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The Rules of Golf (The Simple Version)

New Rules of Golf

As a newbie golfer, are the countless quantity of guidelines starting to confuse you?

In that case, simply know you aren’t alone. 

Whereas golf is a tremendous sport, one factor that makes it tough for rookies is knowing the obnoxious quantity of guidelines that include it. In reality, even golfers who’ve been taking part in for many years nonetheless don’t know all the foundations. And in the event that they do, they definitely don’t all the time adhere to them.

So in the event you’re simply getting began on this fantastic recreation, don’t beat your self up. The objective is to know crucial guidelines and as you turn out to be extra superior, continue to learn alongside the best way.

On this submit, I’ll share why the foundations are so necessary and 15 of the commonest conditions that may occur on the golf course.

Why The Guidelines of Golf Matter

Should you’re a newbie golfer, it’s type of accepted that you just gained’t know all the foundations at first. And that’s greater than okay, everybody has to begin someplace.

However if you wish to begin taking part in nicer programs and begin taking part in extra competitively, it’s greatest to know the foundations.

Right here’s why understanding the foundations of golf matter: 

  • Creates a greater expertise for everybody within the group. It’s actually irritating if you’re taking part in or competing in opposition to individuals who don’t adhere to the foundations. It may well result in some hostility between gamers and typically create a a lot much less fulfilling expertise when there’s a questionable use of the foundations. Simply ask PGA guys who’ve needed to expertise points like Patrick Reed has had on the course. 
  • Helps velocity up play. One of many causes that lots of people are going to TopGolf as a substitute of the golf course is the period of time it takes to play 18 holes. A median spherical takes no less than 4 hours however normally about 5. Should you’re struggling to be taught the foundations as you go, it may possibly make your spherical even longer so it’s greatest to be taught them sooner and velocity up play. 
  • Integrity. One factor that separates golf from each different sport is the excessive quantity of integrity concerned and a central precept of the sport. It’s the one sport the place gamers name penalties on themselves. Until you’re on the PGA Tour with cameras and followers watching your each transfer, it’s simple to try to enhance your lie or stretch the foundations. Should you’re caught by fellow gamers, it’s clearly awkward (and comes with a penalty) to not point out, the Golf Gods aren’t a fan of that sort of conduct both. 

Evidently, preserve the sport pure by sticking with the foundations. Now, listed below are the commonest guidelines that it’s essential know if you wish to begin taking your recreation to the following stage.

15 Predominant Guidelines of Golf for Learners

The US Golf Affiliation (USGA) has an enormous rule e book however we’ll do our greatest to simplify the whole lot under. Whereas this isn’t an official rule, it’s good observe to establish your authentic ball on the primary tee. Additionally, play prepared golf to save lots of time and velocity up the tempo of play.

1. 14-Membership Rule

The USGA restrict is 14 golf equipment per bag as you begin the start of your spherical. When you’ve got greater than 14 golf equipment in your bag, you’ll obtain a two-stroke penalty for each gap (otherwise you may be disqualified) in keeping with rule 4-4.

This shouldn’t be a difficulty for many gamers as your gear doesn’t change week in and week out like the professionals. However be certain that to double-check earlier than you allow the driving vary or hit your first tee shot as that is a simple penalty to keep away from. 

Should you’d like, you’ll be able to play with lower than 14 golf equipment however it’s not one thing that we suggest. Golf is tough sufficient with 14 golf equipment, don’t make it tougher by not utilizing all of the weapons obtainable. 

2. Play Behind the Tee Markers

The following rule is to just remember to all the time tee your ball behind the tee markers. Should you’re in entrance of them in any respect (even an inch), you’ll obtain one penalty stroke.

However don’t really feel such as you’re confined to the realm straight in between the tee markers both. The foundations of golf will let you go to 2 full golf equipment behind the markers along with your longest membership (i.e. driver). 

This could provide you with roughly 90 inches behind the tee markers. Should you’re in between golf equipment for a sure tee shot, it is a good technique as you can also make the space longer and a greater match in your longer membership.

Moreover, you’ll be able to stand outdoors the tee field so long as your complete ball is teed up between the markers. This would possibly assist open up one facet of the green and play your slice simpler. Simply don’t get so near the markers that you just by chance hit them as you’ll probably injury the membership. 

3. Play the Ball because it Lies

Like they mentioned in Pleased Gilmore, “It’s a must to play it the place it lies” …effectively, for probably the most half. Typically, it’s essential play the ball from the lie you discovered it, however there are exceptions to the rule. You’re allotted a drop in case your ball is on the cart path, close to a man-made object or it’s a marked space like “floor beneath restore.”

Should you can’t establish the ball, you’re allowed to rotate the ball to verify it’s the one you hit. As soon as recognized, you will need to rotate it again in the identical place as you discovered it and never transfer it.  

Moreover, the USGA mentioned, “Gamers ought to take care when close to any ball at relaxation, and a participant who causes his or her personal ball or an opponent’s ball to maneuver will usually get a penalty (besides on the placing inexperienced).”

4. Out of Bounds 

Out of bounds, generally known as “OB” is when your ball finally ends up outdoors the course of play and is usually recognized with white stakes. Or, it may be a fence, wall, or different construction of the course (be certain that to verify native guidelines on the scorecard too).

For probably the most half, that is normally on the outskirts of the course like a highway, ditch or fence. Not often, is out of bounds throughout the confines of the course however it may possibly occur (this is named “in course OB”).

Hitting out of bounds is a two shot penalty and it’s important to replay the earlier shot. 

While you hit a ball out of bounds, you will need to replay from the place the earlier shot was performed. As a substitute of hitting two after your first shot goes out, you’re now hitting three from the tee field. 

Should you hit it OB from anyplace aside from the tee field, you will need to attempt to recreate the earlier shot you hit and add two strokes.

Hit a Provisional Ball

As you’ll be able to think about, hitting a ball OB can decelerate play as penalty strokes add up. To keep away from slowing down the tempo of play, you’ll be able to hit a provisional ball. Should you’ve hit a shot that you just assume may be OB, don’t wait till you rise up there to determine.

A provisional is a backup in case your authentic ball goes out of play. This may assist you not must stroll or journey again if the ball is certainly misplaced.

To hit a provisional, ensure you clearly announce to fellow gamers that you’re hitting a provisional and establish the brand new golf ball. In any other case, it should depend as your shot even in the event you discover the unique golf ball. If issues go dangerous on that shot, you’ll be able to hit one other provisional as effectively. 

The most important factor is to verify to establish your shot as a provisional, so there’s no confusion when trying to find balls. Additionally, don’t hit a provisional ball in the event you assume you went right into a water hazard, provided that you assume it’s out of bounds.

5. Understanding Hazards 

Hitting within the water isn’t enjoyable however it’s a part of golf, even to one of the best gamers. Whether or not it’s Jordan Speith making a 7 on gap 12 at August or Sergio making a 13 on gap 15 at Augusta, it occurs! 

It’s necessary to know easy methods to take your drop when your ball leads to the water. You’ve gotten a number of choices: 

Enjoying it From the Water

In case your ball isn’t absolutely submerged, you all the time have the selection to play it from the water. There isn’t a penalty however it’s normally a dangerous shot that isn’t simple to tug off.

To not point out you would possibly destroy a membership or golf outfit. However if you wish to play it from the water, have at it. 

Lateral Hazard (Crimson Stakes)

In case your ball finally ends up moist, establish the penalty space stake coloration as there are two essential varieties; crimson and yellow. A crimson penalty space is a lateral hazard whereas a yellow stake is a water hazard.

Right here is how the USGA defines them, “While you take aid from a penalty space, you get one penalty stroke. For yellow penalty areas, you’ve gotten two aid choices. For crimson penalty areas, you’ve gotten three aid choices (the identical two aid choices as you do for yellow, plus one extra choice.)”

With crimson hazards, you’ll be able to take aid in certainly one of 3 ways: 

  • Drop in a aid space (if they’ve one).
  • Laterally, inside two membership lengths of the place the ball entered the water.
  • Return on the road that it crossed the water and in keeping with the flag (generally known as line of sight).

Water Hazard (Yellow Stakes) 

Penalty areas marked with yellow stakes solely permit two drop choices. You may drop within the aid space or the road of sight. You can’t drop laterally like a crimson penalty space. 

Most hazards are crimson however it’s necessary to double-check so that you don’t get any further penalty strokes.

6. Misplaced Ball Rule

You would possibly marvel, “What occurs when your ball is misplaced?” A number of issues as a ball misplaced hurts the pockets and scorecard.

It’s a must to play it just like the ball is out of bounds and replay the shot. Should you assume the ball is misplaced, it is best to hit a provisional ball to hurry up play.

When trying to find your ball, all the time double verify it’s yours to keep away from hitting the fallacious golf ball. There may be nothing worse than hitting an opponent’s ball!

7. Unplayable Lies

As a newbie, I’m positive you’re beginning to discover out that your golf ball can find yourself in some bizarre conditions. In case your ball leads to an space that’s unplayable however you could find it, you’re allowed to take a drop generally known as an “unplayable lie.”  You’ll obtain a one stroke penalty for the drop and there are a number of methods to drop the ball. 

For instance, let’s say you discover your authentic ball in a bush or cactus. Not like hitting out of bounds, you don’t have to return to the earlier stroke except you need to.

While you take an unplayable ball aid, listed below are the completely different drop choices. 

  • Two membership lengths: The primary choice with unplayable lies is to take a drop inside two golf equipment of the spot so long as you aren’t nearer to the opening. You may go in any path so long as you don’t find yourself nearer to the opening. 
  • Line of sight: The second choice is to go discover the road between the place your ball ended up and the place the flag is on the opening. You may then return so far as you desire to and take a drop. This could possibly be 20 toes or 80 yards, so long as it’s not nearer to the opening.
  • Replay earlier shot: If the primary two choices don’t work out, you’ll be able to all the time return and replay the earlier shot. That is normally a final resort choice as you’re sacrificing a shot and distance as if it was a misplaced ball.

No matter the way you drop, attempt to consider the place you’ll drop so you’ve gotten a superb lie in your subsequent shot. 

8. Cart Path Aid

When your ball finally ends up on a cart path or the cart path is interfering along with your swing, you get free aid. Sure, you learn that proper, you get a free drop. Simply ensure you inform your taking part in companions after which do the next. 

As soon as you discover your ball on the trail, begin by discovering the closest level of aid. When you do, put a tee within the floor for that spot.

Then, take a membership that you just intend to make use of (or go along with a driver for the longest membership) and also you get to drop inside one membership size of the spot. Be sure to don’t drop the ball nearer to the opening!

Don’t overlook that it’s important to drop on the nearest level of aid, even when it’s a dangerous lie or in a shrub. That being mentioned, you’ll be able to all the time choose to hit off the trail in the event you assume it’s a greater lie. If it’s a concrete path it’s a lot simpler than pavement as it may possibly injury your golf equipment. 

9. Whiff the Golf Ball

Whiffing the golf ball as a newbie is a part of golf. Should you do miss the ball that you just meant to hit, you obtain a one-stroke penalty.

But when your ball falls off the tee otherwise you by chance hit throughout a observe swing, there is no such thing as a penalty. This appears to occur to Zach Johnson loads (watch him shank a driver off the tee peg on the Masters right here).

10. No Observe Between Holes 

Do you ever miss a putt and need to hit it once more when you’ve completed the opening? 

Sadly, you’ll be able to’t observe photographs between holes except you’re in a match play occasion. In any other case, there’s a one-shot penalty in official stroke play rounds.

Surprisingly, this even contains utilizing your wedge to hit vary balls again into the vary.  Save the observe for earlier than or after the spherical. 

11. Don’t Give or Ask for Recommendation 

As a newbie, it’s simple to need to ask different gamers what membership they’re hitting or possibly some recommendation on a troublesome shot. Should you’re taking part in with pals in an off-the-cuff spherical, no worries. However in the event you’re making an attempt to essentially take it severely, preserve rating or play competitively, asking for recommendation is definitely a one-shot penalty. 

Even in the event you ask a participant which membership they used on a sure, it is a one shot penalty too. You may’t ask for recommendation on membership choice or anything aside from a associate (if it’s a group occasion) or caddie. Should you do have guidelines questions, need to know the space or the place a hazard may be, you’ll be able to ask fellow gamers.

12. Bunker Guidelines

Bunkers problem golfers and there are some issues to concentrate on to keep away from an pointless penalty stroke.

First, by no means floor your membership!

It is advisable hover your membership above the sand, each fairway and greenside bunkers. In any other case, it’s important to take a one shot penalty in case your membership touches the sand. This contains observe swings too. 

However one factor you are able to do is take away free impediments with out penalty (in stroke play or match play). If there’s a rock, cigarette butt, trash, or one thing else you’ll be able to take away it from the bunker.

13. Mark Your Golf Ball

As soon as you’re on the placing inexperienced, you’re allowed to mark the golf ball with a round object. 

Be sure to mark your ball straight behind it with a coin or marker and change your personal pitch mark. If requested to maneuver your mark for an additional participant, you’re allowed to take action; simply just remember to change it earlier than you putt out.

Moreover, you’ll be able to restore spike marks and may all the time restore divots on the inexperienced. Don’t overlook, you can’t mark a ball that isn’t on the inexperienced (together with the perimeter). The one exception to this rule is in the event you’re taking part in “Carry, clear, and place” which is widespread throughout moist, winter golf circumstances.

14. End the Gap With the Identical Ball

You have to play the identical ball on a whole gap, even when it will get broken from the cart path or bushes. As soon as the opening is full, you’ll be able to eliminate the unique ball and change it with a brand new ball.

Moreover, in the event you mark your golf ball with a sharpie, the official guidelines don’t will let you replace/add markings throughoutthe opening both. It’s a must to wait till the opening is full to refresh your ball markings.

Lastly, in the event you’re a event double-check the “one ball rule.”

If this rule is in impact, it’s essential play the identical model and sort of ball throughout your complete spherical. For instance, in the event you’re taking part in a Titleist ProV1, you’ll be able to’t swap to a Titleist AVX later within the spherical.

15. Signal Your Scorecard Accurately

Should you’re coming into the aggressive area of golf, you’ll change scorecards with certainly one of your taking part in companions at the start of the spherical. In the course of the spherical, you’ll preserve their rating on the high of the scorecard and yours on the backside.

Despite the fact that another person is holding your rating, it’s very important to maintain yours as effectively. As a result of golfers are human and make errors. You need to double-check what the opposite individual scored for you after the spherical.

After the spherical is over, be certain that to totally verify the scorecard, gap by gap. I can’t stress this sufficient, don’t look and make sure it till you’re 100% positive. When you each agree on the cardboard, two signatures are wanted to make it official. 

Don’t overlook to signal the scorecard; not signing it should make it invalid and get you disqualified! 

Should you screw up and provides your self a decrease rating than you made, your scorecard shouldn’t be legitimate and you’re disqualified. In case your rating is increased than you meant, your scorecard is legitimate however you will need to settle for the upper rating.  I’ve seen a good friend get DQ’d after a remaining spherical from signing an incorrect scorecard so all the time signal it earlier than leaving the scoring desk.

Latest Rule Adjustments

2019 introduced some massive rule modifications to the sport of golf; listed below are three of the largest modifications in case you’ve been away from golf for a while.

Flagstick Can Keep In

Maybe the largest rule change in 2019 was the flexibility to depart the flagstick in if you’re on the placing inexperienced. Beforehand, in the event you made a putt with the flag in, you’d obtain a penalty shot. However now, the flag can all the time keep in, even from the placing floor! 

Three Minutes to Search for a Ball 

Should you hit a ball in a foul spot, you now solely have three minutes as a substitute of 5 to seek for it. Additionally, it’s widespread courtesy to assist different gamers search for a ball so be certain that to take action as they’re extra probably that will help you as effectively. 

Floor Membership in Hazards 

Previous to 2019, you have been by no means in a position to floor your golf equipment in hazards. Just like the bunker, you needed to hover the membership with outtouching the bottom. Now, if you end up in a lateral hazard (now generally known as a penalty space) you’ll be able to floor your membership! 

Take Drops At Knee Peak 

One other big change to the foundations of golf is easy methods to drop your golf ball. Whether or not you hit one within the water, take an unplayable or want aid from sprinkler heads, you beforehand needed to drop the ball from shoulder top.

Now, when taking aid you will need to take a drop out of your knees.

In reality, in the event you drop out of your shoulders, you’re truly given a penalty shot! That is fairly loopy however it makes dropping simpler as it is best to get a greater lie dropping from a smaller distance.

Rule 3-3

Hopefully, this information will assist you keep away from any rule debacle and never waste any photographs for rule infractions. Bear in mind, in the event you ever have a query concerning the guidelines, ask your fellow taking part in companions.

Nevertheless, if nobody in your group is aware of the reply, you all the time have the choice to invoke Rule 3-3. This rule permits you to play two golf balls into the opening. As soon as a aggressive spherical is full, you’ll be able to ask a guidelines official or membership professional which rating to make use of.

Remaining Ideas

Within the early levels of your golf journey, give attention to some primary guidelines like:

  • By no means contact one other participant’s ball
  • All the time mark your ball with a pen so you’ll be able to establish it and never play the fallacious ball
  • There isn’t a penalty in the event you by chance hit a shot throughout your observe swings and the ball strikes
  • All the time verify your golf ball so that you don’t play the fallacious ball throughout the spherical 
  • Should you hit within the water, double-check the penalty space coloration to determine lateral aid or different drop choices
  • Hit a provisional ball if assume it’s misplaced or OB (that is correct etiquette to maintain u tempo of play)

Additionally, be certain that to verify if it’s match play or stroke play and the foundations change. Should you nonetheless need some extra assist, be certain that to purchase different gear just like the guidelines of golf pocket information in your bag. That is a simple reference that may assist you throughout a rule’s scenario.