The Golf Rules section on About.com includes the full Rules of Golf, which you'll find below, along with FAQs about frequently misunderstood rulings, a rules forum where you can post questions to experts, the rules in plain English, plus more info about the guidelines for playing golf.
The Official Rules of Golf are kept, updated and published jointly by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St.
Update:Coming Rule 14-1b (ban on anchoring) and what it affects
Original Rules of Golf from 1744
The first written rules of golf appeared in 1744, and there were 13 of them. Here's what the original golf rules said.
Golf Rules at a Glance
Here we offer a quick introduction to the Official Rules of Golf, breaking down each rule into a few key points, written in plain English. If you're new to golf, you can get a quick grasp of the important concepts in the rules; if you're a veteran golfer, this feature is a good refresher.
The Full Rules of Golf
The Official Rules of Golf appear here courtesy of the USGA. These golf rules are used with permission of the USGA, and may not be duplicated or reprinted without the express permission of the USGA. On to the rulebook:
Etiquette - Behavior on the Course
Official Definitions from the Rules of Golf
Rule 1: The Game
Rule 2: Match Play
Rule 3: Stroke Play
Clubs and the Ball
Rule 4: Clubs
Rule 5: The Ball
Rule 6: The Player
Rule 7: Practice
Rule 8: Advice; Indicating Line of Play
Rule 9: Information as to Strokes Taken
Order of Play
Rule 10: Order of Play
Rule 11: Teeing Ground
Playing the Ball
Rule 12: Searching for and Identifying Ball
Rule 13: Ball Played as It Lies
Rule 14: Striking the Ball
Rule 15: Wrong Ball; Substituted Ball
The Putting Green
Rule 16: The Putting Green
Rule 17: The Flagstick
Ball Moved, Deflected or Stopped
Rule 18: Ball at Rest Moved
Rule 19: Ball in Motion, Deflected or Stopped
Relief Situations and Procedures
Rule 20: Lifting, Dropping and Placing; Playing from Wrong Place
Rule 21: Cleaning Ball
Rule 22: Ball Interfering with or Assisting Play
Rule 23: Loose Impediments
Rule 24: Obstructions
Rule 25: Abnormal Ground Conditions, Embedded Ball and Wrong Putting Green
Rule 26: Water Hazards (Including Lateral Water Hazards)
Rule 27: Ball Lost or Out of Bounds; Provisional Ball
Rule 28: Ball Unplayable
Other Forms of Play
Rule 29: Threesomes and Foursomes
Rule 30: Three-Ball, Best Ball and Four-Ball Match Play
Rule 31: Four-Ball Stroke Play
Rule 32: Bogey, Par and Stableford Competitions
Rule 33: The Committee
Rule 34: Disputes and Decisions
Rules of Amateur Status
USGA Policy on Gambling
Note: The golf rules reprinted here do not include the Appendices from the Official Rules of Golf. For the Appendices, please visit the USGA Web site or the R&A Web site and navigate to the Rules section.
More Golf Rules Resources
Rules FAQ: What's the Ruling?
Golfers often encounter sticky situations in which the proper way to proceed under the rules isn't always clear. These FAQs take a look at such situations and explain the rulings. A few examples:
- Does a whiff count as a stroke?
- I accidentally hit the ball with a practice swing - is that a stroke?
- Do I get a free drop out of a fairway divot?
- My ball is stuck in a tree - what are my options?
- Should rakes be left inside or outside bunkers?
- What do the different colors of stakes and lines on a golf course mean?
- I found the ball my opponent is search for - do I have to tell him?
- What's the ruling when one golf ball hits another?
Check out the full Golf Rules FAQ for many, many more.
Golf Cheating: Lowdown on the Game's Lowlifes
Better hope you're not on this list! Here are the most common types of golf cheats we encounter on the course. Alas, they are all too familiar.
This primer on golf etiquette covers the basics on the proper way to conduct onself on a golf course. And it's not just about manners, good golf etiquette helps promote a good pace of place as well as safety on the golf course.
Poll: How strictly do you adhere to the Rules of Golf in friendly rounds? (click your choice to cast vote)
1) Very strict - I always play by the book
2) I try to play by the Rules, but I'm not fanatical about it
3) Depends on who I'm playing with
4) Rules? What rules?
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