The 10 Golden Rules Of Golf

The 34 Rules of Golf take up 82 pages of the rule book; not including the definitions, appendices and index, which expand the book to 208 pages.

In addition, there’s a separate Decisions book which contains the official interpretation of the rules – and it runs to 582 pages, plus 139 pages of indexing.

It almost reminds you of our income tax laws!

Late last year, an article appeared on the USGA website entitled A Simpler Game: The 10 Golden Rules, written by George Pepper.

In the article, 10 golden rules are presented which cover the majority of situations golfers routinely encounter during an 18-hole round.

The golden rules first appeared in 1982, the result of a collaboration between the USGA and GOLF Magazine. The current update was undertaken by Links Magazine in partnership with the USGA.

Note: These are not a substitute for the Rules of Golf, which should be consulted whenever any doubt arises. For more information on the points covered, refer to the relevant Rule.

The 10 Golden Rules Of Golf

  • Play the ball as it lies;
  • Don’t move, bend, or break anything growing or fixed, except in fairly taking your stance or swing. Don’t press anything down;
  • You may lift natural objects not fixed or growing, except in a water hazard or bunker. No penalty;
  • Movable man-made objects may be moved. For immovable objects, you may take relief by dropping away from them within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole, except in a water hazard or if the object defines out of bounds. In a bunker, you must drop in the bunker. No penalty.
  • You may take relief from casual water, ground under repair, burrowing animal holes or casts, anywhere except in a water hazard. On the putting green, place at the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole; otherwise drop within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole. In a bunker, you must drop in the bunker. No penalty.
  • In a water hazard or bunker, don’t touch the water or ground with your hand or club before the stroke.
  • If you hit your ball into a water hazard and cannot find or play it, either drop behind the point where the ball last crossed the hazard margin or at the place where you played the shot. On the tee, you may tee the ball. One penalty stroke. If you hit into a lateral hazard, you may also drop within two club-lengths of the point where the ball last crossed the hazard margin, or, within two club-lengths of an equivalent distant from the hole on the opposite margin. One penalty stroke.
  • When you hit your ball out of bounds or can’t find it after five minutes of searching, add a penalty stroke, go back and drop a ball at the place where you played the shot. On the tee, you may tee the ball. If you think you have hit your ball out of bounds or lost it outside a water hazard, play a provisional ball before searching for the first one.
  • When you have an unplayable lie, you may drop a ball at the place where you played the previous shot, adding a penalty stroke. On the tee, you may tee the ball. Alternatively, drop within two club lengths, no nearer the hole, or any distance behind the unplayable spot, keeping it between you and the hole. If the ball is in a bunker, you must drop in the bunker, under either of the alternative options. If you can’t play your ball from a water hazard, see Golden Rule No.7.
  • You may repair ball marks and old hole plugs on the putting green that are on the line of your putt, but not spike marks.