Learn How to Find a Few
Basic Golf Rules Quickly!


Knowing a few basic golf rules can help you save your sanity and a few strokes!!

Learning how to navigate your golf rule book can be very helpful in getting to know a few golf rules, and being able to find a rule when you need to.

I would strongly suggest obtaining a copy of the latest golf rule book 2008-2011(it’s free) from your local golf club or the amateur governing body for golf in your area/country and referring to it as you read this article.

Most golfers don’t know basic golf rules, nor how to find the answer in the golf rule book when they have an issue or infringement.

If you don't won't to learn the basic golf rules then get this book, it has questions and answers on many situations. 999 Questions on the Rules of Golf

or get this very useful Quick Reference Guide with over 1 million copies already sold.


The official rules of golf (2008-2011/ R &A edition) shows you how to use the rule book effectively. Read the 2 pages and the following section on “A quick Guide to the General Rules of golf”. This gives you an understanding of some basic golf rules.

Looking at pages 4 and 5 indicates that the golf rule book is laid out like a game of golf!! Let me explain..

Rules 1 to 3 explains the different formats of the game of golf.

Rules 4 and 5, your equipment (clubs) and the ball you are using is a conforming golf ball.

Rules 6 to 9 gives the responsibilities you have before you play on the course.

Rule 10, the order of play in the 2 different formats of golf.

Rule 11, the teeing ground (or tee box as we sometimes refer to it) where you tee off.

Rules 12 to 15 covers the rules from the teeing ground to the putting green, where different rules apply.

Rule 16 and 17 cover the rules governing the putting green and flag stick

It is important to note that the rules of golf are governed by two main bodies only, namely, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club St Andrews, and the United States Golf Association. These are more commonly known as the R & A and the USGA.



Becoming familiar with the index at the back of the rules book is going to help you locate the rule and help you to identify if it was a player, caddie, or who is involved.Where you breached a rule, eg. the putting green, teeing ground, etc..

Make sure you read the “definition” of the correct rule first before continuing to read the relevant rule. You can identify the definitions easily because they are written in italics.

Hint: Knowing the definitions in the front of the golf rule book will help you to use the book much more effectively, and quickly become familiar with some of the basic golf rules.

As an example we will take look at a “Definition”.

The definition of “through the green” is often a confusing part to understand in the golf rules. The rule book says that through the green is the whole area of the golf course with the of tee box and putting green of the hole being played and all hazards ie.lateral and water hazards, and bunkers.

The rules themselves tell you the definition, and what procedure you need to take and the penalty involved.

Lets look at an infringement that you or your partner has made and find the answer in the rule book.

You hit your shot onto the green and the ball goes into the hole but it does not go all the way in, instead it rests between the flagstick and the side of the hole. Your partner walks up to the hole and pulls the flagstick out but instead of the ball dropping all the way in to the hole it comes out and comes to rest on the side of the hole. You claim that the ball was holed out with the last stroke. What is the rule.

Now firstly, you go to your index at the back of the golf rule book. What do you look for?

Ok, so firstly, the infringement was on the green, secondly it involved the flagstick. So we look in the index for “flagstick” (Read the definition first), now proceed to rule 17-4 to get your answer and read the whole rule completely.

You will notice how concise and clearly the rules are written and every rule will make mention of the following words, may, should, must, a ball or The ball. Check at the beginning of your golf rule book under the heading “ how to use the rule book” on how these words are used and in what context they are used.

The golf rule book is divided into 3 main sections: namely, etiquette, definitions, and Rules of play.

Sometimes you will not find your answer in the official rules of golf book, you will then have to look up the answer in the rules of golf decisions book. This book is a compilation of decisions made on infringements of the rules that are additional to the official rules of golf compiled by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club rules committee. Most on course PGA Professionals will have a copy.

Here is another excellent resource to animated versions of the basic golf rules, see the Golf Rules in action.

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