Rules of Golf

Three fundamental principles form the foundation of the rules of golf:
  • Play the ball you hit from the tee all the way into the hole
  • Play that ball as it lies
  • Play the course in the condition you find it
Almost all the rules deal with situations where a player is unable to play the ball he or she started with into the hole. The job of the rules is to provide a method of play and scoring when you are not able to accomplish one of the top 3.

A few examples:
  • I lost the ball I hit from the tee in a Water Hazard – proceed under rule 26, Water Hazards.
  • I hit the ball I started with Out of Bounds – proceed under rule 27, Ball Lost or Out of Bounds, Provisional Ball
  • I hit the ball I started with under a tree and I can’t get my club on it – proceed under rule 28, Ball Unplayable
  • I accidentally moved the ball I was playing – proceed under rule 18 – Ball at Rest Moved
  • I hit my ball into a puddle left by last night’s rain – do I have to hit it out? – no, proceed under rule 25, Abnormal Ground Conditions
“Relief” is a word used frequently in the rules. The rules, when understood and properly implemented provide players who find themselves in situation that either prevents
  • The playing of the ball they started with into the hole
  • Their ability to play the ball as it lies
  • Or having found a condition on the course that is not suitable for play 
In each instance, the golfer will find “relief” in the rules. The relief is not always free, but it does allow the player to keep going when they otherwise would have had to end their round prematurely.

For questions on how to interact with the rules or for help with your game so that you lessen the amount of times you need to seek relief, consult a member of your professional staff. You may also find information on the rules by visiting

Good luck and good golfing!