Golf etiquette and golf rules are the soul of golf. Golf rules unite golfers of all standards, who play by the rule, and this is reflected in the polite manner and honesty in their golf etiquette. Although golf is all about swings, shots, and putts, the sport would not be what it is without the etiquette and the rules, the essence of golfing success. Golf requires only a few simple rules to guide the players, and these rules are simple and easily understood by anyone who has once sen the game, because the spirit of the game is its own referee
Golf has always been regarded as a gentleman’s game. Golf etiquette is the manner, honesty, and sense of politeness with which you play your game.
Here are some of the most basic examples of good golf etiquette on the green, and most of them reflect courtesy and your personality:
· Golf etiquette requires you to be properly attired. Clothes may not make the man, but they certainly make the golfer, and no well-established player would come to the links improperly dressed.
· Golf etiquette tells you not to bring a cell phone onto a golf course for the obvious reason that it may be disturbing to other players.
· Walking on another golfer’s line (the route which the ball will travel from where it stopped to the hole) is not golf etiquette. Don’t step on it. Step over it. Better, walk around it. And that is golf etiquette.
· Golf etiquette is not dragging your feet on the green, especially when wearing metal spikes.
· Golf etiquette requires you always to keep a ball marker or coin in your pocket to mark (putting behind your ball) your ball’s spot on the green.
· According to golf etiquette, you should pay careful attention to local rules, local notices regulating the movement of golf carts, and you adhere to local dress codes.
· You must ensure that no one could be injured by the club, ball or any other object prior to playing a stroke or making a practice swing. Do not play until players in front are out of range. You must always shout “Fore!” when you hit a ball towards other golfers. This is golf etiquette!
· You must always play, without delay, by keeping up with the group in front, not just ahead of the group behind. You must allow faster players to play through. If you believe your ball may be lost, to save time, you should play a provisional ball. When searching for a ball, you should signal the players behind to pass as soon as it becomes apparent to you that the ball will not be found easily. This is part of golf etiquette.
· You must place your trolley or bag at a point off the green, near to your route to the next tee – before you put. This is another example of golf etiquette.
· Golf etiquette requires you not to damage the putting green by putting down objects such as bags, or the flag-stick. You don’t damage the putting green by leaning on your putter. You don’t damage a hole by standing too close to it, when handling the flag-stick or when removing a ball from the hole. These are not examples of golf etiquette.
· You must leave the putting green as soon as the play of a hole has been completed. You fill your score when you get to the next tee, not whilst standing on the green. This thoughtful consideration is golf etiquette.
· You must properly re-place the flags-tick in the hole before leaving the putting green. This also is golf etiquette.
· You don’t talk or move whilst your partners are playing. Stand well back.
· You must always rake bunkers after use, repair pitch marks, divots, ball marks and spike damage.
· In taking your practice swings, you must avoid causing damage to the course, in particular the tees. This is another example of golf etiquette.
· Win or loose, golf etiquette says you must shake hands on the 18th hole, and then head for the 19th hole.
Always be aware of golf etiquette on the course. Golfers are good people, but even good people can have problem behavior at times. If you see flagrant disregard of golf etiquette, the issue become what to say and how to say it. Judgment and tact then become part of golf etiquette too. Remember, golf etiquette is golfing success. Golf etiquette makes the game enjoyable for everyone.
The rules of golf dated back as early as the 18th century when thirteen rules of play were drawn up in Scotland. Then, by the end of the 19th century, the United States Golf Association (USGA) began to adapt and adopt more golf rules for the U.S. players. Decade by decade, the golf rules and rulings grew, culminating in the currentthirty-four golf rules.
Golf is a game of only thirty-four rules but with a million variables. Therefore, an average golfer is not expected to know all the possible controversial scenarios in the game, although the United States Golf Association (USGA) regularly gives rules seminars around the country.
Rules and rulings in golf make the sport unique and fascinating. It is the only game in the world that is played without umpires, judges, or officials. Golf is a game of honor and integrity. As such, golfers are expected to be self-policing, even frequently calling penalties on themselves.
How easy to break a basic golf rule
You hit a ball from the teeing ground into the hole in the fewest possible strokes, that is, you hit the ball, find it, and hit again, and so forth until the ball gets into the hole. This is a most basic golf rule.
Simple and straightforward as it may be, this basic rule is often violated if you concede a putt in a stroke play competition. That is, iIf you let your opponent pick up his or her ball rather than making a very short putt isconceding a putt – and this is not an uncommon practice.
The basics of primary rules
Primarily, golf is playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole. Hence, some of the basic rules are just common sense:
Do nothing to affect the position or movement of any ball in play.
You must play the ball as it lies (where a golf ball rests on the golf course), without any modification of the course.
For any violation, you either lose the hole in match play or receive a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.
You cannot agree with anyone to disregard or compromise a rule or penalty.
Two or more people compete against each other on a hole-by-hole basis in a golf game is called match play.
You win a hole with fewer strokes than your opponent does. In a handicap match, winning the hole is based on the lower net score.
You win a match if you lead by more holes than the number of holds remaining to be played.
For any violation, you lose one-hole. If your penalty occurs after you have holed out (i.e. completed a hole of play) and your opponent has been left with a stroke for the half, the hole is halved.
Stroke play is a golf game in which the strokes taken by each player are counted and totaled by the end of the round.
You win the game with the fewest number of total strokes in the stipulated number of rounds. In a handicap match, winning is based on the lowest net score.
For any violation, the penalty is two-strokes.
You may use a golf club damaged (without compromising its playing characteristics) before a round, or have it repaired during the round.
You may replace the damaged golf club if it is unfit to play, the club has not been selected for play by someone else playing the course, or the replacement will not cause undue delay.
You are limited to fourteen-club maximum in a stipulated round. If you started with fewer than fourteen clubs, you may add, but no more than the fourteen maximum. You may share your clubs with your partner, but no more than a total of fourteen.
For any violation in match play, the penalty is one hole, and the maximum deduction is two-holes per round.
For any violation in stroke play, the penalty is two-strokes for the first two holes, and the maximum penalty is four-strokes per round.
You must not place anything on the golf ball to influence its playing characteristics.
If you think your ball is unfit for play, you may lift it after proper announcement and marking the ball’s position.
If the ball is unfit to play during that hole, you may replace it with another ball in the original ball’s position.
For any violation in match play, the penalty is one-hole.
For any violation in stroke play, the penalty is two-strokes.
You are responsible for knowing your handicap, your opponent’s handicap, and the holes where handicap strokes are to be given or received.
In match play, declaring a higher handicap than you are entitled to means disqualification, while declaring a lower handicap than you actually have implies you must play off your declared handicap.
In stroke play, you may be disqualified if no handicap is recorded or if your handicap claim is higher than your entitlement.
You may have a caddie assist you with your equipment and advice, but you are responsible for any violation your caddie may have, and you receive the applicable penalty.
During a round, you must always play promptly and continuously.You must not make a practice stroke duringa stipulated round.
You must not give advice to anyone other than your partner during a stipulated round. You may receive advice only from your partner or caddie.
Before your stroke, you may have the line of play (the direction you wish your ball to travel after hitting it) indicated to you, but any such mark must be removed prior to your stroke.During your stroke, you must not have anyone positioned on or close to the line of play. However, a flag-stick may be attended to or even held up to indicate the position of the hole during your stroke.
Likewise, you may not place any mark on putting green to indicate the line of put.
For any violation in match play, the penalty is one-hole.
For any violation in stroke play, the penalty is two-strokes.
Order of Play
The player with the honor (determined by draw) at the first teeing ground begins the first hole. Honor is golf etiquette for allowing the player with the lowest score at the end of each hole to tee off first on the next hole. If two players tie for low score on a hole, whoever held the honor on the previous hole before the tie goes first.
Honor also determines who plays first on shots between the tee and the hole. The player who is farthest from the hole plays first, the second farthest plays second, and so on until all players have holed out.
The teeing ground is the starting point for every hole of golf.You tee up your ball prior to hitting it by placing the ball in the teeing ground, although you may or may not use an actual tee.Except on the teeing ground, you may not use a tee anywhere on a golf course, not on a fairway, in a hazard (an obstacle on a golf course between the tee and the green, designed to challenge the player’s ability), or on a green.
Teeing the ball, you must place it on a tee, on the ground, on sand or some other natural substance. You may stand outside the teeing ground to play a ball within it.
Searching for the Ball
While searching for your ball anywhere on the golf course, you may not deliberately improve the lie (where a golf ball rests on the golf course) of the ball, the area of your intended swing, or the line of play (the direction you wish your ball to travel after hitting it).
If your ball is in a water hazard (an obstacle on a golf course between the tee and the green, designed to challenge the player’s ability), you may probe for it with a club. If you accidentally move a ball in an abnormal ground condition, there is no penalty, but the ball must be re-placed, otherwise any violation in match play will result in loss of one-hole or two-strokes in the case of stroke play.
Except in a hazard, you may lift a ball to identify it. If it is yours, you must re-place it.
Playing the Ball as It lies
You must play the ball as it lies (where a golf ball rests on the golf course). You must not attempt to improve the position or lie of your ball or your line of play (the direction you wish your ball to travel after hitting it).
You must not test the condition of the hazard (an obstacle on a golf course between the tee and the green, designed to challenge the player’s ability), touch the ground, water, or any loose impediment in the hazard prior to making a stroke.
Any violation will result in loss of one-hole in match play or a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.
Striking the Ball
You must strike the ball with the head of the club. You must not push, scrape, or spoon it.
During a stipulated round, you must not use any artificial means to enhance your stroke, although you may wear plain gloves, use resin powder, or wrap a towel around the grip of your club.
If you club strikes the ball more than once during the stroke, you must count the stroke, adding a penalty stroke, two strokes in all. You must play the ball as it lies (where a golf ball rests on the golf course).
If the ball is in motion after you have begun the stroke, or the ball is moving in water in a water hazard (an obstacle on a golf course between the tee and the green, designed to challenge the player’s ability), you may not be penalized for playing a moving ball.
Substituting the Ball / Striking the Wrong Ball
You must hole out with the same ball played from the teeing ground unless the ball is lost or damaged.
If you strike a wrong ball, you lose the hole in match play; and you receive a two-stroke penalty in strike play. However, if you strike a wrong ball in a hazard (an obstacle on a golf course between the tee and the green, designed to challenge the player’s ability), you are not penalized, and such strokes do not count towards your score.
The Putting Green
In general, you must not touch the line of putt.
You can lift, mark, clean, or re-place the ball on the putting green.
You may repair an old hole or damage to the putting green caused by any ball.
While playing a hole, you must not roll the ball or scrape the surface to test the putting green.
You must not stand astride or on the line of putt (the direction you wish your ball to travel after hitting it) while striking on the putting green. You should not make a stroke while another ball in still in motion.
If the ball is hanging over the hole, it is considered to be at rest and play must continue, unless the ball falls into the hole (within reasonable time for you to reach the hole with another additional ten seconds allowed), in which case you are deemed to have holed out with your last stroke.
The flag-stick is the pole with a banner on top that extends up from the hole of each green, helping golfers see where to aim.
Before your stroke, you may have someone attend the flag-stick, but not during or after the stroke (it might influence the movement of your ball).
If you ball strikes the flag-stick or anyone attending the flag-stick, you lose the hole in match play or receive a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.
Movement of the Ball at Rest
You must not touch or move your ball in play, except while you are addressing the ball before a stroke. However, if your ball moves after you have addressed it, you are deemed to have moved the ball, resulting in a penalty.
During a search for your ball, if your opponent touches or moves the ball, there is no penalty, but the ball must be re-placed. At any time other than search, if your opponent touches or moves your ball, your opponent receives a penalty.
If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball put in motion by a stroke, the moved ball must be re-placed, and the striking ball is played as it lies (where a golf ball rests on the golf course).
Moving Ball Deflected or Stopped
If your ball in motion is deflected or stopped by an external agency, there is no penalty, and you must play the ball as it lies (where a golf ball rests on the golf course). If your ball is not immediately recoverable, you may substitute another ball.
If your ball from the putting green is accidentally deflected or stopped by a moving external agency, the stroke is canceled and has to be re-played.
If your ball in motion after a stroke is deflected or stopped by a ball in play and at rest, there is no penalty. You must play the ball as it lies. However, in stroke play, if both balls were on the putting green before the stroke, you receive a penalty of two-strokes.
Marking and Lifting the Ball
You must mark (by placing a ball marker, a small coin behind the ball) your ball’s position before you lift it.
If you must re-place your ball, it must return to its original position.
You may lift your ball if, as it lies (where a golf ball rests on the golf course), it might help any other player or interfere with your play.
Golf etiquette and golf rules make the game a unique sport for everyone. Its voluntary standards of behavior that regulate conduct on the golf course makes the game enjoyable for everyone. Remember, you are at least temporarily an “owner of the course,” and therefore should exercise propriety concern for the grounds and for everyone on the course – the very essence of golf etiquette and golf rules