Snapshot of Golf Rules

By: John Culotta

Did you know there are over five hundred pages in the official USGA rule book. Well instead of reading all five hundred pages, allow me to give you an overview.

Remember, the rules may not always be fair, but like your parents' rules - they're rigid. To keep the integrity of the game, rules must be adhered to.

First, let me explain a little history. In 1744, the Company of Gentlemen Golfers was established in Edinburgh and then codified the first rules of play which have been evolving ever since.

GOLF RULES

Tee Time - Remember to tee off either between or behind (up to two club-lengths) the tee-markers. Don't tee off in front of them.

Playing The Ball - Play the ball where it lies and don't try to make the course any better by moving, adjusting, fixing or bending and of the natural scenery (except when taking your stance or making your swing).

Ball Lost or Out of Bounds - If you lose your ball and can't find it after five minutes, you have to play another ball from the spot where the last shot was played and you lose one stroke.

Ball Interference - If you deflect or stop your ball in motion you've cost yourself two strokes. Accidents will happen, but you still pay the price. If a ball struck by you is interfered with by someone else, play it as it lies. If your ball is struck by another ball, there's not much you can do about that.

Ball At Rest Moved - If you move your ball after it's come to rest, you've cost yourself a stroke.

Obstructions - If they are in your way, It's allowable to move obstructions such as rakes, trash, leaves, etc. If an immovable obstruction, such as a water fountain, interferes with your stance or swing, you're allowed to drop the ball within one club-length of the nearest clear point that's not nearer the hole.

On The Green - After getting your ball on the green, remove the flagstick from the hole and replace it when all players have finished the hole. You can pick up and clean your ball on the green, provided you replace it exactly where it was.

NOT JUST THE RULES OF GOLF, BUT....

Use common sense - The idea here is just common sense courtesies. When it comes to attire, make it appropriate. Regarding noises, don't make loud noises. How about the trash on the course? Well, if you don't like your car filled with trash, then don't toss cans or bottles on the course. Oh, talking on your cell phone is kind of rude also. Just remember common sense courtesies are all about "doing onto others as you would have them do unto you".

Arrive on Time - Most courses are pretty busy so arrive on time.

Let Others Play Through - If you can't get through a hole or a shot in a reasonable amount of time, let those behind you play through.

Toss A Coin - Who plays first is usually decided by a coin toss, but you can be creative. Spin the beer bottle works for some.

Stand Clear - Don't get in the way of someone's shot. This is not only courteous but in the best interest of your safety. A one-pound clubhead moving at 100 miles per hour can easily turn your head into mush.

Replace Divots (also known as chunks of turf and earth scooped up during a swing) - This would include raking the sand trap after you're done making your bunker shot.

Do Not Launch a Club - Don't fling your club fifty yards when you miss that two foot putt. It may hit Johnny Cochran or someone else and you might find yourself in court.

Even though some can get pretty uptight on the course, having a great time out there should also be included when it comes to the rules of golf. After all, it's just a game.

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