USGA Rules Govern All Play: The rules of golf are published in the USGA The Rules of Golf book. Members must be familiar with the rules of the game and should carry a copy of The Rules of Golf with them during play. When competing in a golf tournament there is an obligation, even a responsibility – to the rest of the field to see the rules are followed completely.
The following are summaries of more common rules , which are no substitute for the rules published by USGA. See www.usga.org/rules.
Out of Bounds: (Definition pg. 14, Procedure Rule 27) If a ball is hit out of bounds, a player must replay the last stroke under a penalty of one shot. For example, if a player hits a ball out of bounds from the tee, the next stroke must be played again from the teeing ground and will be the third stroke. This is a stroke and distance penalty.
Lost Ball: (Rule 27) If a ball is lost, a player must replay the last stroke under a penalty of one shot. This is a stroke and distance penalty. A player has 5 minutes to search for his/her ball. If play is delayed while searching please allow players from behind to play through. If the original ball is found within the five minutes, it must be played.
Provisional Ball: (Rule 27) If a player thinks their ball is either lost or out of bounds, they should play a provisional ball. Announce your intention beforehand and play the ball until you reach the point where the original ball is likely to be. If the original ball is found (within 5 minutes) continue play with that ball. If not found, continue play with the provisional ball with a penalty of one stroke.
Embedded Ball: (Rule 25-2, App I Part A 4. a. & Part B 4.a.) A ball embedded in its own pitch mark anywhere on the course (except in a hazard) may be lifted cleaned and dropped as near as possible to where it lay, without penalty
Water Hazards: (Rule 26) Forward Water Hazards are marked with Yellow stakes and/or lines. and Lateral Water Hazards (Red stakes and lines).
If you cannot play a ball out of a water haszard as it lies, with a penalty of one stroke, options are as follows:
• Option 1: Drop a ball as near as possible from where the last shot was played.
• Option 2: On a line between the hole and the point at which the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, drop a ball form behind the hazard as far back as you like.
Additonal Options for Lateral (red) Water Hazards only:
• Option 3: Drop a ball within two club-lengths and no nearer to the hole from the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard.
• Option 4: Drop a ball on the opposite (lateral) margin of the hazard equidistant from the hole.
Hints: If you are getting relief from a Yellow stake Water Hazard and are not hitting the next shot over at least a small portion of the hazard, you are probably dropping incorrectly. You may only take a lateral drop from a Lateral Water Hazard (Red stakes).
Bridge over Water Hazards: (Rule 24-3b-iii) A bridge is an obstruction and is considered part of the hazard, there is no free relief from an obstruction in a water hazard. If you choose to play the ball off the bridge you may ground the club; otherwise drop the ball under penalty according to the options for water hazards.
Identifying a Ball in Hazard and Playing the Wrong Ball:
(Rules 12-2 and 15-3) A golfer may lift a ball for identification in a bunker or water hazard. There will be a two-stroke penalty for playing a wrong ball from a hazard. In match play, the penalty will be loss of hole.nder penalty according to the options for water hazards.
Ball Comes To Rest On The Wrong Green: (Rule 25-3) A player must not play a ball resting on a putting green other than that of the hole being played. The ball must be dropped, without penalty, within one club-length of the nearest point of relief that is not on a putting green or in a hazard or closer to the hole. The ball may be cleaned when lifted.
Immovable Obstructions: Except in a water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 24-2), a player may obtain relief from an immovable obstruction with no penalty. Drop the ball within one club length of the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole. There is no line of sight relief from an immovable obstruction. (see Local Rules - Maintenance Area)
Irrigation Areas on the Course: (Rule 24-2) May drop ball one club length, from nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole - without penalty.
Casual Water on the Course: (Rule 25): Player may take relief for swing and stance without penalty. One club length from nearest point of relief , no nearer the hole. Sand Bunker with casual water: must drop ball in the sand.
Relief from Unplayable Lie: (Rule 28) The penalty is one stroke and the player has three options:
• Option 1: Drop a ball within two club lengths of where the ball lies, no nearer the hole.
• Option 2: Drop a ball keeping the point of the original lie between the ball to be dropped and the hole. There is no limit as to how far back you can go.
• Option 3: Drop a ball as near as possible to the spot where the previous stroke was played.
Stones in Bunkers: (Rule 24-1, App. I Part A 5. b. & Part B 5) Stones are, by definition, loose impediments. When stones in bunkers may represent a danger to players, our local rule states stones in bunkers are movable obstructions. If the ball moves as a direct result of removing the stone, there is no penalty and the ball is replaced in the original spot. However, when a player’s ball is in a hazard other than a bunker, a stone lying in or touching the hazard may not be touched or moved.
Lightning: (Rule 6-8 and App. I-5) If the siren sounds for an approaching storm, players must cease play immediately and seek shelter. Play may not begin again until an all clear is given. For your safety, you do not have the option of completing the hole and the penalty for continuing play is disqualification. If, in a player’s judgment, they are in danger from an electrical storm and no siren has sounded, they may discontinue play and seek shelter. Play may continue once the danger has passed. The rules of golf provide for this option and no penalty may be imposed on the player.