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The number one golf rules are to play fair. Even on the back cover of the rule book, it states to:
- play the course as you find it
- play the course as it lies and
- if you can’t do either, do what is fair
Fairness is the most important key to golf. There will be occasions when playing golf that you would be tempted to cheat. In situations when standing out in the woods and your ball is right behind a tree, the temptation to kick the ball over a few feet to get a better shot. Don’t do it even if nobody is watching you! because golf is a game of fairness and conscience. The game will be more rewarding if you always play by the rules and play fair.
As a beginner in the game of golf, it’s always a good idea to read the local rules on the scorecard. These will give you guidelines that are specific to that course.
The official rules of golf in the US are governed by the United States Golf Association (USGA) some basic rules to keep in mind when playing golf are:
BASIC GOLF RULES
1. The golf ball must be played where it lies unless there is a rule that allows you to move it.
2. The course of the golf can not be changed to gain an advantage unless there is a rule that allows for a specific change.
3. Should your golf ball is in a water hazard or a bunker, your golf club cannot touch the ground or water prior to your actual swing. If it does, then you must take a penalty stroke.
4. If you accidentally or knowingly play the wrong golf ball (oops!), then you’ll get a two-stroke penalty.
5. While on the green, you may mark and lift your ball to clean it or get it out of another golfer’s way.
6. Be careful when putting, because the ball must not touch the flag. If the golf ball does hit the flag, it is a two-stroke penalty.
7. On the off chance that you lose the ball in a water risk, you can fail behind the danger and in accordance with the golf hole. You should likewise take a penalty stroke.
8. A player can take a penalty stroke and then replay the shot when you lose the ball out of bound.
9. At any time if a player’s ball is unplayable, you may take a penalty stroke and then drop the golf ball behind where the ball was and in line with the hole or drop the golf ball within two club-lengths.
10. You are only allowed a maximum of 14 clubs in your golf bag.
11. Golfers must tee off behind and between the tee markers but Never in front of the tee markers.
First known Golf Rules
The first known Rules of Golf were drafted by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in March 1744, which consisted of only 13 golf rules as stated below:
- You must Tee your Ball within a Club’s length of the Hole.
- Your Tee must be upon the Ground.
- You cannot change the Ball which you Strike off the Tee.
- You are not to remove Stones, Bones or any Break Club, for the sake of playing your Ball, Except upon the fair Green within a Club’s length of your Ball.
- If your Ball comes among water or any watery filth, you are at liberty to take out your Ball & bringing it behind the hazard and Teeing it, you may play it with any Club and allow your Adversary a Stroke for so getting out your Ball.
- On the event that your Balls be found anywhere touching one another, You are to lift the first Ball, till you play the last.
- At Holling, you are to play your Ball honestly for the Hole, and not to play upon your Adversary’s Ball, not lying in your way to the Hole.
- If you should lose your Ball, by its being taken up, or any other way, you are to go back to the Spot, where you struck last, & drop another Ball, And allow your adversary a Stroke for the misfortune.
- No man at Holling his Ball is to be allowed, to mark his way to the Hole with his Club, or anything else.
- In the event of the play, if the Ball is stoped by any Person, Horse, Dog or anything else, The Ball so stoped will be played where it lies.
- When you draw your Club in Order to Strike, & proceed so far in the Stroke as to be bringing down your Club; at that point, if your Club breaks, in any way, it will be Accounted a Stroke.
- He whose Ball lyes farthest from the Hole is obliged to play first.
- Neither Trench, Ditch or Dyke, made for the preservation of the Links, nor the Scholar’s Holes, or the Soldier’s Lines, Shall be accounted a Hazard; But the Ball is to be taken out and played with any Iron Club.
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In addition to these golf rules, golfers also need to adhere to the etiquette of golf. That is; Fixing divots, not hitting into other players for safety, yelling “fore” if you do, being quiet while a golfer is hitting the ball, and playing at a good rate are just a few rules of the etiquette of golf that make the game more enjoyable for all.