is playing two distinct matches.
Best-Ball: A match in which one player plays against the better ball of two other players or the best ball of three other players.
Four-Ball: A match in which two players play their better ball against the better ball of two other players.
Individual: A competition in which each competitor plays as an individual.
Foursome: A competition in which two competitors play as partners and play one ball.
Four-Ball: A competition in which two competitors play as partners , each playing his own ball. The lower score of the partners is the score for the hole. If one partner fails to complete the play of a hole, there is no penalty.
Note: For bogey, par and Stableford competitions, see Rule 32-1.
See ” Forms of Match Play ” and ” Forms of Stroke Play “.
See ” Forms of Match play ” and ” Forms of Stroke play “.
“ Ground under repair ” is any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee or so declared by its authorised representative. All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair are part of the ground under repair . Ground under repair includes material piled for removal and a hole made by a greenkeeper, even if not so marked. Grass cuttings and other material left on the course that have been abandoned and are not intended to be removed are not ground under repair unless so marked.
When the margin of ground under repair is defined by stakes, the stakes are inside the ground under repair , and the margin of the ground under repair is defined by the nearest outside points of the stakes at ground level. When both stakes and lines are used to indicate ground under repair , the stakes identify the ground under repair and the lines define the margin of the ground under repair . When the margin of ground under repair is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is in the ground under repair . The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards but not upwards.
A ball is in ground under repair when it lies in or any part of it touches the ground under repair .
Stakes used to define the margin of or identify ground under repair are obstructions .
Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from ground under repair or an environmentally-sensitive area defined as ground under repair .
A ” hazard ” is any bunker or water hazard .
The ” hole ” must be 4¼ inches (108 mm) in diameter and at least 4 inches (101.6 mm) deep. If a lining is used, it must be sunk at least 1 inch (25.4 mm) below the putting green surface unless the nature of the soil makes it impracticable to do so; its outer diameter must not exceed 4¼ inches (108 mm).
A ball is ” holed ” when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole .
The player who is to play first from the teeing ground is said to have the ” honour “.
A ” lateral water hazard ” is a water hazard or that part of a water hazard so situated that it is not possible, or is deemed by the Committee to be impracticable, to drop a ball behind the water hazard in accordance with Rule 26–1b. All ground and water within the margin of a lateral water hazard are part of the lateral water hazard.
When the margin of a lateral water hazard is defined by stakes, the stakes are inside the lateral water hazard , and the margin of the hazard is defined by the nearest outside points of the stakes at ground level. When both stakes and lines are used to indicate a lateral water hazard , the stakes identify the hazard and the lines define the hazard margin. When the margin of a lateral water hazard is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is in the lateral water hazard . The margin of a lateral water hazard extends vertically upwards and downwards.
A ball is in a lateral water hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the lateral water hazard .
Stakes used to define the margin of or identify a lateral water hazard are obstructions .
Note 1: That part of a water hazard to be played as a lateral water hazard must be distinctively marked. Stakes or lines used to define the margin of or identify a lateral water hazard must be red.
Note 2: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from an environmentally-sensitive area defined as a lateral water hazard .
Note 3: The Committee may define a lateral water hazard as a water hazard .
The ” line of play ” is the direction that the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke , plus a reasonable distance on either side of the intended direction. The line of play extends vertically upwards from the ground, but does not extend beyond the hole .
The ” line of putt ” is the line that the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke on the putting green . Except with respect to Rule 16-1e, the line of putt includes a reasonable distance on either side of the intended line. The line of putt does not extend beyond the hole .
“Loose impediments” are natural objects, including:
• stones, leaves, twigs, branches and the like,
• dung, and
• worms, insects and the like, and the casts and heaps made by them,
provided they are not:
• fixed or growing,
• solidly embedded, or
• adhering to the ball.
Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere.
Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments at the option of the player.
Dew and frost are not loose impediments.
A ball is deemed “ lost ” if:
a. It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player’s side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it; or
b. The player has made a stroke at a provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place (see Rule 27-2b); or
c. The player has put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance under Rule 26-1a, 27-1 or 28a; or
d. The player has put another ball into play because it is known or virtually certain that the ball, which has not been found, has been moved by an outside agency (see Rule 18-1), is in an obstruction (see Rule 24-3), is in an abnormal ground condition (see Rule 25-1c) or is in a water hazard (see Rule 26-1b or c); or
e. The player has made a stroke at a substituted ball .
Time spent in playing a wrong ball is not counted in the five-minute period allowed for search.
A ” marker ” is one who is appointed by the Committee to record a competitor’s score in stroke play. He may be a fellow-competitor . He is not a referee .
A ball is deemed to have ” moved ” if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.
The ” nearest point of relief ” is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction (Rule 24-2), an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1) or a wrong putting green (Rule 25-3).
It is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies:
- that is not nearer the hole , and
- where, if the ball were so positioned, no interference by the condition from which relief is sought would exist for the stroke the player would have made from the original position if the condition were not there.
Note: In order to determine the nearest point of relief accurately, the player should use the club with which he would have made his next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke .
An ” observer ” is one who is appointed by the Committee to assist a referee to decide questions of fact and to report to him any breach of a Rule . An observer should not attend the flagstick , stand at or mark the position of the hole , or lift the ball or mark its position.
An “obstruction” is anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths and manufactured ice, except:
a. Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings;
b. Any part of an immovable artificial object that is out of bounds; and
c. Any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course.
An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it may be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise it is an immovable obstruction.
Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule declaring a movable obstruction to be an immovable obstruction.
An ” opponent ” is a member of a side against whom the player’s side is competing in match play.
“ Out of bounds ’’ is beyond the boundaries of the course or any part of the course so marked by the Committee .
When out of bounds is defined by reference to stakes or a fence or as being beyond stakes or a fence, the out of bounds line is determined by the nearest inside points at ground level of the stakes or fence posts (excluding angled supports). When both stakes and lines are used to indicate out of bounds , the stakes identify out of bounds and the lines define out of bounds .
When out of bounds is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is out of bounds . The out of bounds line extends vertically upwards and downwards.
A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds . A player may stand out of bounds to play a ball lying within bounds.
Objects defining out of bounds such as walls, fences, stakes and railings are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed. Stakes identifying out of bounds are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed.
Note 1: Stakes or lines used to define out of bounds should be white.
Note 2: A Committee may make a Local Rule declaring stakes identifying but not defining out of bounds to obstructions .
In match play, an “ outside agency ” is any agency other than either the player’s or opponent ’s side , any caddie of either side , any ball played by either side at the hole being played or any equipment of either side .
In stroke play, an outside agency is any agency other than the competitor ’s side, any caddie of the side , any ball played by the side at the hole being played or any equipment of the side.
An outside agency includes a referee , a marker , an observer and a forecaddie . Neither wind nor water is an outside agency .
A ” partner ” is a player associated with another player on the same side .
In threesome , foursome , best-ball or four-ball play, where the context so admits, the word “player” includes his partner or partners .
A ” penalty stroke ” is one added to the score of a player or side under certain Rules . In a threesome or foursome , penalty strokes do not affect the order of play.
A ” provisional ball ” is a ball played under Rule 27-2 for a ball that may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds .
The “ putting green ” is all ground of the hole being played that is specially prepared for putting or otherwise defined as such by the Committee . A ball is on the putting green when any part of it touches the putting green.
The ” R&A ” means R&A Rules Limited.
A ” referee ” is one who is appointed by the Committee to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules . He must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him.
A referee should not attend the flagstick , stand at or mark the position of the hole , or lift the ball or mark its position.
Exception in match play: Unless a referee is assigned to accompany the players throughout a match, he has no authority to intervene in a match other than in relation to Rule 1-3, 6-7 or 33-7.
A ” rub of the green ” occurs when a ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency (see Rule 19-1).
The term “Rule” includes:
a. The Rules of Golf and their interpretations as contained in “Decisions on the Rules of Golf”;
b. Any Conditions of Competition established by the Committee under Rule 33-1 and Appendix IA;
c. Any Local Rules established by the Committee under Rule 33-8a and Appendix IA; and
d. The specifications on:
(i) clubs and the ball in Appendices II and III and their interpretations as contained in “A Guide to the Rules on Clubs and Balls”; and
(ii) devices and other equipment in Appendix IV.
A ” side ” is a player, or two or more players who are partners . In match play, each member of the opposing side is an opponent . In stroke play, members of all sides are competitors and members of different sides playing together are fellow-competitors .
See ” Forms of Match Play ” and ” Forms of Stroke Play “.
Formed in 2004 and based in St Andrews, the R&A organises The Open, golf`s oldest and most international major championship, along with a number of other amateur and junior golf events, also incorporates an Equipment Standards division and offers details on Rules of the game.