13 Fundamental Rules of Golf

There are numerous individuals who set out on playing golf yet don’t generally attempt to comprehend the tenets or the hitting the golfing terms utilized.

It’s great to know the fundamental principles previously a round of golf. In golf a ball is stroked by utilizing a club on a region called “teeing ground”.

fundamental rules of golf

Loving rules and policy of the game is a major habit of golfers. You will find golfers getting into heated arguments and carrying a rule book in their pockets in case they need to take the aid of the law to argue their case anytime they are accused of doing wrong.

Now most golfers are not like that. Despite that, we all try to stick to the rules and do our best not to break any one of them.


Fundamental Rules of Golf

The official rule book is pretty lengthy; numbering at 100 pages and with so much information that reading through each and every rule will put you to sleep out of sheer boredom.

So we’ve outlined the most critical ones to guarantee you remain mistake-free on the golf course. Here are the general formulas for stroke play.

Equipment of Golf

There are certain limits and rules to maintain that have to deal with your gears. Learning and following them on the course is obvious.


14 is the limit and the maximum number of clubs you are allowed to carry in your golf bag. If you have an extra one in your bag, make sure to leave it in the car, otherwise you will face problems and unnecessary complications when you are about to start a round.

If you have more than 14 clubs in your bag, you will face penalty strokes for every round of the game.


You must always use the same ball during a hole. You are allowed to get a different ball once you finish a hole, but not right in the middle of one.
Of course there is an exception to this rule which can only apply whenever you lose the ball. When that happens, you can get a new one.

Teeing Ground/Tee Box

The tee markers create an invisible line, and you can only tee the ball behind this virtual line. This line is your boundary. You can tee from any point behind the line in between the two markers.

At most, you can tee it back from a distance of two drivers behind the line. This means that if the length of your driver is 50 inches, the maximum you can tee is 100 inches behind the line. However, you must never cross the line or tee from a point lying in front of the line.

Don’t worry about the ball falling off the tee. If ever that happens, it would not be counted as a shot. Your friend might make a comment saying “one” anytime the ball falls off the tee. It can be annoying but also really funny if you see it happens to your friend.

Although the ball falling off the tee does not get counted as a shot, if you make a swing-and-miss, that would count as a shot.

During a swing-and-miss, the swing could create a slight breeze of wind which pushes the ball off the perch. In such a situation, you must act quickly and make a shot while the ball is falling to the ground.

The order in which the players make their tee shots depends on the score after the end of the previous hole. It starts with the lowest scorer and then rotates all the way to the top scorer.

In ready play golf, things are a bit different. Order of play in that game is decided by readiness. Whoever’s ready goes first and then the next person who’s ready goes next and so on and so forth.

Rules of Play During a Hole

Rules are important, and if you don’t play by them, you won’t be able to reach anywhere. Golf is a gentleman’s sport and the more you familiarize yourself with the rules, better the chances becomes of you being a star. Let’s have a look.

No Moving of the Ball

You have to play the ball from where you last left it. You cannot move the ball even an inch by kicking or handling it. You have to leave it where it is, and then play the next shot from there.

No Tampering of the Lie

You are not allowed to improve the lie of the ball by using means such as pressing too hard on the soil with your club or making the ground flatter using your foot. This is a rule that is frequently broken by a lot of golfers to give themselves the advantage of a better lie.

Breaking off a Tree Branch

Another thing you are not allowed to do is to break a branch or a twig off a tree when your ball is positioned underneath it.

You might do this to give yourself more room to breathe and swing, but giving yourself such an advantage is not allowed. You have to play according to the given circumstances.

No Tampering of Soil

Bunker shots are the most challenging to play, and you might be tempted to make it easier for yourself by re-adjusting the soil around the ball. You might try to use the club to press on the sand to flatten it or rake the soil around the ball.

You cannot do this. You are also disallowed from putting your fingers in the sand to test it before making your shot.

No Grounding on Sand

In water hazards, there are some areas which are dry. If the ball ever falls into those areas, you can play out of there. The rules of bunker shots apply here as well.

That means you cannot use the club for grounding on the sand to improve the lie and you cannot make any contact with any grass during the backswing.

Likewise, you cannot use your fingers to scrutinize the soil or make any changes to the terrain by displacing rocks or stones lying there.

No Moving of the Ball

You cannot put anything before the ball for pointing nor have somebody remain before you to go for them. You can get sticks, stones, dead grass, leaves, quills rocks, pine needles or anything else lying around your ball but you must make sure not to move the ball.

No Using of Feet to Move Anything

You must only use your hands to move whatever’s lying there around the ball. You cannot use your feet to move the impediments or kick on the soil to change it.

Most normal exclusions incorporate the impact of ‘free hindrances’ – you can expel leaves, free twigs, litter – or ‘checks.

No Practice Swing on Ball

You are not allowed to make a practice swing on a golf ball when you are about to make a shot. You can hit anything else, a stone, an acorn or even swing at thin air; but you are not allowed to swing at a golf ball.

Player Arrangement/Sequence

The player who is standing further away from others should start the play. In a group of players who are completely new to the game, this is the right approach.

Now if you’re playing ready golf, there is no right order of play since the order depends on who’s ready. When playing ready golf, do not play while someone else who is much further from the ball is playing.

Hitting of the Ball

Only one strike is allowed when you hit the ball. Scooping is disallowed. Making a sweeping motion to move the ball, like you see in hockey, is not allowed either.

You can only hit a ball that is sitting tightly in a fixed position. A ball that is in motion must not be hit. The only exception to this is when the ball falls into water. In such a case where the ball cannot sit tightly in the same position, you have no option but to hit it that way.

Make sure to check which ball you are hitting. The ball you are hitting has to be yours, otherwise you will get a penalty for hitting someone else’s. The penalty is shot strokes.

On the Putting Greens

If you manage to get your ball to touch even a slightest inch of the green, that means your ball has entered the green. You can now mark the point where your ball landed and pick up the ball to clean it off dirt and accumulations.

Green and Putting

When you are on the green, you are allowed to remove stones, sand, rock, leaves and other such obstacles lying on the line. Generally, don’t contact the line of your putt. You can fix old ball blemishes on your line but not spikes or foot marks. Silly I know, yet that’s the rule.

You might be tempted to run your fingers through the soil to test the texture, to get a good read of the terrain and thus to help you decide better how to approach the game, unfortunately in a competitive game that is not allowed.

Other golfers might tell you that your marker is standing on their line and to therefore move it a few inches to the side. Comply with the request, but don’t forget to put the marker back in its original place before your turn comes up.

When placing the ball back where you put the marker, make sure to position it as close as you can to the original position.

Now if you’re a cheater, you might try to give yourself an advantage by placing the ball a few inches closer toward the hole. That’s bad golf ethics, and it can potentially ruin your reputation if you get caught in the act.

If your putt comes to a stop at the very edge of the hole, wait for about 10 seconds to see if it goes in. If not, consider that as another extra stroke to be made.

The Pole/Flag Stick

Off the green, there is no problem when your shot hits the pin. Make sure that there is no one touching or moving the flag.

Ensure the flag is out of the gap when your ball approaches the glass and you are on the green. Have somebody hold the stick and take it out for you before the ball arrives or take the stick out totally before your shot. In the event that the ball hits the stick while you’re on the green, you’ll be punished.

Talking to Different Players in Golf

Conversation is always the key, not only in relationships but also in the world of sport. Let’s discuss the kind of conversation you can have with a player.

Exchanging Golfing Advice

The only advice you can ask for from your caddy is about the hole and how to play it. You cannot ask them about the exact club they used, or to tell you how to make your putt and which particular club to use.

For a non-competitive social game, such hard-and-fast rules don’t apply and are therefore broken constantly.

You are allowed to hold the flag for another person. You can likewise request information that is open learning such as the location of the water hazards and the distance on a particular sprinkler.

Exchanging advice between partners is not allowed in a competitive game. It is only allowed between partners in betterball competitions.

Accidental Ball Movement

On the off chance that you or your accomplice in a better ball moves your ball deliberately of accidentally, include an extra shot and supplant the ball. In the event that you neglect to supplant it, include a 2 stroke punishment.

If ever the ball gets moved by accident, either by an animal or a person, you will receive no penalty for that. Deal with the situation by simply replacing the ball.

Consequently, when the ball gets removed from its position by the action of wind or water, you have no choice but to continue play from the new position of the ball. There’s no penalty but you have to adapt to the circumstances.

Dropping and Checking Balls off the Green

Okay, so this is a very important section in order to learn the basics. Keep on reading to find out why.

Playing In Green of Golf

When you have achieved the green, there are several key Standards of which you should know. When the ball stops on the putting surface you may stamp it with a coin or circle, lift and clean it however make sure to supplant in the careful spot. You may fix any pitch marks not simply yours, other harm.

For example, spike marks connected to the green yet not on your line of putt, a playing accomplice’s putt or an expansion of it, before the fulfillment of the gap. You can have the flagstick either gone consistently so far the ball must not strike it.

Penalty Drops

When dropping the ball, release it from the height position of your knee. Make sure the ball falls straight down without touching or making contact with your body or your club.

If the ball gets into a hazard after getting dropped, fetch the ball and make the drop again. Free the space you’re standing on from all forms of obstacles such as rocks or sticks for a smoother landing.

If the ball keeps falling into the hazard again and again, after two drops just find the point where the ball last landed and put the ball there.

Free Drops

You may drop far from the occasional water breaking into portion of the ground surface and isn’t marked as a hazard. No penalty will be charged.

You can drop the ball away from denoted as GIR – Ground under Fix. No penalty will be charged either.

You’re permitted to drop far from tunneling creature gaps. No penalty will be charged as well.

If the ball falls on the wrong green, you need to drop it outside the green a feet distance away from the boundary.

Dropping A Ball: How To Do It

When dropping the ball, release it from the height of your knee. Make sure the drop is straight and encounters no obstacles like your body or club.

If the ball goes into a hazard after you drop it, pick it up and make the drop again. Remove any obstacles that may be lying on the ground for a smoother drop.

If the ball continues to fall into the hazard multiple times, simply narrow down the point the ball landed in last and place the ball there.

Marking A Ball Outside The Green

If another player’s ball is interfering with your line, you can ask the player to remove the ball temporarily and put it back once you are done with your shot.

If the reverse happens and it’s your ball that is interfering with your opponent’s swing, do the same. If the ball is off the green, you are allowed to pick up the ball but not to clean it.


Man-made objects acting as obstacles on the ground such as can and bottles are considered to be movable obstructions, while sprinkler heads, cart tracks etc. are considered immovable obstructions.

You are allowed to move any type of immovable obstruction as long as your ball doesn’t get move along with it.

If there is an immovable obstruction blocking your swing line, tyou are allowed to pick the ball up and place it on the nearest convenient location. Some golf courses might forbid this.

Ball Out of Play

This can never be a good start. Listed are some things to keep in mind whenever that happens.

Water Hazards

Yellow stakes or painted boundary lines denote penalty areas. Water hazards on the sides are characterized by red stakes or red boundary lines.

If you want, you play from within the hazard or you can consider one of the following courses of actions;

  • Accept a penalty shot after dropping a ball at the exact spot where you played your previous shot.
  • Place the ball via a drop on the line extending from the hole to where you sent the ball on the hazard.
  • If it’s a red staked hazard i.e a lateral water hazard, drop the ball at a distance of twice the length of the club away from the edge of the hazard on the line that extends from the hole to the point on the hazard where you sent the ball.

Sometimes a water hazard may be dry and void of water. In that case, you have to approach it like you approach a bunker. The same rules and penalties that apply in bunker shots also work here.

Lost Balls and Out of Bounds

When you hit a shot that goes out of bounds, there might be a slight chance that you lost it and unable to retrieve it. To avoid wasting time looking for the ball, you can take another ball and declare it “provisional.” You hit the provisional ball and then go looking for the possibly-lost ball.

If you can’t find the first ball and unable to find it within 3 minutes, you have to declare it “lost” and then continue play with the provisional ball with a penalty stroke included.

Otherwise if you manage to successfully retrieve the first ball, you have the dual option of playing with either balls. If you choose to go with the first one, you have to play it from there without any penalty. If you want, you can continue playing with the provisional ball but with penalty included.

You have to mention to others in the game that you are playing with a provisional ball.

Meaning of Lost Ball

If you can’t retrieve the ball within 3 minutes, the ball has to be declared “lost.” The ball will also be considered lost if you declare it be lost before the 3 minutes are over.

Meaning of Beyond The Field of Play

When the whole ball lies outside the white line or stake line implying the too far out fringe.


If your ball winds up getting trapped under a bush or a tree from where you find it impossible to play the ball, you can make a penalty shot and do one of the following:

  • Look at the line that extends from the hole to your ball’s position and place a ball anywhere on that line. Now make your shot.
  • Drop the ball from your previous shot position and make your shot.
  • Drop the ball at a distance of twice the length of your club from where the ball is stuck and play it from there.

In the event that your ball has stopped in a position that you accept to be unplayable, you have three choices. Either hit another ball from the purpose of your past gave, drop a ball behind the unplayable lie (as far back as you wish keeping the first lie among you and the opening) or fail inside two club-lengths either side of the unplayable falsehood. Every alternative causes a one stroke punishment.

Maintain Tee Parameters

The most nerve-wrecking tee shot of a round is the first one. Nervousness and fear of making mistakes can make you forget the most fundamental rules such as the fact you must not cross the invisible line between the two markers. You can stand outside the line but the ball must be teed inside and behind the line.

Always remember that there is a penalty for teeing the ball outside the line, which is two-stroke penalty.

Avoid Playing the Wrong Ball in Golf

Sounds blindingly clear however except if you mark your ball before you begin, there’s a threat – with such huge numbers of golf balls also stepped – you may confuse yours with another player’s. Playing the wrong ball in match play could mean loss of hole in singles and will be a two strokes punishment in stroke play.

To maintain a strategic distance from such a punishment, kick it into high gear denoting your ball more plainly with unmistakable customized images.

Be that as it may, in case you’re uncertain the ball – in the unpleasant, for instance – is yours, tell you’re playing accomplices. Mark it cautiously with a tee peg, lift however don’t perfect it (just to distinguish it) and supplant in the indistinguishable spot you’re inside your rights.

No Chance to Get Over from Outside the Allotted Boundaries

For a golfer, especially a beginner, it is very important that they know or learn how to deal with out-of-bounds situations. When the ball flies over the boundary lines and into the penalty areas, the shot must be retaken from the same position with a different ball.

If you believe your overhit shot has gone out of bounds, it is good to declare a provisional ball and continue play with it. You have the option of searching for the ball if you want to avoid a penalty but there is a time limit. If the ball isn’t retrieved within 5 minutes, it has to be declared “lost.”

You have five minutes to look for it and if to be sure it is lost you spared profitable time proceeding with the temporary ball regardless of a one stroke punishment.

If the ball retrieval is successful, play has to be continued from the penalty area without any penalty.

Looking for Counsel

Golf is a social game but the competitiveness is there too. It’s because of this competitiveness we have all these great tournaments that are shown live on TV. Since golf is not a team game, the element of solitude is much stronger in golf. Therefore, it is a bad idea to discuss playing strategy with your opponents.

If you are part of a team, there are things you can discuss although there are prohibitions on that too. You can have a conversation with your opponents and discussions about rules but you cannot discuss strategy as that would be completely foolish.

You can ask them about the water hazard location or the sprinklers but you cannot ask them to help you decide which club you should use for your next shot. That is something you have to figure out on your own.

Meaning of Ball Striking

Every golf swing and strike has an element of technique in it. Without proper technique, most of your shots would end up being mishits. Regardless of this, rules play a part too in a golf swings.

For example, there are restrictions imposed on you during certain circumstances which deprive you of the freedom of hitting it the way you like to.

For instance, if you get the ball stuck in a difficult situation such as under a tree, you must make a proper stroke and not a tricky slice or spooning technique despite how difficult it is to make a stroke under those circumstances. If you do employ such techniques, you would receive a penalty of two strokes.

Keep Your Score Accurately

To ensure that your scores are accurate and to maintain the score’s integrity, you need to keep two scoreboards; one for yourself to hold, and the other at the hands of a playing partner or friend.

At the end of every round, swap scorecards. This way, you will have a better track of how the score is progressing and avoid any inaccuracies.

Make sure that the scores don’t end up inaccurate or lower as that might get you disqualified.

Our Final Thoughts

These are the basic rules for beginners in golf. Now it’s your turn to create yourself into an amazing golfer. Just try and follow the rules and make this work from your heart. Good luck to you!

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