Golfing rulebook: 12 Things Every Golfer Should Know

1. You may only have a maximum of 14 clubs in your bag when playing golf. Count your clubs before you start playing.

2. You must be at your starting tee on time (preferably about 10 minutes before tee-off), otherwise you may get a penalty or be disqualifed. Please tee up from the correct tee-markers and behind it.

3. Play the course as you find it and the ball as it lies! There are exceptions to this, but this is the most basic principle of how golf should be played. Mark your ball so that you can identify it on the course and never play a wrong ball.

4. If you accidentaly (or deliberately) move your ball or cause it to move anywhere on the course (except the p utting green) you get a one shot penalty and must replace the ball on the original spot before hitting it. If you do not replace it, the penalty is 2 shots as you will be playing from a wrong place then. (On the putting green, you can just replace your ball without a penalty.)

5. You can remove Loose Impediments (twigs, leaves, grass cutting, etc) anywhere on or off the course. BUT make sure your ball does not move in removing a Loose Impediment as you will then get a 1 stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced.

6. You can remove a Movable Obstruction (man-made object e.g. stake, tin, paper, etc) anywhere on or off the course if it interferes with your play or lie of the ball. If the ball should move when you remove a movable Obstruction, there is no penalty and you must replace the ball on its original spot.

7. You are entitled to free relief from any Abnormal Course Condition and Embedded ball situation. These conditions include marked or declared GUR areas, roads that are artificially surfaced, animal holes, temporary water and any area declared so by the club. You determine the nearest point where this situation does not interfere anymore (Nearest Point of Complete relief) and drop a ball according to the rules in the 1 club-lenght relief area. (There is NO such relief if you ball is in a penalty area -see 9 below.)

8. You may not improve the lie of the ball – see 3 above. This means that you can not e.g. smoothen the ground, take a branch away, move any immovable obstruction, etc. When in doubt as to whether you can do anything to better your chances of playing a good shot, then don’t do anything and play the ball as it lies!

9. When your ball has gone into a penalty area, you have the following options if you can not play the ball as it lies or it can not be found in the penalty area as it went into water:
Yellow staked area:
A: play Again from the spot where your previous shot was made. B: drop a ball Back on the line keeping the flag and the spot where the ball crossed into the penalty area in line.
Red staked area:
Both A and B available, plus:
C: drop a ball within 2 Club-lenghts from the spot where the ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area.

10. You can declare your ball Unplayable at any time during play (e.g. it is in a bush and you have no shot) You have 3 options available to you:
A: play Again from the spot where your previous shot was made
B: drop a ball Back on the line keeping the flag and the spot of the ball where it lies in line a C drop a ball within 2 Club-lenghts of the spot where the ball is lying. Penalty area in line.

11. You can not declare your ball lost! A ball is automatically lost if you can not find it on the course after searching for it for 3 minutes.
Your only option is then to go back to the place from where the previous shot was made and play a new ball from there. (Your original ball then out of play even if you then see it on the course.)

12. You can (and should, to save time) hit a provisional ball if you are uncertain whether the ball you just hit, may be lost outside a penalty area or may possibly be out of bounds. If you don’t find your ball within 3 minutes or establish that it has indeed gone out of bounds, your provisional ball will be in play and you can carry on playing it.There are many more Rules applicable to golf and a player should try and get familiar with the most important ones. The basic principle is that the ball will be in a certain area of the course (putting green, bunker, penalty area, etc) and the specific rules for that area will apply. Download the R&A app and use it as a quick reference guide should you encounter a problem. It is also important, before starting a round, to check the Local Rules applicable to the spesific golf club as this should also be applied when playing.