The official rules of golf include a basic set of rules and methods by which the game of golf is to be played. They are collectively administered and written by the U.S. Golf Association and The Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews. These rules are designed to promote and enable the players to participate in a game that is fair and consistent. In essence, these rules help to ensure that all the players are playing a fair game.
Here are Some Important Golf Rules You Should Know
Stroke play or stroke count
The first of these elements is called stroke play or stroke count. This refers to the total number of strokes in which a golfer takes the club throughout a round of golf. Each player on the course must begin every round by counting up one stroke. This rule, previously called the “five-minute rule”, was introduced in the 1970s in an effort to reduce the length of the matches in high handicap golf competitions.
Par three-hole rules and the rules governing the tee
The second element is that the golf rules that apply at each hole on the golf course. These include the par three-hole rules, plus the rules governing the tee. The par three hole includes the out of bounds range, the fairway and the putt.
The fairway is the area that includes all grass and some dirt areas, such as the inside of the fairway, along with the out of bounds area, such as the side of the fairway. The putt is the object of the game and must be hit precisely out of the grass, dirt, or other out-of-bounds area. These are the only rules that apply to each hole on the golf course.
Water hazard rule
The third rule is the water hazard rule. This is intended to ensure that players are not permitted to use water or any kind of container carrying water into a golf course. Previously, if a player wanted to carry water from a golf course, he had to carry it to the fairway or putting area and then onto the golf course. This rule has been changed to discourage “water hogging” by players, which often happens in the springtime when it is more convenient for many people to water their lawns and gardens.
The fourth rule is the no-cut rule. It states that you may not cut your golf ball during a round of golf. Cutting your golf ball means that you cannot chip in your approach shot, nor are you allowed to take a divot while in the middle of your approach shot.
In addition, if your ball does not make it to the hole on your out of bounds shot, you are not allowed to re-enter the game. Cutting your golf ball is considered cheating and can result in you being eliminated from the tournament.
Mandatory flagstick procedure
The fifth rule is the mandatory flagstick procedure. Before each hole, the player is required to stand behind his putter with his right hand (right for right-handed golfers, left for left-handed golfers). The flagstick is then brought down to the golf ball. This action will count as one of the two shots that count toward your handicap. After this, the putter is brought back up to the tee, and the flagstick is extended and then taken away.
The sixth rule is a no-putt rule, which is not a local rule but rather a rule of the game that is adopted by the US Open or USPGA. This rule states that when a golfer approaches a ball that is clearly out of bounds, he is not allowed to make a stroke with the putt. This will also prevent a stroke from being made with a second putt that would have cleared the boundary.
Ways to measure the distance
Finally, one of the most important rule changes involves the use of distance measuring devices. Before, you were only allowed to measure the distance between your ball and the hole. This was changed in the 2021 Rules. Now you are allowed to use a yardstick, a magnetic wand, and/or a rangefinder to determine the distance between any two points on the golf course. These new rule changes have been incorporated into the USGA Professional Golf Rules.