The Rules of Golf

Welcome to the golf rules on The Golf Bug, this section of the site aims to provide you with an easy to use reference for the rules of golf as outlined by the R&A.

Overview of the Golf Rules

As with all sports golf has sets of rules to adhere to ensure all players enjoy a fair yet fun game. Golf is unique to many other sports as it has accompanying etiquette which are more unspoken protocol than solid rules.

If you are new to golf it can take a little time to become accustomed to conduct on the course. Rules and etiquette tend to vary slightly between courses as well.

The following article is a brief introduction to rules and etiquette common on most golf courses.

Basic Principles of Golf

There are three fundamental yet simple principles to remember when playing golf wherever you are. They are;

  • Take the course as you find it
  • Play each ball as it lies
  • And if you can't do either of the above, remember to do what's fair.

To understand what's fair in the game of golf you need to understand the rules. Over time the rules will become second nature as you begin to enjoy golf more.

There are two clear ways of playing golf.

  • Match Play is decided by the number of holes won and lost in a round.
  • Stroke Play is decided by the total number of strokes taken to complete the round.

Brief Etiquette Guide

Etiquette concerns both courtesy and priority whilst playing on the course as well as keeping the course in good condition. The following points are not rules but are considered as important conduct to uphold the game.

  • Avoid moving talking or standing close to players who are making strokes.
  • Don't start playing until the group ahead of you is finished.
  • Remember to always play without delay. Promptly leave the green as soon as every player in your group has holed out.
  • Allow faster groups to play through the course.
  • Replace any divots made on the course and smooth any footprints in bunkers.
  • Avoid stepping on the line of other player's putts.
  • Don't drop clubs on the putting green.
  • Replace all flagsticks with care.

If you want to know more about the etiquette of golf then play the video by Padraig Harrington below:

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Before Starting a Game

Bear the following points in mind before commencing a round of golf.

  • Bear the following points in mind before commencing a round of golf.
  • Take note of the course's local rules printed on your score card.
  • Put a mark or your initials on your ball to identify it. Many players use the same brands of ball and if you can't tell yours apart it's lost.
  • Prepare your set of clubs. You are usually allowed a maximum of 14 clubs.
  • While playing don't ask for tips or guidance from anyone except for your partner or caddie.
  • Likewise, don't offer advice to anyone except for your partner.
  • When playing a hole avoid playing practice strokes.

Whilst this section of the site allows you to browse the rules of golf you can order a copy of the rules directly from the Offical R & A website.

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Approach Shot

A shot which would have skipped across the green and into a lake had it not caught the top lip of the bunker and dropped in

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