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Most Common Golf Rules
Learning the Common Golf Rules to Make Your Game Competitive
By: Dan Davis, PGA Professional Thousand Hills Branson Golf Resort
The game of golf is one of the most honorable sports played in our modern world. It is along the same lines as Tae Kwon Do or Karate where most participants would much rather lose a match as opposed to having to live with the thought of winning unfairly. Golf is also one of the only sports where infractions are most commonly called on and punished by the violator. For these reasons we as golfers want a firm understanding of the most common golf rules.
The golf rules that we follow here in the United States are maintained and issued by the United States Golf Association or U.S.G.A. The rulebook issued by the U.S.G.A. is approximately 180 pages long and includes an Appendix and the Rules of Amateur Status.
The Appendix is split into three separate parts. Appendix I consists of most common Local Rules that are provided so that golf rules committees of golf courses or different tournaments can invoke modifications to the standard rules of golf that will accommodate for special course maintenance, design or weather related issues. Appendix II refers to the design of golf clubs and the conformity of them. Appendix III refers to the conformity of the ball.
The standard U.S.G.A. rule book is not the only resource available for deciphering the most common golf rules. Golfers should always review the scorecard of a new golf course. A list of local rules is most always listed on a golf courses scorecard which will overturn a standard rule in most competitions. These rules might also be posted in the clubhouse or on a sign near the first tee. Being aware of all local rules may help your score as well as save you some embarrassment. For more complex rulings the U.S.G.A. provides a book called the “Decisions On the Rules of Golf”. There are also simplistic cartoon versions designed for children and you can also download the rules of golf to your smart phone.
No matter what source is used in educating yourself on the most common rules of golf, it will be a lifelong venture as the rules are slightly modified or redefined almost every year. Once you have a clear understanding on some of the most common rules and how to find them in the rulebook you will find that most of the time this basic knowledge will benefit your score more than penalize it.
Learn how to handle water hazard rules and regulations.
Did that last shot hook more than you wanted? Learn the out of bounds golf rule and what to do when you lose a ball.
Learn Golf Etiquette to make your day (and others!) on the greens smoother & more enjoyable.
Finally, make sure your equipment is within spec with our Golf Equipment Rules article.
For more information on the most common golf rules, and how to interpret them, feel free to return to this page as more articles are put up or contact Dan Davis, PGA Professional at Thousand Hills Branson Golf Course.