Golf Rules at a Glance

Beginner golfers and anyone wanting to learn more about the game of golf will find it helpful to review the rules of the game in a summarized briefing. The official golf rules are said to be roughly 100 pages in length. You would think a game of this nature would be easy to understand but there are so many regulations for different tournaments and games, you can easily find yourself getting confused, frustrated and overwhelmed to where playing the game can get more difficult. The following points help summarize a few areas to give clarity on elements you may want to pay closer attention to when on the course.

  • When you play the game the holes should be played in the order they appear, unless you have permission to do otherwise. If the course has 9 holes you would play 1 through 9 in order.
  • Match play is a game in which you play against another player, known as your opponent. When you are up more holes than plays that are left you are the winner.
  • Stroke play is different from match play. When a competitor has the lowest score upon completing rounds they are the winner. The ball should be played into the hole before moving on to the next hole.
  • When carrying golf clubs you may have up to 14 in your bag. You should not change balls while completing rounds on the course unless it is okay with competitors and opponents.
  • Be responsible as a player. Review rules and notices prior to playing given by officials. Make sure handicaps are correct. Be on time with tee times set and be ready when it is your time. Mark your ball to distinguish it from others and review how to properly mark them. You should sign your name upon completing scorecards for match play. Keep the pace moving while on the course
  • You can make practice shots before a match but not before an event. You can check with officials for clarification.
  • You should not give advice to your opponent or competitor. Your partner or caddie may provide playing advice. In match play you are expected to mention to your opponent strokes and penalties taken if they ask you.
  • The player with the lowest score on a hole, called the honour, has the right to play their ball first. If you are playing a hole, the player with the farthest ball play the next hole first.