17 golf rules you definitely have to know when playing in a tournament


The difference in between a leisurely round of golf and tournament play is plain; at times, it feels like it's an entirely different game. Those tee boxes that appear miles back? That's where you'll be teeing off from.

And then there are the guidelines.

Every danger is treated as a lateral, rocks are thrown out of bunkers, and gym me putts. In brief, a "winter season guidelines" approach for the entire year.

The USGA rule book is the law for tournament play; it is outright, without discussion. Fear not: Here are the 17 golf guidelines you absolutely need to understand when playing in a tournament:

Count your clubs

Oh come on. Nobody would ever have more than 14 sticks in the bag, right?



Avoid the two-stroke penalty by confirming your bag before teeing off.

Ball falls off tee

(Exception: You've currently whiffed on the very first shot. If the ball then falls off, you have to play it as it lies.).

On the intense side, since things are a little more serious in tournament play, you will not have the amok who chirps "One!" when your ball falls off the tee. I hate that man.

Providing advice.

On the weekend, you may ask your good friend what iron they simply struck, or, while on the green, point to an area and state, "I believe this is the line." While such behavior is conventional in a normal round, it's deemed prohibited in competitive play. The penalty is two strokes. (Exception: In a group match, you and your partner, as well as respective caddies, can talk about method.).

The difference between water and lateral dangers.

A water risk is marked in yellow, lateral in red. If you aren't going to attempt to play from the risk-- and unless you have a clean shot, we advise you do not-- you are facing a one-shot charge.

For a water risk, a player has 3 choices:

Go to the designated drop location (not all dangers have this).

Identify where your ball last crossed the water threat, then drop as far back as you desire from that spot and the pin.

Play your next shot by dropping a ball nearby to the point where your last stroke was played. You can re-tee if it was your first shot.

A lateral threat is somewhat different. Like with yellow stakes you have to recognize where the ball crossed into the threat. However, you are offered a 2 clubs length area to drop. You can likewise go on the other side of the danger-- assuming no closer to the hole-- and drop there as well.

Improving your lie or position by moving growing things.

Your ball comes to rest under a tree, and it appears you have a shot. Just issue is a pesky limb interfering with your backswing. No worries; you can break that branch off, yes?

Nope: You cannot enhance the position or lie of your ball. This includes moving or flexing anything growing or repaired in the realm of your visualized swing.

Beach guidelines.

This discomforts me to bring up, however my high school coach made me call both offenses on a competitor in a match: He chunked his very first bunker shot, causing him to knock his club in disgust. He then threw out a few rocks around his ball prior to trying his next shot, both offenses.

In a related note, we are not Face book pals.

Rake in bunker.

This is another location that triggers confusion, however if your ball comes to rest versus a rake, you are enabled to move the tool, as the USGA specifies it as a "movable obstruction.”

Tapping down your putts.

This does not come up as much any longer, as lots of players use softless spikes. Nonetheless, you'll periodically discover spike marks on the green and be tempted to press them down. DON'T: That act makes up a two-stroke penalty.

Lost ball time.

You have 5 minutes to look for a ball. The clock starts when you start looking, not after you've hit your shot. After 5 minutes, the ball is thought about lost.

Revealing the provisionary.

Confession: I like the word "reload." It turns an unfortunate event-- the possibility of a lost ball-- into a course of action. Without inspecting Webster's, I think reload's etymology stems from Clint Eastwood movies. "I'm out of juice. Time to reload; fire in the hole!" Tough to think I went so long being single.

Alas, stating "reload" does not constitute proper procedure, according to the USGA. A player should announce "I am hitting a provisionary" to competitors. You have to abandon your provisional ball if your original isn't lost or out-of-bounds, or you figure out that it's in a water danger:

On the other hand, anytime you hit a terrific provisionary shot, you may not want to find your original ball. If someone finds it before you play a shot with the provisionary, the first ball is the one you should play.

Remedy for cart courses, ground under repair, unmovable objects.

Most players understand they get assist in such situations. In that very same vein, many do not know the proper method to press ahead. You take your position, from there getting one club length of relief. The brand-new area needs to lack disturbance from what triggered the drop. From the USGA: "For example, if the ball lies on a cart path, the ball should be dropped at a point where the cart path does not interfere with the lie of the ball, his stance, as well as the location of designated swing. If the ball comes to rest in such a position, it needs to be re-dropped."

Unplayable lie.

Unlike above, your point of drop does not start from a place without disturbance. You have three options:

Play a ball as almost as possible to the spot from which the original ball was last played, no nearer to the hole. If it was on the tee, you can re-tee.

Take a drop within 2 club lengths of where the ball is at rest, not nearer the hole.

Draw a line from the hole to where the ball is located and drop anywhere behind that point, keeping the point in between you and the hole.

I discovered No. 2 out the difficult method after my ball went under a pine tree in a tournament. I couldn't get to my ball, so chose to go with two-clubs length choice, only to discover I'd still be under the pine tree.

Order of play.

This mainly turns up in match play, however whoever is farthest far from the hole is up. And if somebody breaks that order, a competitor is enabled to cancel the shot, forcing them to replay it.

However this features a caveat: Unless it's an outright offense, don't call this on a rival. Unless you want their putter tomahawked into your windshield after the round.

One-ball condition.

This is rare: You normally only see this in professional competitions, most recently when Phil Mickelson was dented for using 2 different types of makes at the Presidents Cup. That stated, I've been in club championships prior to where this appeared, sending out people scrambling to the pro store.

Sprinkler heads.

This falls under the stationary things umbrella, but happens so frequently that it deserves its own section. Relief is given from sprinkler heads just if your ball, intended stance, or swing is hindered. Line of play isn't really covered, indicating if you're putting from the fringe through a sprinkler towards the green, well, you may wish to break out a wedge.

Recognizing your ball.

Buried in the rough and can't inform if it's your ball? You are enabled to lift the ball for ID purposes. From the USGA: "The player needs to announce his intention to lift the ball to a challenger, fellow-competitor or marker, and mark the position of the ball. He may then raise the ball and identify it, supplied that he offers his opponent, marker or fellow-competitor an opportunity to observe the lifting and replacement."


Your group has made it to the green; the hole is almost behind you. And, look at that, your ball has come to rest just inches from the pin. You're so ecstatic that you brush it in without thought, strolling off the green thinking you just made birdie.

Except, the pin remained in, and you struck it. That drops your rating from a bird to a bogey and sinks your heart into your stomach.

Other infractions consist of meeting a pin that has actually been gotten and lying past the hole, or if you purposefully leave the flag in while attending it to trigger a penalty on your opponent.

Most competitions have rules officials on website, and all golf players must have a copy of the USGA rules book in their bag for more complex circumstances and judgments. The previously mentioned points serve as the foundation for the challenges you'll likely experience throughout competition play. Now you can put your guidelines worry to rest, knowing your geared up to handle whatever the course, and your rivals, throws at you.


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