Golf rules and decisions

The United States Golf Association Golf Rules

It is not surprising that the majority of golfers find the rules of golf difficult to get to know and even more difficult to understand.
There are 34 rules, over 100 sections, over 100 subsections and over 2000 explanatory decisions, probably giving golf the most complicated rules of any sport.

Golf is a game in which a ball is struck with a club from a prepared area, known as the "teeing ground", across fairway and rough to a second prepared area, which has a hole in it, known as the "putting green".
The object of the game is to complete what is known as a hole by playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole on the putting green in the fewest possible number of strokes. A "round of golf' consists of playing 18 such holes.

There are basically two forms of play, one which is decided by holes won and lost (match play) and the other which is decided by the total number of strokes taken to complete the round (stroke play).


Etiquette covers both Courtesy and Priority on the Course as well as Care of the Course. Whilst the following points are not Rules as such they are an important part of the game.
  • Don't move, talk or stand close to a player making a stroke.
  • Don't play until the group in front is out of the way.
  • Always play without delay. Leave the putting green as soon as all players in your group have holed out.
  • Invite faster groups to play through.
  • Replace divots. Smooth footprints in bunkers.
  • Don't step on the line of another player's putt.
  • Don't drop clubs on the putting green.
  • Replace the flagstick carefully.