BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR ROUND
- Read the Local Rules on the score card.
- Put an identification mark on your ball. If you can't identify your ball, it's lost.
- You are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs.
- During the round, don't ask for ‘advice’ from anyone except your partner or caddie. Don't give advice to anyone except your partner.
PLAYING THE BALL
- Play the ball as it lies, don't improve your lie, the area of your intended swing or your line of play by moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing except in fairly taking your stance or making your swing. If your ball lies in a bunker or a water hazard don't touch the ground in the bunker, or the
ground, or water in the water hazard, before your downswing.
- Playing a wrong ball (except in a hazard) - in match play you lose the hole. In stroke play you incur a two-stroke penalty and you must then play the correct ball.
ON THE PUTTING GREEN
- You may repair ball marks and old hole plugs on the line of your putt but not any other damage, including spike marks.
- You may mark, lift and clean your ball on the putting green but always replace it on the exact spot.
Ball played from putting green strikes flagstick - in match play you lose the hole; in stroke play you incur a two-stroke penalty.
LIFTING, DROPPING AND PLACING THE BALL
- If a lifted ball is to be replaced its position must be marked. If a ball is to be dropped or placed in any other position (e.g. taking relief from GUR, etc.) it is recommended that the ball’s original position be marked.
- When dropping, stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arm's length and drop it within two club-lengths of where the ball lies, not nearer the hole.
LOST BALL OR OUT OF BOUNDS
- Check the Local Rules on the score card to identify the boundaries of the course. If your ball is lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds you must play another ball from the spot where the last shot was played under penalty of one stroke i.e. stroke and distance. You are allowed 5 minutes to search for a ball, after which if it is not found or identified it is lost. If, after playing a shot, you think your ball may be lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds you may play a ‘provisional ball’. You must state that it is a provisional ball and play it before you go forward to search for the original
ball. If the original ball is lost or out of bounds you must continue with the provisional ball under penalty of one stroke. If the original ball is not lost or out of bounds, you must continue play of the hole with it and the provisional ball must be abandoned.
- Under a penalty of one stroke, you may drop a ball behind the hazard as far back as you wish keeping the point of entry in line with the flag or you may play from where you played the original shot.
WATER HAZARDS (yellow stakes)
- Ball in water hazard (yellow stakes and/or lines) - play the ball as it lies or, under penalty of one stroke,
a) play again from where you hit the ball into the hazard, or
b) drop any distance behind the water hazard keeping a straight line between the hole, the point where the ball last crossed the margin on the water hazard and the spot on which the ball is dropped.
LATERAL WATER HAZARDS (red stakes)
- Under a penalty of 1 stroke you have 4 options.
a) drop the ball within 2 club lengths to the side where the ball entered the hazard, not nearer the hole.
b) drop the ball behind the hazard as far as you wish keeping the point of entry in line with the flag.
c) play another ball from your original position.
d) drop a ball on the other side of the hazard, within 2 club lengths but not nearer the hole.
- Check the Local Rules on the score card for guidance on immovable obstructions (e.g. surfaced roads and paths etc.).
- Movable obstructions (e.g. rakes, tin cans etc.) anywhere on the course may be moved. If the ball moves it must be replaced without penalty.
- It is your privilege (and you are the sole judge) to declare the ball unplayable at any place on the course except when the ball lies in or touches a water hazard, you may under penalty of one stroke,
(a) drop within two club-lengths of where the ball lies not nearer the hole,
(b) drop any distance behind the point where the ball lay keeping a straight line between the hole, the point where the ball lay and the spot on which the ball is dropped, or
(c) replay the shot.