Basic golf rules for beginners (and those who forgot)

Golf Rules You Should Know

The more I play golf the more I realize that golf is more about the people who
play than most anything else.
A great example of this is simply to watch how people interpret the rules.
Some are rigid and know every rule.  They follow them and they fully expect you to
follow them as well.
Others think the rules of golf are more like guidelines, meant to be followed on
most, but not all days.
Me, I will play with either type of golfer . . . as long as you tell me in advance.

I have compiled a selection of the rules I think you will see most often.
If you are serious about rules, remember, I am not the USGA, so don’t quote me as
the rule book.
These rules will help you when you are in a situation and the following question
passes through your head.
“I wonder what the rule is here.”  Beginners and even golfers who have played for years need to be aware of the basics of rules even if you aren’t playing tournaments or for money.
Enjoy — and don’t argue.


You hit your ball out of bounds.
Out of bounds is marked by white stakes.  You’ll know them.  In order to be out of
bounds you have to be fully out.  Any part is inside the stakes, you’re in.
If you aren’t sure you are out of bounds (like when you are still on the tee box)
you can hit a provisional.  If the original is out of bounds, play the provisional
where it lays, if not, pick up the provisional and play the original.
If you are out of bounds you have to play “stroke and distance”.  Darn.  You must
play the ball from the spot where you originally hit (distance) and take a one stroke
penalty (stroke).    Oh, and if your ball is laying up against the white stake but in
bounds you have to play it where it lies.


Basics of your ball is in water.
Here you are looking at yellow stakes or red stakes.  The difference?  Red is a
lateral water hazard.
If you are in water with yellow stakes, you can hit a second ball and add a penalty
stroke.  Or you can locate where the ball entered the water and drop a ball anywhere
at that point as far away from the hole as you choose.  Then add a stroke.
For lateral water hazard make a note where the ball crossed the red stakes, and you
can drop the ball two club lengths on either side of the water.  No closer to the
hole.  Add a penalty stroke.
You can play the shot from within the hazard without a penalty but beware, this is
not for the faint of heart.  You run the risk of not getting the ball out.


Some General Rules Beginners Might Wonder About.
If your ball is on a cart path,(hopefully you got a few extra yards from it) you can
drop it onto grass on either side of the path, as long as the path doesn’t interfere
with your feet or ball.  But you can only drop within ONE club length of the path. No
penalty stroke and no closer to the hole.
If your ball is lost!  Again, darnit.  First you have only five minutes to search.
The clock starts when YOU start to search.  You’ll feel pressure from your partners
and the Marshall if you elect to use this rule these days.  If you can’t find it, you
have a stroke and distance penalty awaiting you.  If you think the ball might be
lost, you can hit a provisional ball.  You must hit your first ball if found.  This
is a terrible feeling when you hit a boomer provisional and your first ball is found
beside a tree trunk.
If your ball falls off the tee, even if you touch it, you can replace it without a
If your ball rolls into a pile of leaves that are piled for removal, you can get
relief and move the ball.  If the ball rolls under a leaf from a tree, you can move
the leaf BUT NOT THE BALL.


Which leads to what happens when your ball is interfered with by nature.
What you do is based on where you are.
If you are on the green you can move any loose impediment any way you want. You can
move the ball and replace in order to do so with out a penalty.
In a sand bunker or water hazard you cannot move any loose impediment.
On the fairway or rough sand and dirt can’t be moved, but tree parts can be moved as
long as your ball doesn’t move.  Cost you a stroke if it does.


There’s lots more but these are the basics.


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