Update of the 1882 rules, unchanged exept that all local references have now been removed, and re-located in the new, separate, 'Local Rules'

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September 1888.

I.  Mode and Order of Playing the Game
1. The Game of Golf is generally played by two sides. Each side may consist of one person or of two, who play alternately. It may also be played by three or more sides, each playing its own ball.

2. The game commences by each side playing off a ball from a place called the teeing ground for the first hole. In a match with two on a side, the partners shall strike off alternately from the tee; and the players opposed to each other shall be named at starting, and shall continue in the same order during the match. The player entitled to play off first shall be named by the parties themselves, and his side shall continue to lead off, till they lose a hole; and although the courtesy of starting is generally granted to captains of the club and old members, it may be settled by lot, or toss of a coin.

3. The hole is won by the side holing at fewest strokes; and the reckoning of the strokes is made by the terms odd and like, two more, three more, one off two, &c.

4. The side gaining a hole shall lead at the next (except at the commencement of a new match, in which case the winner of the previous match is to lead), and is entitled to claim his privilege, and to recall his opponent’s stroke should he play out of order.
This privilege is called the honour.

5. One round of the links is reckoned a match, unless otherwise stipulated.  The match is won by the side which wins one or more holes in excess of the number of holes remaining to be played.

6. If in a double match, one person shall play when his partner should have done so, his side loses the hole.

II.  Place of Teeing and Playing Through the Green
7. The ball must be teed within the marks laid down by the conservator of the links, which shall be considered the "Teeing Ground."  The balls shall not be teed in advance of such marks nor more than two club lengths behind them.

8. A ball played in contravention of this rule may be recalled by the opposite side.

9. After the balls are struck off, the ball furthest from the hole to which the parties are playing must be played first.  No player shall play his teed ball till the party in front have played their second strokes; nor play on to the putting-green till the party in front of him has holed out.

Note:- 9(a) It is requested that when a party is waiting to approach the hole, the party that has "holed out" will not cause delay by trying their putts over again.

III.  Changing the Balls
10. 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 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 13, and 16); and if the sides are at a loss to know the one ball from the other, neither shall be touched without the consent of both.

IV.   Lifting of Break Clubs
11. All loose impediments within a club length of the ball may be removed, unless the ball lies within a bunker, on sand, on a molehill, on a road, or other hazard, or touching a growing whin. (Rules 6, 9 and 12).

12. When a ball lies in a bunker, sand, or any other hazard, there shall be no impression made by the club whilst addressing the ball, nor sand nor other obstacle removed "before striking at the ball."

13. A ball lying on sand sprinkled on grass on the course for the preservation of the links, shall be treated as if it lay on grass.

14. On no occasion is it allowable to press down any irregularities of surface, to improve the lie of the ball.

15. When a ball lies near a washing-tub, or implements used in the upkeep of the links, they may be removed, and when on clothes, the ball may be lifted and dropped behind them, without a penalty.

V.  Entitled to See the Ball
16. When a ball is completely covered with fog, bent, whins &c., only so much thereof shall be set aside as that the player shall have a view of his ball before he plays, whether in a line with the hole or otherwise.

17. Nothing that is growing may be bent, broken, nor removed, except in the act of striking at the ball, or in the special occasion provided for in par. 16

18. A ball stuck fast in wet ground or sand may be taken out and replaced loosely in the hole it has made.

VI.  Clearing the Putting-green
19. All loose impediments, except the opponent's ball, may be lifted on the putting-green.

20. The term "putting-green" shall be considered to mean those portions of the links devoid of hazards within twenty yards from the hole.

Note:- 20(a) When ice or snow lies on the putting-greens, parties are recommended to make their own arrangements as to its removal or not, before commencing their match.

VII   Lifting Balls
21. When the balls lie within six inches of each other, in any situation, the ball nearer the hole to which the parties are playing must be lifted till the other is played, and then placed as nearly as possible in its original position. Should the ball furthest from the hole be accidentally moved in so doing, it must be replaced without a penalty. The six inches to be measured from the nearest surfaces of the balls.

22. In a three or more ball match a ball in any degree lying between the player and the hole must be lifted as above, or, if on the putting-green, holed out.

VIII.   Ball in Water
23. If the ball lie in water, the player may take it out, change it if he pleases, drop it, and play from behind the hazard, losing a stroke.

IX.   Rubs of the Green and Penalties
24. Whatever happens to a ball by accident, such as being moved or stopped by any person not engaged in the match, or by the fore-caddie, must be reckoned a "Rub of the Green", and submitted to.

25. If, however, the player’s ball strike his opponent, or his opponent’s caddie or club, or is moved by them, the opponent loses the hole.

26. If the ball strike himself or his partner, or their caddies or clubs, or is stopped by them, or if, while in the act of playing, he strikes the ball twice, the player loses the hole.

27. If the player, or his partner, touch their ball with the foot or any part of the body (except as provided for in Rules 4, 5, 7, and 8), or with anything except the club, his side loses a stroke.

28. If the player, whilst addressing himself to the ball on any occasion, except at the tee, touch it so as to cause it to move, or if his hand, foot, or club, touch a bent stick, or anything which causes the ball to move, or if the player’s caddie move the ball, he loses a stroke.

29. A ball is considered to have moved if it leaves its original position in the least degree, and stops in another; but if a player touches his ball so as to make it merely oscillate and not leave its original position, it is not considered to have been moved.

30. If a player or his caddie strike the opponent’s ball in any manner, that side loses the hole; but if he plays it inadvertently, thinking it is his own, and 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 exchanged. 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 where it lay.

31. If a player’s ball be played away by mistake, or be lifted by any agency outside the match, then the player must drop it, or another ball, as near the spot as possible without any penalty. Should this occur on the putting-green the ball may be replaced by hand.

X.  Ball Lost
32. In match playing, a ball lost entails the loss of the hole. Should the ball not be found within ten minutes, the opposite side can claim the hole.

XI.  Club Breaking
33. 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.

XII.  Holing Out the Ball
34. In holing, no mark shall be placed, or line drawn, to indicate the line to the hole; the ball must be played fairly and honestly for the hole, and not on the 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.

35. Either player, when it is his turn to play, may remove, but not press down, sand, or worm heaps, lying around the hole, or on the line of his "putt"; but this must be done lightly by the player or his caddie, with the hand only. Except as above mentioned, or when the player is in the act of addressing himself to the ball, the putting line must not be touched by club, hand, nor foot. If the player desires the "line to the hole", it may be pointed out by a club shaft only.

36. If, in holing out, the ball rest upon the flag-stick in the hole, the player shall be entitled to have the stick removed, and if the ball fall in, it shall be considered as holed out; but either party is entitled to have the flag-stick removed when approaching the hole. When the player’s ball rests on the lip of the hole, his opponent, after holing in the "odd" or the "like" shall be entitled to strike way the ball which is at the lip of the hole, claiming the hole if he shall have holed in the "like"; and the "half" if he shall have holed in the "odd". But no player shall be entitled to play until his opponent’s ball shall have ceased rolling.

XIII.   Unplayable Balls
37. In Match playing every ball must be played, wherever it lies, or the hole given up, excepting where otherwise provided for (Rules 4 and 8).

38.   If a ball lies in any of the holes made for golfing, or on ground under repair by the conservator of the links, it may be lifted, dropped behind the hazard, and played without losing a stroke.

39.  In all cases where a ball is to be dropped, the party doing so shall front the hole to which he is playing, standing behind the hazard, and dropping the ball behind him from his head.

XIV.   Asking Advice
40. A player must not ask advice about the game, by word, look, or gesture, from any one except his own caddie, his partner’s caddie, or his partner.

XV.   Parties Passing Each Other
41. Any party having lost a ball, and incurring delay by seeking for it, may be passed by any other party coming up.

42. On all occasions a two-ball match may pass a party playing three or more balls.

43. Parties turning before going the whole round must let any two-ball match that has done so pass them.

XVI.  Balls Splitting
44. 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.

XVII.  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.


1.   If the lowest score be made by two or more, the ties will be decided by the parties playing another round, either that day or the following, as the captain, or, in his absence, the secretary, may direct.

2.   On the morning of the medal day new holes will be made, and any member playing at them before he competes will be disqualified.

3.   Before starting each competitor must obtain from the secretary a scoring card, and in the absence of a special marker the players will note each other’s score. They must satisfy themselves, at the finish of each hole, that their strokes have been accurately marked; and on completion of the round hand the card to the secretary, or his deputy.

4.  All balls must be holed out, and when on the putting-green, the flag must be removed, and the player whose ball is nearest the hole has the option of holing out first. Either player can have another player’s ball lifted if he finds that it interferes with his stroke. The ball that has been lifted must be carefully replaced.

5.   If a ball be lost, the player returns to the spot, as nearly as possible where the ball was struck, tees another ball, and loses a stroke. If the lost ball be found before he has struck the other ball, the first shall continue the one to be played.

6.   A player striking his caddie, or himself, or his clubs, with his ball, or who, in the act of playing, strikes the ball twice, shall lose one stroke only as the penalty.

7.   A ball may, under a penalty of two strokes, be lifted out of a difficulty of any description, and teed behind same.

8.  No competitor may play with a professional.

9.   The ordinary Rules of Golf so far as they are not at variance with these special rules, shall also be applicable on medal days.


Starting - Telegraph Board
1.  When the telegraph board is placed at the first teeing-ground, a person will be in charge of it, to note the order of starting.

Ball in Water
2.   If the ball lie in any position in the Swilcan Burn, whether in water or not, the player may take it out, drop it on the line where it entered the burn on the opposite side to the hole to which he is playing, and lose a stroke, or he may play it where it lies without a penalty.

3. Should a ball be driven into the water of the Eden at the high hole, or into the sea at the first hole, the ball shall be teed a club length in front of either river or sea, the player or side losing a stroke.

Ball Lost
4.  A ball getting into the enclosed ground (between the Road and Dyke holes) called the Station-Master’s Garden, shall be treated as a lost ball.

5.  Parties having caddies may pass those carrying their own clubs.

Medal Play
6.  All competitions for the medals of the Club will be decided by playing one round of the links of 18 holes - the competitor doing it in fewest strokes shall be the winner.

7.  The order of starting will be balloted for the previous evening. Any couple not at the teeing ground when their number is called must go to the bottom of the list. A party starting from the first tee must allow the party in front of them to cross the burn before striking off.

8.  A ball driven into the water of the Eden, or sea, may be treated as a lost ball.

9.  All private matches must be delayed till the last competitors have finished the first hole.

10.   Any dispute respecting the play shall be determined by the green committee, with power to add to their number.

If a ball lies within two yards of a seat at the high hole, it may be lifted and dropped two yards to the side of the seat farthest from the hole.

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