Update of the 1858 Rules; local references are being phased out.
[1802 Edinburgh Burgess]
RULES FOR THE GAME OF GOLF
AS IT IS PLAYED BY
THE ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB
OF ST. ANDREWS OVER THEIR LINKS,
1. Mode and order of Playing the Game
The Game of Golf is generally played by two sides. Each side may consist either of one person or two, who play alternately. It may also be played by three or more sides, each playing its own ball.
The game commences by each party playing off a ball from a place called the tee, near the first hole.
In a match of four, those who are opposed to each other, and to play off, shall be named at starting, and shall continue so during the match. The person entitled to play off first shall be named by the parties themselves; and although the courtesy of starting is generally granted to old captains of the club, or members, it may be settled by lot or toss of coin.
The hole is won by the party holing at fewest strokes, and the reckoning of the game is made by the terms odd and like, one more, two more, &c. The party gaining the hole is to lead, unless his opponent has won the previous match, in which case the latter leads off, and is entitled to claim his privilege, and to recall his opponent’s stroke should he play out of order.
One round of the links, or eighteen holes, is reckoned a match, unless otherwise stipulated. If in a double match one person should play twice in succession, he loses the hole.
2. Place of Teeing
The ball must be teed not nearer the hole than eight nor farther than twelve club lengths, except where special ground has been marked by the Conservator of the Links, which shall be considered the ‘teeing ground,’ and the balls shall be teed within, and not in advance of, such marks.
After the balls are struck off, the ball farthest from the hole to which the parties are playing must be played first. When two parties meet on the putting-green, the party first there may claim the privilege of holing out; and any party coming up must wait till the other party has played out the hole, and on no account play their balls up, lest they should annoy the parties who are putting. No player may play his teed ball till the party in front have played their second strokes.
3. Changing the Balls
The balls struck off from the tee must not be changed, touched, or moved, before the hole is played out (except in striking, and the cases provided for by Rules 8 18 and 19; and if the parties are at a loss to know the one ball from the other, neither shall be lifted till both parties agree.
4. Lifting of break Clubs &c.,
All loose impediments within a club length of the ball may be removed on or off the course when the ball lies on grass (see Rule 6 and 12). When a ball lies in a bunker, sand, or any other hazard, there shall be no impression made, nor sand or other obstacle removed by the club, or otherwise, before striking at the ball. When a ball lies within a club length of a washing-tub, the tub may be removed, and when on clothes the ball may be lifted and dropped behind them.
5. Entitled to see Ball
When the ball is completely covered with fog, bent, whins &c., so much thereof shall be set aside as that the player shall merely have a view of his ball before he plays, whether in a line with the hole or otherwise. A ball stuck fast in wet ground or sand may be taken out and replaced loosely in the hole it has made.
6. Clearing the Putting Green
All loose impediments, of whatever kind, may be lifted on the putting green or table land on which the hole is placed (excepting as declared in Rule 4) which is considered not to exceed twenty yards from the hole. Nothing can be lifted either on the course or putting-green if it is to move the ball out of its position.
7. Lifting Balls
When, on any part of the course, or off it, or in a bunker, the balls lie within six inches of each other, the ball nearest the hole must be lifted till the other is played, and then placed as nearly as possible in its original position - the six inches to be measured from the surface of the balls. In a three-ball match, the ball in any degree interposing between the player and the hole on the putting green must be played out.
8. Ball in water, or in the Burn, and place of Re-Teeing
If the ball is in water the player, or his partner in a foursome match, may take it out, change the ball if he pleases, tee it, and play from behind the hazard, losing a stroke. If the ball lies in any position in the burn across the first hole, the player may take it out, tee it on the line where it entered the burn, on the opposite side from the hole to which he is playing, and lose a stroke; or he may play it where it lies without a penalty.
However, should a ball be driven into the Eden at the high hole, or the sea at the first hole, the ball must be placed a club-length in front of either sea or river, the player or party losing a stroke. In playing for a medal, a ball driven into the Eden may be treated as a lost ball.
9. Rubs of the green
Whatever happens to a ball by accident, such as striking any person, or being touched with the foot by a third party, or by the fore-cady, must be reckoned a rub of the green, and submitted to. If, however, the player’s ball strike his opponent, or his opponent’s cady or clubs, the opponent loses the hole; or if it strike himself or his partner, or their cadies or clubs, or if he strike the ball a second time while in the act of playing, the player loses the hole.
If the player touch the ball with his foot, or any part of his body, or with anything except his club, or if he with the club displace the ball in preparing to strike, he loses a stroke; and if one party strike his opponent’s ball with his club, foot, or otherwise, that party loses the hole. But if he plays it inadvertently, thinking it his own, and if the opponent also plays the wrong ball, it is then too late to claim the penalty, and the hole must be played out with the balls thus changed. If, however, the mistake occurs from wrong information given by one party to the other, the penalty cannot be claimed; and the mistake, if discovered before the other party has played, must be rectified by replacing the ball as nearly as possible to where it lay.
If the player’s ball be played away by mistake, or lifted by a third party, then the player must drop a ball as near the spot as possible, without any penalty.
Whatever happens to a ball, on a Medal day, such as a player striking his cady, or himself, or his clubs, or moving the ball with his foot or club, or his cady doing so, or the player striking it twice, before it stops motion, the player in such cases shall lose one stroke only as the penalty.
10. Ball Lost
If a ball is lost, the player (or his partner in a double match) returns to the spot, as near as possible, where the ball was struck, tees another ball, and loses both the distance and a stroke. If the original ball is found before the party has struck the other ball, the first shall continue the one to be played.
11. Club breaking
If, in striking, the club breaks, it is, nevertheless, to be counted a stroke, if the part of the club remaining in the player’s hand either strike the ground or pass the ball.
12. Holing out the Ball
In holing, no mark should be placed or line drawn to direct the ball to the hole; the ball must be played fairly and honestly for the hole, and not on an opponent’s ball, not being in the way to the hole; nor although lying in the way to the hole is the player entitled to play with any strength upon it that might injure his opponent’s position, or greater than is necessary honestly to send his own ball the distance of the hole.
Either party may smooth sand lying around the hole; but this must be done lightly and without pressure, or beating down with the feet, club, or otherwise. If, in holing out, the ball rests upon the flag stick in the hole, the player shall be entitled to have the stick removed, and if the ball falls in, it shall be considered as holed out; but either party is entitled to have the flag stick removed when approaching the hole.
13. Unplayable Balls
In match playing, every ball must be played wherever it lies, or the hole be given up, excepting when it lies on clothes, in water, or in the bed of the burns (see Rules 4 and 8) or in any of the holes, or short holes, made for golfing (other than the one played for at the time), in which latter case it may be lifted, dropped behind the hazard, and played without losing a stroke.
In Medal playing a ball may, under a penalty of two strokes, be lifted out of a difficulty of any description, and teed behind the hazard, and if any of the golfing holes, it may be lifted, dropt, and played, without a penalty.
In all cases where a ball is to be dropt, the party doing so shall front the hole to which he is playing, standing close on the hazard, and drop the ball behind him from his head.
14. Medal Days
New holes shall always be made on the day the medals are played for, and no competitor shall play at these holes before he starts for the prize, under the penalty of being disqualified for playing for the medal. On medal days, a party starting off from the tee, must allow the party in front to cross the burn, before they strike off. All balls must be holed out on medal days, and no stimies allowed.
15. Asking advice
A player must not ask advice about the game, by word, look, or gesture, from any one except his own cady, his partner’s cady, or his partner.
Any dispute respecting the play shall be determined by the captain or senior member present; or, if none of the members are present, it shall be settled by a committee appointed by the parties interested, or by the captain and council for the time, at their first meeting.
17. Parties passing each other
Any party having lost a ball and incurring delay by seeking for it shall be passed by any other party coming up; and on all occasions a two-ball match - whether by two or four players - may pass parties playing three or more balls. Also, parties having cadys may pass those carrying their own clubs.
18. Balls splitting
If a ball should split into two or more pieces, a fresh ball shall be put down where the largest portion of the ball lies; and if the ball is cracked the player may change it on intimating his intention of doing so to his opponent.
19. Breach of Rules
Where no penalty for the infringement of a rule is specially mentioned, the loss of the hole shall be understood to be the penalty.
20. Repairing the Links
The person appointed to take charge of keeping the Links, shall make new holes when required, and in such places as to preserve the putting green in proper order.
N.B. To prevent accidents, it is required that due warning be given to all parties on or in the vicinity of the golfing course, by the player or his cady distinctly calling "Fore" previous to his striking the ball.
Memorandum. As a point of etiquette, it may be mentioned that no looker-on is entitled to make any observation whatever respecting the play, to walk before the players, to remove impediments or, in short, to interfere even in the most distant manner with the game while being played.