Care of the Course
- After playing her shot and before leaving a bunker, players should carefully fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made by them and any nearby made by others. If a rake is within reasonable proximity of the bunker, the rake should be used for this purpose.
Repair of Divots, Ball-Marks and Damage by Shoes
- Players should carefully repair any divot holes made by them and any damage to the putting green made by the impact of a ball (whether or not made by the player himself). On completion of the hole by all players in the group, damage to the putting green caused by golf shoes should be repaired.
Preventing Unnecessary Damage
- Players should avoid causing damage to the course by removing divots when taking practice swings or by hitting the head of a club into the ground, whether in anger or for any other reason.
- Players should ensure that no damage is done to the putting green when putting down bags or the flagstick.
- In order to avoid damaging the hole, players and caddies should not stand too close to the hole and should take care during the handling of the flagstick and the removal of a ball from the hole. The head of a club should not be used to remove a ball from the hole.
- Players should not lean on their clubs when on the putting green, particularly when removing the ball from the hole.
- The flagstick should be properly replaced in the hole before players leave the putting green.
- Players should ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball or any stones, pebbles, twigs or the like when they make a stroke or practice swing.
- Players should not play until the players in front are out of range.
- Players should always alert greenstaff nearby or ahead when they are about to make a stroke that might endanger them.
- If a player plays a ball in a direction where there is a danger of hitting someone, she should immediately shout a warning. The traditional word of warning in such a situation is "fore."
Consideration for Other Players
No Disturbance or Distraction
- Players should always show consideration for other players on the course and should not disturb their play by moving, talking or making any unnecessary noise.
- Players should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players.
- On the teeing ground, a player should not tee her ball until it is her turn to play.
On the Putting Green
- On the putting green, players should not stand on or walk through another player's line of putt. When she is making a stroke, do not cast a shadow over her line of putt.
- Players should remain on or close to the putting green until all other players in the group have holed out.
- In stroke play, a player who is acting as a marker should, if necessary, on the way to the next tee, check the score with the player concerned and record it.
Pace of Play
- Play at Good Pace and Keep Up
- Players should play at a good pace. The Committee may establish pace of play guidelines that all players should follow.
- It is a group's responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group.
Be Ready to Play
- Players should be ready to play as soon as it is their turn to play. When playing on or near the putting green, they should leave their bags or carts in such a position as will enable quick movement off the green and towards the next tee. When the play of a hole has been completed, players should immediately leave the putting green and move a safe distance away allowing the group behind to safely play to the putting green.
- If a player believes her ball may be lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, to save time, she should play a provisional ball. (Rule 27)
- If you are holding up play, players searching for a ball should signal the players in the group behind them to play through as soon as it becomes apparent that the ball will not easily be found.
- You should not search for five minutes before doing so, rather allow the group behind to go through while the search continues. Having allowed the group behind to play through, you should not continue play until that group has passed and is out of range.
Tee markers (Rule 11-2):
When teeing off on a hole, the ball must be behind the tee markers. (Draw an imaginary line between the two markers and tee your ball behind that line.)
As it lies (Rule 13): Play the ball as it lies. This means you may not improve the way the ball is sitting. If you are on the green, you may mark and pick up your ball to clean it, but while anywhere else on the course, you must play the ball as it lies. See the USGA rule book for special circumstances like winter rules, obstructions, standing water, etc.
Away (Rule 10): The ball farthest from the hole is the one that is played first. The term is "away." Example: "Sara, you are away, so go ahead and play first." The person with the lowest score for the hole has "the honors," and plays first on the next hole. Many times in social settings, golfers play out of turn to speed play. In a social environment this is OK as long as it is safe to do so.
Bunkers (Sand traps) (Rule 13-4/b): If your ball lands in the bunker, remember to rake it after you have played your shot. The groups behind you will appreciate this. Since this is a hazard, you cannot rake it before you play out of it, and you cannot ground your club prior to the swing. Practice swings are okay, as long as you do not contact the sand.
Out of bounds (OB) (Rule 27-1): If you hit your ball OB, there is a one-stroke penalty, and you must hit another ball from the exact same place you hit your first ball. If you are not sure if the ball is OB, hit a "Provisional Ball" just in case. If you determine that the first ball is OB, then you continue on and play with the Provisional Ball. If the first ball is not OB, you must play it.
Water hazards (Rule 26)
If you hit your ball into a water hazard, you may play it (could be messy), or play another ball from where you just hit (with a one-stroke penalty). It is important to see how the hazard is marked if there are red lines or stakes, another option is to drop a ball where the original ball entered the hazard, add a one-stroke penalty and continue play.
Putting green (Rule 16)
When on the green, never walk across another player's line of putt. The line of putt is an imaginary line that the ball will most likely follow towards the hole. The imprint that your feet leave on the green can alter the path of the ball. Always step over the line of the putt or around it.
Rub of the Green (Rule 19-1): A “rub of the green” occurs when a ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency.
Golf is a great game, so have fun with it and whenever possible, leave the golf course in the same shape that you found it.