17th edition.
Rewording of about a third of the 1952 code, but mostly for clarification rather than any change in the intent, no doubt a result of practical experience over the previous two years.
Redefined lateral water hazard; the requirement for it to be parallel to the line of play removed.
Strokes played with a wrong ball do not count.
The OOB line is now out of bounds.

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RULES OF GOLF

AS APPROVED BY
THE ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB
OF ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND
and the
UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION

effective 1 January 1954.


SECTION I - ETIQUETTE

1.  No one should move, talk or stand close to or directly behind the ball or the hole when a player is addressing the ball or making a stroke.
2.  The player who has the honour should be allowed to play before his opponent or fellow-competitor tees his ball.
3.  No player should play until the players in front are out of range.
4.  In the interest of all, players should play without delay.
5.  Players searching for a ball should allow other players coming up to pass them; they should signal to the players following them to pass, and should not continue their play until those players have passed and are out of range.
6.  Before leaving a bunker, a player should carefully fill up all holes made by him therein.
7.  Through the green a player should ensure that any turf cut or displaced by him is replaced at once and pressed down, and that, after the players have holed out, any damage to the putting green made by the ball or the player is carefully repaired.
8.  Players should ensure that, when dropping bags or the flagstick, no damage is done to the putting green, and that neither they nor their caddies damage the hole by standing close to the hole or in handling the flagstick.  The flagstick should be properly replaced in the hole before the players leave the putting green.
9.  When the play of a hole has been determined, players should immediately leave the putting green.

Priority on the Course
In the absence of special rules, singles, threesomes or foursomes should have precedence of and be entitled to pass any other kind of match.  A single player has no standing, and should give way to a match of any kind.
Any match playing a whole round is entitled to pass a match playing a shorter round.
If a match fail to keep its place on the course and lose more than one clear hole on the players in front, it should allow the match following to pass.


SECTION II - DEFINITIONS

1.  Addressing the Ball
A player has "addressed the ball" when he has taken his stance by placing his feet on the ground in position for and preparatory to making a stroke and has also grounded his club, except that in a hazard a player has "addressed the ball" when he has taken his stance preparatory to making a stroke.

2.  Advice
"Advice" is any counsel or suggestion which could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club, or the method of making a stroke.
Information on the Rules or Local Rules is not "advice".

3.  Ball Deemed to Move
A ball is deemed to have "moved" if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.

4.  Ball Holed
A ball is "holed" when it lies within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole.

5.  Ball in Play
A ball is "in play" as soon as the player has made a stroke on the teeing ground.  It remains in play as his ball until holed out, except when it is out of bounds, lost, or lifted in accordance with the Rules or Local Rules.

6.  Ball Lost
A ball is "lost" if it be not found within five minutes after the player's side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it. If subsequently found it is not "in play".

7.  Caddie and Forecaddie
A "caddie" is one who carries a player's clubs.
A "forecaddie" is one employed by the Committee to indicate to players the position of balls on the course, and is an outside agency (Definition 22).

8.  Casual Water
"Casual water" is any temporary accumulation of water which is not a hazard of itself or which is not in a water hazard.  Snow and ice are "casual water" unless otherwise determined by Local Rule.

9.  Committee
The "Committee" is the committee in charge of the competition.

10.  Competitor
A "competitor" is a player in a stroke competition. A "fellow-competitor" is any player with whom the competitor plays.  Neither is partner of the other.
In stroke play foursome and four-ball competitions where the context so admits, the word "competitor" or "fellow-competitor" shall be held to include his partner.

11.  Course
The "course" is the whole area within which play is permitted.  It is the duty of the authorities in charge of the course to define its boundaries accurately.

12.  Flagstick
The "flagstick" is a movable indicator, with or without bunting or other material attached, placed in the hole to show its position.

13.  Ground Under Repair
"Ground under repair" is any portion of the course so marked by order of the committee concerned or so declared by its authorised representative.  It includes material piled for removal and a hole made by a greenkeeper, even if not so marked.  Stakes and lines defining "ground under repair" are not in such ground.

14. Hazards
A "hazard" is any bunker, or water hazard.
Bare patches, scrapes, roads, tracks and paths are not "hazards".
a.  A bunker is that part of a depression in the ground where the soil is exposed, and is usually covered with sand.  Grass-covered ground verging a bunker or surrounded by a bunker is not part of the "hazard".
b.  A "water hazard" is any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, drainage ditch or other water course (regardless of whether or not it contains water) and anything of a similar nature.
All ground within the margin of a water hazard, whether or not it be covered with any growing substance, is part of the water hazard.
c.  A "lateral water hazard" is a water hazard or that part of a water hazard so situated that it is not feasible to drop a ball behind the water hazard and keep the spot at which the ball last crossed the hazard margin between the player and the hole. It is the duty of the Committee to define a lateral water hazard.
d.  It is the duty of the Committee in charge of a course to define accurately the extent of the hazards and water hazards when there is any doubt.  That part of a hazard to be played as a lateral water hazard should be distinctively marked. Stakes and lines defining the boundaries of hazards are not in the hazards.

15.  Hole
The "hole" shall be 4 inches in diameter and at least 4 inches deep.  If a lining be used, it shall be sunk at least 1 inch below the putting green surface unless the nature of the soil makes it impracticable to do so; its outer diameter shall not exceed 4 inches.

16.  Honour
The side which is entitled to play first from the teeing ground is said to have the "honour".

17.  Loose Impediments
The term "loose impediments" denotes natural objects not fixed or growing and not adhering to the ball, and includes stones not solidly embedded, leaves, twigs, branches and the like, dung, worms and insects and casts or heaps made by them.

18.  Marker
A "marker" is a scorer in stroke play who is appointed by the Committee to record a competitor's score.  He may be a fellow-competitor.  He is not a referee.   A marker should not lift the ball or mark its position and, unless he is a fellow-competitor, should not attend the flagstick or stand at the hole or mark its position.

19.  Observer
An "observer" is appointed by the Committee to assist a referee to decide questions of fact and to report to him any breach of a Rule or Local Rule.  An observer should not attend the flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the ball or mark its position.

20.  Obstructions
An "obstruction" is anything artificial, whether erected, placed or temporarily left on the course.
When walls, fences, stakes, railings or similar objects define boundaries, they are not obstructions, nor are artificially constructed roads and paths anywhere.

21.  Out of Bounds
"Out of bounds" is ground on which play is prohibited.
When a boundary is fixed by stakes or a fence, the out of bounds line is a line drawn through the inside edge of the stakes or fence posts at ground level. When the boundary is determined by a line, the line itself is out of bounds.
A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies outside a boundary.

22.  Outside Agency
An "outside agency" is any agency not part of the match or, in stroke play, not part of a competitor's side, and includes a referee, a marker, an observer, or a forecaddie employed by the Committee.

23.  Partner
A "partner" is a player associated with another player on the same side.
In a threesome, foursome, or a four-ball competition where the context so admits, the word "player" shall be held to include his partner.

24.  Penalty Stroke
A "penalty stroke" is one added to the score of a side under certain Rules. It does not affect the order of play.

25.  Putting Green
The "putting green" is all ground of the hole being played which is specially prepared for putting or otherwise defined as such by the Committee.

26.  Referee
A "referee" is a person who has been appointed by the Committee to accompany players to decide questions of fact and of golf law.  He shall act on any breach of Rule or Local Rule which he may observe or which may be reported to him by an observer (Definition 19).
In stroke play the Committee may limit a referee's duties.
A referee should not attend the flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the ball or mark its position.

27.  Rub of the Green
A "rub of the green" occurs when a ball in motion is stopped or deflected by any outside agency.

28.  Sides and Matches
Side: A player, or two or more players who are partners.
Single: A match in which one plays against another.
Threesome: A match in which one plays against two, and each side plays one ball.
Foursome: A match in which two play against two, and each side plays one ball.
Three-Ball: A match in which three play against one another, each playing his own ball.
Best-Ball: A match in which one plays against the better ball of two or the best ball of three players.
Four-Ball: A match in which two play their better ball against the better ball of two other players.

29. Stipulated Round
The "stipulated round" consists of playing the eighteen holes of the course in their correct sequence, unless otherwise authorised by the Committee.

30.  Stroke
A "stroke" is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of moving the ball.

31.  Teeing
In "teeing", the ball may be placed on the ground or on sand or other substance in order to raise it off the ground.

32.  Teeing Ground
The "teeing ground" is the starting place for the hole to be played.  The front is indicated by two marks, and the teeing ground is the rectangular space two club-lengths in depth directly behind the line indicated by the two marks.

33.  Terms Used in Reckoning
The reckoning of holes is kept by the terms:- so many "holes up" or "all square", and so many "to play".
A side is "dormie" when it is as many holes up as there are holes remaining to be played.

34.  Through the Green
"Through the green" is the whole area of the course except:-
a. Teeing ground and putting green of the hole being played;
b. All hazards on the course.


SECTION III - THE GAME OF GOLF

RULE 1     THE GAME

The Game of Golf consists in playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole by successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.


RULE 2     THE CLUB AND THE BALL

1.  Legal Clubs and Balls
Players shall not use clubs or balls which do not conform to the regulations laid down in Clauses 2 and 3 of this Rule.

2.  Form and Make of Clubs
a.
No golf club will be sanctioned that embodies any substantial departure from the traditional and accepted form and make.
The golf club comprises a plain shaft and a head which do not contain any mechanical contrivances, such as springs.
Insets in the faces of iron clubs are not allowed.
Club faces shall not embody any degree of concavity on the hitting surface, and shall not bear any lines, dots, or other markings with sharp or rough edges made for the obvious purpose of putting additional spin on the ball. Markings on iron clubs shall conform with Royal and Ancient Golf Club specifications.  (See Note to this Rule.)

b. The following general considerations will guide the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in interpreting the above:
Shape of Head.
The head of a golf club shall be so constructed that its length from the back of the heel to the toe shall be greater than the breadth from the face to the back of the head.
Attachment of Shaft.
The shaft shall be fixed to the club-head at the heel. It may be attached by means of a neck, socket or hose which shall be so constructed that the shaft shall be in line with the heel or with a point opposite the heel, either to right or left, when the club is soled in the ordinary position for play. However, the shaft of a putter may be fixed at any point in the head.
Nature of Grip.
The grip shall be a continuation of the shaft to which material may be added for the purpose of obtaining a firmer hold.  The grip shall be substantially straight and plain in form, may have flat sides, but may not have a channel or furrow or be moulded for any part of the hands.
Movable Parts Prohibited.
A club shall be one unit. All its various parts shall be permanently fixed. No part may be movable or separate or capable of adjustment by the player.
Note: Players in doubt as to the legality of clubs are advised to consult the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.  Specifications for markings on iron clubs appear in the Royal Insurance Company's Club House Edition of these rules.
If a manufacturer is in doubt as to the legality of a club which he proposes to manufacture, he should submit a sample to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club for a ruling, such sample to become the property of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club for reference purposes.

3.  Weight and Size of Ball
The weight of the ball shall be not greater than 1.620 ounces avoirdupois, and the size not less than 1.620 inches in diameter.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:  Disqualification

Note: In the U.S.A. the weight of the ball shall be not greater than 1.620 ounces avoirdupois and the size not less than 1.680 inches in diameter, but in international team competitions the size of the ball shall be not less than 1.620 inches in diameter.


RULE 3     MAXIMUM OF FOURTEEN CLUBS

Before starting a stipulated round a player shall select his clubs, which must not exceed fourteen in number. He is limited to the clubs so selected for that round except that, without unduly delaying play, he may:-
a. If he started with fewer than fourteen, add as many as will bring his total to that number.
b. Replace a club which becomes unfit for play in the normal course of play.
The addition or replacement of a club or clubs must not be made by borrowing from any other person playing on the course.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE: Disqualification.


SECTION IV - PROCEDURE

RULE 4     AGREEMENT TO WAIVE RULES PROHIBITED

Players shall not agree to exclude the operation of any Rule or Local Rule or to waive any penalty incurred.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match Play - Disqualification of both sides;
Stroke play - Disqualification of competitors concerned.


RULE 5     GENERAL PENALTY

Except when otherwise provided for, the penalty for a breach of a Rule or Local Rule is:

Match play - Loss of hole;
Stroke play - Two strokes.


RULE 6     MATCH PLAY

1. Winner of Hole
In match play the game is played by holes.
Except as otherwise provided for in the Rules, a hole is won by the side which holes its ball in the fewer strokes. In a handicap match the lower net score wins the hole.

2. Halved Hole
A hole is halved if each side holes out in the same number of strokes.
When a player has holed out and his opponent has been left with a stroke for the half, nothing that the player who has holed out can do shall deprive him of the half which he has already gained; but if the player thereafter incur any penalty, he shall concede the half of the hole to his opponent.

3. Winner of Match
A match (which consists of a stipulated round, unless otherwise decreed by the Committee) is won by the side which is leading by a number of holes greater than the number of holes remaining to be played.


RULE 7     STROKE PLAY

1. General Rule
The Rules for match play, so far as they are not at variance with specific Rules for stroke play, shall apply to stroke competitions.  The converse is not true.

2. Winner
The competitor who holes the stipulated round or rounds in the fewest strokes is the winner.


RULE 8     PRACTICE

During the play of a hole, a player shall not play any practice stroke.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes
(Practice on a competition course not during a round - Rule 37-3).

Note: A practice swing is not a practice stroke and may be taken at any place on the course provided the player does not violate the Rules.


RULE 9     ADVICE (Def. 2)

1.  Giving or Asking for Advice
A player or a competitor shall not give or ask for advice or take any action which may result in his receiving advice except from his caddie, his partner, or his partner's caddie.

2.  Indicating Line of Play
Except on the putting green, a player may have the line of play indicated to him by anyone, but no mark shall be placed on the line, nor shall anyone stand on or close to the line while the stroke is being played.
(Indicating line of play on putting green - Rule 35-1c).

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.


RULE 10     INFORMATION AS TO STROKES TAKEN

1. General
A player who has incurred a penalty shall state the fact to his opponent or marker as soon as possible.  The number of strokes a player has taken shall include any penalty strokes incurred.

2.  Match Play
A player is entitled at any time during the play of a hole to ascertain from his opponent the number of strokes the latter has taken.  If the opponent give wrong information as to the number of strokes he has taken and correct his mistake before the player has played his next stroke, he shall incur no penalty; if he fail to do so, he shall lose the hole.


RULE 11     DISPUTES AND DOUBT AS TO RIGHTS

1.  Claims in Match Play
In match play, if a dispute or doubt arise between the players on any point, in order that a claim may be considered it must be made before the players play from the next teeing ground, or, in the case of the last hole of the round, before they leave the putting green.  Any later claim based on newly discovered facts cannot be considered unless the player making the claim had been given wrong information by an opponent.

2.  Referee's Decision
If a referee has been appointed by the Committee, his decision shall be final.

3. Committee's Decision
In the absence of a referee, the players shall refer any dispute to the Committee, whose decision shall be final.
If the Committee cannot come to a decision, it shall refer the dispute to the Rules of Golf Committee of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, whose decision shall be final.
If the point in dispute or doubt has not been referred to the Rules of Golf Committee, the player or players have the right to refer an agreed statement through the Secretary of the Club to the Rules of Golf Committee for an opinion as to the correctness of the decision given.  The reply will be sent to the Secretary of the Club or Clubs concerned.
If play be conducted other than in accordance with the Rules of Golf, the Rules of Golf Committee will not give a decision on any question.

4.  Decision by Equity
If any point in dispute be not covered by the Rules or Local Rules, the decision shall be made in accordance with equity.

5. Doubt as to Procedure in Stroke Play
In stroke play only, when a competitor is doubtful of his rights or procedure, he may play out the hole with the ball in play and, at the same time, complete the play of the hole with a second ball under what he believes to be his rights under the Rules.  Before playing a stroke with either ball, the competitor must announce to his marker his intention to proceed under this Rule.
On completing the round the competitor must report the facts immediately to the Committee.
If it be found that the Rules allow the procedure adopted with the second ball, the score with the second ball shall be his score for the hole.  To play a second ball in these circumstances constitutes an election to score with that ball if the Rules permit. If the Rules do not allow play as the second ball was played, then the score with the original ball is the score for the hole.

Note 1: The sole purpose of this Rule is to enable a competitor to avoid disqualification when doubtful of his rights or procedure; a competitor is not permitted to play in two ways and then choose his score.
Note 2: The privilege of playing a second ball does not exist in match play.


SECTION V - TEEING GROUND

RULE 12     THE HONOUR (Def. 16)

1.  The Honour
a. Match Play.

A match begins by each side playing a ball from the first teeing ground in the order of the draw.  In the absence of a draw, the option of taking the honour shall be decided by lot.
The side which wins a hole shall take the honour at the next teeing ground. If a hole has been halved, the side which had the honour at the previous teeing ground shall retain it.
b. Stroke play.
The honour shall be taken as in match play.

2. Playing Out of Turn
a.  Match play.

If, on the teeing ground, a player play when his opponent should have should have had the honour, the opponent may immediately require the player to replay the stroke, in which case the player shall tee a ball and play in correct order, without penalty.
b. Stroke Play.
If, on the teeing ground, a competitor by mistake play out of turn, no penalty shall be incurred and the ball shall be played as it lies.

3.  Second Ball from Tee
If a player has to play a second ball from the tee, he shall do so after the opponent or the fellow-competitor has played his first.


RULE 13     PLAYING OUTSIDE TEEING GROUND (Def. 32)

1. Match Play
If a player, when starting a hole, play a ball from outside the teeing ground, the opponent may immediately require the player to replay the stroke, in which case the player shall tee a ball and play his next stroke from within the teeing ground, without penalty.

2. Stroke Play
If a competitor, when starting a hole, play his first stroke from outside the teeing ground, he shall count that stroke and any subsequent stroke so played and then play from within the teeing ground with the privilege of teeing his ball.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 13-2:  Disqualification

Note: Stance. - A player may take his stance outside the teeing ground to play a ball within it.


RULE 14     BALL FALLING OFF TEE

If a ball, when not in play, fall off a tee or be knocked off a tee by the player in addressing it, it may be re-teed without penalty, but if a stroke be made at the ball in these circumstances, whether the ball be moving or not, the stroke shall be counted but no penalty shall be incurred.


RULE 15     ORDER OF PLAY IN THREESOME OR FOURSOME

1.  General
In a threesome or a foursome, the partners shall strike off alternately from the teeing grounds, and thereafter shall strike alternately during play of each hole.  Penalty strokes (Definition 24 ) do not affect the order of play.

2.  Match Play
If a player play when his partner should have played, his side shall lose the hole.

3.  Stroke Play
If the partners play a stroke or strokes in incorrect order, such stroke or strokes shall be cancelled, and the side shall be penalised two strokes.  A ball shall then be put in play as nearly as possible at the spot from which the side first played in incorrect order. This must be done before a stroke has been played from the next teeing ground, or, in the case of the last hole of the round, before the side has left the putting green.  If they fail to do so, they shall be disqualified. If the first ball was played from the teeing ground, a ball may be teed; if from through the green or a hazard, it shall be dropped; if on the putting green, it shall be placed.


SECTION VI - THROUGH THE GREEN

RULE 16     BALL PLAYED AS IT LIES AND NOT TOUCHED

The ball shall not be touched purposely and must be played as it lies except as otherwise provided for in the Rules or Local Rules. The player may, without penalty, touch his ball with his club in the act of addressing it, providing he does not move the ball.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match Play - Loss of hole;   Stroke play - Two strokes.


RULE 17     IMPROVING LIE OR STANCE PROHIBITED

1. Improving Surface Prohibited
Except when teeing a ball, irregularities of surface which could in any way affect a player's lie shall not be removed or pressed down by the player, his partner or either of their caddies.

Note: Irregularities of surface include sand and loose soil.

2.  Long Grass and Bushes
If a ball lie in long grass, rushes, bushes, whins, heather or the like, only so much thereof shall be touched as will enable the player to find and identify his ball; nothing shall be done which may in any way improve its lie.
The player is not of necessity entitled to see the ball when playing a stroke.

3.  Moving Fixed or Growing Objects Prohibited
A player shall not improve, or allow to be improved, his line of play or the position or lie of his ball by moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing, except:-
a. As may occur in the course of fairly taking his stance;

or
b. In making the stroke or the backward movement of his club for the stroke.
The club may be grounded only lightly and must not be pressed on the ground.

4.  Building of Stance Prohibited
A player is always entitled to place his feet firmly on the ground when taking his stance, but he is not allowed to build a stance.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes


RULE 18     LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS (Def. 17)

1. Removal of Impediments
Any loose impediment may be removed without penalty, except when both the impediment and the ball lie in or touch a hazard.

2. Ball Moved
Through the green, if the ball move after any loose impediment lying within a club-length of it has been touched by the player, his partner, or either of their caddies, the player shall be deemed to have caused the ball to move. The penalty shall be one stroke, and the ball shall be played as it lies.
(Loose impediments on putting green - Rule 35-1a)


RULE 19     STRIKING AT BALL

1. Ball to be Fairly Struck at
The ball shall be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 19-1:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke Play - Two strokes.

2. Striking Ball Twice
If the player strike the ball twice when making a stroke, he shall count the stroke and add a penalty stroke, making two strokes in all.


RULE 20     BALL FARTHER FROM THE HOLE PLAYED FIRST

1. General
When the balls are in play, the ball farther from the hole shall be played first.  If the balls are equi-distant from the hole, the option of playing first shall be decided by lot.
A player or a competitor incurs no penalty if a ball is moved in measuring to determine which ball is farther from the hole.  A ball so moved shall be replaced.

2. Match Play
Through the green or in a hazard, if a player play when his opponent should have done so, the opponent may immediately require the player to replay the stroke.  In such a case, the player shall drop a ball as near as possible to the spot from which his previous stroke was played, and play in correct order without penalty.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 20-2: Loss of hole.
(Playing out of turn on putting green - Rule 35-2b.)

3. Stroke Play
If a competitor play out of turn, no penalty shall be incurred.  The ball shall be played as it lies.


SECTION VII - THE BALL - OCCURRENCES IN PLAY

RULE 21     PLAYING A WRONG BALL

The responsibility for playing his own ball rests with the player. Each player should put an identification mark on his ball.

1. General: Holing Out Original Ball
A player must hole out with the ball driven from the tee unless it be lost, unplayable, out of bounds, in a water hazard, unfit for play, or when under the Rules a ball may be substituted. In any such case the player may substitute another ball as provided for in the Rules.

2. Match Play
If a player play a stroke with any wrong ball except in a hazard, he shall lose the hole.  There is no penalty for a player playing a stroke or strokes with a wrong ball in a hazard provided he then play his own ball; the strokes so played with a wrong ball do not count in the player's score.

3. Stroke Play
If a competitor play a stroke or strokes with any wrong ball except in a hazard, he shall add two penalty strokes to his score for the hole and shall then play his own ball.  Strokes played with a wrong ball are not included in the score for the hole.  There is no penalty for a competitor playing a stroke or strokes with a wrong ball in a hazard provided he then play his own ball.
If a competitor discover that he has holed out with a wrong ball, he may rectify his mistake by finding and holing out with his own ball, subject to the above penalty, provided he has not made a stroke on the next teeing ground, or, in the case of the last hole of the round, left the putting green.
The competitor is disqualified if he does not rectify his mistake by finding his own ball, or, if it be lost, by putting a ball in play (Definition 5) as provided in Rule 29-1.


RULE 22     DROPPING AND PLACING

1. How to Drop a Ball
A ball shall be dropped in the following manner:
The player himself shall drop it. He shall face the hole, stand erect, and drop the ball behind him over his shoulder. If the ball touch the player, there is no penalty.
If a ball be dropped in any manner other than described above, the player is penalized one stroke.

2. Ball in Play when Dropped
A ball is in play when dropped and shall not be re-dropped except as provided below:
If the ball roll into a hazard or out of bounds, the player may re-drop it without penalty. If it be impossible, owing to the configuration of the ground, to prevent the ball from rolling into a hazard or out of bounds, it may be placed.
If the ball come to rest nearer the hole, it shall be re-dropped without penalty. If it be impossible, owing to the configuration of the ground, to prevent the ball from rolling nearer the hole, it must be placed, without penalty.

3. Dropping Ball in Hazard
A ball lifted in a hazard must be dropped and come to rest in that hazard unless otherwise provided for in the Rules. If the ball roll out of the hazard or come to rest nearer the hole, it shall be re-dropped without penalty or placed as provided for in Clause 2 of this Rule.

Note: The player incurs the penalty for improper dropping under Clause 1a of this Rule even if he has to proceed under Clause 2 or Clause 3.

4. When Dropped, when Placed
When a ball is lifted under a Rule or Local Rule, if it is to be played from through the green or a hazard, it shall be dropped as near as possible to the spot where it lay, except when a Rule permits it to be dropped or placed elsewhere; if it is to be played on the putting green of the hole being played, it shall be placed on the spot from which it was lifted, except when a Rule permits it to be placed elsewhere.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 22-2, 3 OR 4:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.


RULE 23     LIFTING BALL

1.  Lifting
A ball to be lifted under the Rules or Local Rules shall be lifted by the owner or his partner or either of their caddies.

2.  For Identification
Except in a hazard, the player may, without penalty, lift his ball in play for the purpose of identification, provided he lifts and replaces it on the spot from which it was lifted in the presence of his opponent in match play or marker in stroke play.
(Touching grass, etc., for identification - Rule 17-2.)

3.  Cleaning Ball
A ball lifted from a water hazard, casual water, ground under repair or under Rule 32 may be cleaned; otherwise, during the play of a hole a player may not clean a ball, except to the extent necessary for identification or if permitted by Local Rule.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 23-1, 2 or 3:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.

4. Stroke Play: Lifted Before Holed Out
If a competitor or his caddie lift his ball before it is holed out, except as provided for in the Rules or Local Rules, he may replace it under a penalty of two strokes, provided he does so before he has played a stroke from the next teeing ground, or, in the case of the last hole of the round, before he has left the putting green. If he fails so to replace it, he shall be disqualified.


RULE 24     BALL INTERFERING WITH PLAY

1. Match Play
a. Balls Within a Club-Length.

If a player's ball, when not on the putting green, lie within a club-length of an opponent's ball, the opponent's ball may be lifted, at the option of either player or opponent. The owner shall replace it after the player has played his stroke.
(Putting green - Rule 35-2a.)
b. Ball Outside Match.
If the ball of anyone not engaged in the match interfere with play, it may be lifted and shall be replaced after the player has played his stroke.

2. Stroke Play
A competitor may have any other player's ball lifted if it interfere with his play. A ball so lifted shall be replaced after the competitor has played his stroke.
If the owner of the ball refuse to comply with this Rule when requested to do so, the competitor making the request may lift the ball, and the owner of the ball shall be disqualified.
(Putting green - Rule 35-3a.)

3. Ball Accidentally Moved
If a ball be accidentally moved in complying with Clause 1 or 2 of this Rule, no penalty shall be incurred and the ball so moved shall be replaced.

4. Lie of Lifted Ball Altered
If the lie of a ball lifted under Clause 1 or 2 of this Rule be altered in playing the other ball, the lifted ball shall be placed as near as possible to the spot from which it was lifted and in a lie similar to that which it originally occupied.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.


RULE 25     A MOVING BALL

1.  Playing Moving Ball Prohibited
A player shall not play while his ball is moving.
Exceptions:-

Ball falling off tee - Rule 14.
Striking ball twice - Rule 19-2.
As hereunder - Rule 25-2.

When the ball only begins to move after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of his club for the stroke, he shall incur no penalty under this Rule, but he is not exempted from the provisions for:-
Ball moving after removal of loose impediment - Rules 18-2 and 35-1a.
Ball moving after it has been addressed - Rule 27-1d.

2.  Ball Moving in Water
When a ball is in water, the player may, without penalty, make a stroke at it while it is moving, but he must not delay to make his stroke in order to allow the wind or current to better the position of the ball.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;   Stroke play - Two strokes.


RULE 26     BALL IN MOTION STOPPED OR DEFLECTED

1.  General
a. By Outside Agency.

If a ball in motion be stopped or deflected by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green and the ball shall be played as it lies, without penalty.
b. Lodging in Outside Agency.
If a ball lodge in anything moving or in any mobile object which is at rest, the player shall, through the green or in a hazard, drop a ball, or on the putting green place a ball, as near as possible to the spot where the object was when the ball lodged in it, without penalty.

2.  Match Play
a. By Player.

If a player's ball be stopped or deflected by himself, his partner or either of their caddies, clubs or other equipment, his side shall lose the hole.
b. By Opponent.
If a player's ball be stopped or deflected by an opponent, his caddie, clubs or other equipment, the opponent's side shall lose the hole.

3.  Stroke play
a. By Competitor.

If a competitor's ball be stopped or deflected by himself, his partner or either of their caddies, clubs or other equipment, the competitor shall incur a penalty of two strokes. The ball shall be played as it lies, except when it lodges in the competitor's, his partner's or either of their caddies' clothes, clubs or other equipment, in which case the competitor shall, through the green or in a hazard, drop the ball, or on the putting green place the ball, as near as possible to where the article was when the ball lodged in it.
b. By Fellow-Competitor.
If a competitor's ball be stopped or deflected by a fellow-competitor, his caddie, clubs, ball or other equipment, it is a rub of the green and the ball shall be played as it lies.

Exceptions:- Ball lodging in fellow-competitor's clothes, etc. - Clause 1b of this Rule.
Ball striking fellow-competitor's ball within 20 yards of hole - Rule 35-3b.
Ball striking flagstick or person attending it - Rule 34-3a, b.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  stroke play - Two strokes


RULE 27     BALL AT REST MOVED (Def. 3)

1.  General
a. By Outside Agency.

If a ball at rest be moved or the lie altered by any outside agency except wind, the player shall, through the green or in a hazard, drop the ball, or on the putting green place the ball, as near as possible to the spot from which the ball was moved, without penalty.
Note: If the ball moved is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted.
b. During Search.
During search for a ball, if it be moved by an opponent, a fellow-competitor, or any of their caddies, no penalty shall be incurred. The player shall drop the ball as near as possible to the spot from which it was moved.
c. By Player.
When a ball is in play, if a player, his partner, or either of their caddies accidentally move it, or by touching anything cause it to move (except as otherwise provided for in the Rules), the player shall incur a penalty stroke and the ball shall be played as it lies.
d. Ball Moving after Address.
If a ball in play move after the player has addressed it (Definition 1), he shall be deemed to have caused it to move and shall incur a penalty stroke, and the ball shall be played as it lies.
e. Touching Loose Impediment.
If a player has touched a loose impediment (Rules 18 and 35-1a) and the ball move, but not until the player has addressed it (Definition 1), he shall be deemed to have caused it to move under paragraph (d) above, and shall incur a penalty stroke. The ball shall be played as it lies.

2.   Match Play
a. By Opponent.

If a player's ball be touched or moved by an opponent, his caddie, clubs or other equipment (except as otherwise provided for in the Rules), the opponent shall incur a penalty stroke. The player shall, through the green or in a hazard, drop the ball, or on the putting green place the ball, as near as possible to the spot from which the ball was moved.
b. Opponent's Ball Moved by Player's Ball.
If a player's ball move an opponent's ball, no penalty shall be incurred. The opponent may either play his ball as it lies, or, before another stroke is played by either side, he may, through the green or in a hazard, drop the ball, or on the putting green place the ball, as near as possible to the spot from which the ball was moved.
If the player's ball stop on the spot formerly occupied by the opponent's ball and the opponent declare his intention to drop his ball, the player shall first play another stroke, after which the opponent shall drop his ball.
(Putting green - Rule 35-2c)

3.  Stroke Play
Ball Moved by Fellow-Competitor.

If a competitor's ball be moved by a fellow-competitor, his caddie, clubs, ball or other equipment, no penalty shall be incurred. The competitor shall, through the green or in a hazard, drop the ball, or on the putting green place the ball, as near as possible to the spot from which the ball was moved.

Exception:-  Ball striking fellow-competitor's ball within 20 yards of hole - Rule 35-3b.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes


RULE 28     BALL UNFIT FOR PLAY

If a ball be so damaged as to be unfit for play, the player may replace it with another ball under the following conditions:-
If there be a referee, he shall decide whether the ball is unfit for play. If there be no referee, the player shall inform his opponent or fellow-competitor of his intention to replace it.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.

Note 1: Mud or loose impediments adhering to a ball do not make it unfit for play.
Note 2: Where the existence of mud could become an encumbrance to play, the Committee should frame a Local Rule providing for the removal of mud.


RULE 29     BALL LOST (Def. 6) OUT OF BOUNDS (Def. 21), OR UNPLAYABLE

1.  Lost or Out of Bounds
a. Procedure.

If a ball be lost or out of bounds, the player shall play his next stroke as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was played, adding a penalty stroke to his score for the hole.
If the original stroke was played from the teeing ground, a ball may be teed anywhere within the teeing ground; if from through the green or a hazard, it shall be dropped; if on the putting green, it shall be placed.
(Ball in casual water, etc. - Rule 32).
(Ball in a water hazard - Rule 33-2, 3).

b. Ascertaining Location.
A player has the right at any time of ascertaining whether his opponent's ball is out of bounds or not.
A person outside the match may point out the location of a ball for which search is being made.
c. Standing Out of Bounds.
A player may stand out of bounds to play a ball lying within bounds.

2.  Unplayable
In both match play and stroke play, if a player deem his ball to be unplayable, he shall either:-
a. Play a ball as provided for in Clause 1 above,

or
b. Drop and play a ball under penalty of two strokes, keeping the point from which the ball was lifted between himself and the hole; if this be impossible, he shall drop and play a ball under penalty of two strokes as near as possible to the spot from which the ball was lifted but not nearer the hole.
Note: The player is the sole judge as to when his ball is unplayable. It may be declared unplayable at any place on the course.

3.  Provisional Ball
A provisional ball for a ball lost, out of bounds or unplayable may be played as provided for in Rule 30.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.

Note: The penalty stroke provided for in Rule 29-1 may not be remitted by Local Rule.


RULE 30     PROVISIONAL BALL

1.  Procedure
If a ball may be lost, out of bounds, unplayable, or in a water hazard or lateral water hazard, to save time the player may at once play another ball provisionally as nearly as possible from the spot from which the original ball was played. If the original ball was played from the teeing ground, a ball may be teed anywhere within the teeing ground; if from through the green or a hazard, it shall be dropped; if on the putting green, it shall be placed.
a. The player is not obliged to state the reason for which he plays a provisional ball.
b. A provisional ball may be played only before the player or his partner goes forward to search for the original ball.
c. Play of a provisional ball from the teeing ground does not affect the order in which the sides play (Rule 12-3).
d. A provisional ball is never an outside agency.

2.  Election of Ball to be Played
The player may play a provisional ball until he reaches the place where the original ball is likely to be. He shall then elect to play either:-
a. The original ball, in which case there shall be no penalty,

or
b. The provisional ball, under penalty provided for in the Rule governing the particular case.

When the player makes his choice, the other ball shall then be retired from play.

3. Ball in Water Hazard: Option Prohibited
If a player has played a provisional ball under this Rule and the original ball be in a water hazard or lateral water hazard, he may play the original ball as it lies or continue the provisional ball in play; but he may not drop a ball to obtain relief in the manner provided for in Rule 33 or in any Local Rule.

4. Ball unplayable: Option Prohibited
If a player play a provisional ball under this Rule and deem his first ball unplayable, he must continue playing with the provisional ball; he may not then proceed under Rule 29-2b.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.


SECTION VIII - OBSTRUCTIONS, GROUND UNDER REPAIR, CASUAL WATER

RULE 31     OBSTRUCTIONS (Def. 20)

1. Movable Obstruction May be Removed
Any movable obstruction may be removed. If the ball be moved in so doing, it shall, through the green or in a hazard, be dropped, or on the putting green be placed, as near as possible to the spot from which it was moved but not nearer the hole, without penalty.

2.  Interference by Immovable Obstruction
If a ball lie on or touch an immovable obstruction, or if a player's stance or stroke or the backward movement of his club for the stroke be interfered with by any immovable obstruction which is within two club-lengths of his ball, the ball may be lifted without penalty and, through the green or in a hazard, dropped, or on the putting green placed, not more than two club-lengths from that point of the obstruction nearest which the ball originally lay, and must come to rest not nearer the hole.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes


RULE 32     CASUAL WATER (Def. 8), GROUND UNDER REPAIR (Def. 13), HOLE MADE BY BURROWING ANIMAL

1.  Ball Lying in or Touching
If a player's ball lie in or touch casual water, ground under repair, or a hole, cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird, the player may obtain relief as follows:-
a. Through the Green.
Through the green, the player may lift and drop the ball without penalty as near as possible to the spot where it lay, but not nearer the hole, on ground which avoids these conditions.
b. In a Hazard.
In a hazard, the player may lift and drop the ball either:-
Without penalty, in the hazard as near as possible to the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole, on ground which affords maximum relief from these conditions,

or
Under penalty of one stroke, outside the hazard as near as possible to the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.
c. On the Putting Green.
On the putting green, or if such conditions intervene between a ball lying on the putting green and the hole, the player may lift the ball and place it without penalty in the nearest position to where it lay which affords maximum relief from these conditions, but not nearer the hole.

2. Interference
If any of the conditions covered by this Rule interfere with the player's stance, stroke, or the backward movement of his club for the stroke, the ball may be treated as in Clause 1.

3. Ball Lost
If a ball be lost under a condition covered by this Rule, a ball may be dropped without penalty as near as possible to the place where the ball entered the area, on ground which avoids these conditions, but not nearer the hole.
In order that a ball may be treated as lost, there must be reasonable evidence to that effect.

4. Re-Dropping
If a ball, when dropped, roll into a position covered by this Rule, it may be re-dropped without penalty. If it be impossible to drop a ball so that it will not roll into such condition, it shall be placed.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.


SECTION IX - HAZARDS, WATER HAZARDS

RULE 33     HAZARDS AND WATER HAZARDS (Def. 14 )

1. Touching Hazard Prohibited
When a ball lies in or touches a hazard or a water hazard, nothing shall be done which may in any way improve its lie.
Before making a stroke, the player shall not touch the ground or the water with a club or otherwise, nor touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the hazard, nor test the condition of any similar hazard; subject to the following considerations:-

a. Stance.
The player may place his feet firmly in taking his stance.
b. Touching Fixed or Growing Object.
In addressing the ball or in the stroke or in the backward movement for the stroke, the club may touch any wall, paling or other fixed object or any grass, bush, tree, or other growing substance (but the club may not be soled in the hazard).
c. Obstructions.
The player is entitled to relief from obstructions under the provisions of Rule 31.
d. Loose Impediment outside Hazard.
Any loose impediment not in or touching the hazard may be removed.
e. Finding Ball.
The player is entitled to find his ball in accordance with Rule 17-2. If the ball be covered by sand, fallen leaves or the like, he may remove as much thereof as will enable him to see the top of the ball; if the ball be moved in such removal, no penalty shall be incurred, and the ball shall be replaced.
f. Placing Clubs in Hazard.
The player may, without penalty, place his clubs in the hazard prior to making a stroke, provided nothing is done which may improve the lie of the ball or constitute testing the soil.
g. Smoothing Irregularities.
After playing a stroke, there is no penalty should the player smooth irregularities in the hazard made by footprints or the soil displaced by a stroke, provided nothing is done that improves the lie of the ball or assists the player in his subsequent play of the hole.
h. Casual Water, Ground under Repair.
The player is entitled to relief from casual water, ground under repair, and otherwise as provided for in Rule 32.
i. Interference by a Ball.
The player is entitled to relief from interference by another ball under the provisions of Rule 24.

2. Ball in Water Hazard
If a ball lie or be lost in a water hazard (whether the ball lie in water or not), the player may drop a ball, under penalty of one stroke, either:-
a. Behind the water hazard, keeping the spot at which the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard between himself and the hole,

or
b. As near as possible to the spot from which the original ball was played; if the stroke was played from the teeing ground, the ball may be teed anywhere within the teeing ground.

3. Ball in Lateral Water Hazard (Def. 14-c)
If a ball lie or be lost in a lateral water hazard, the player may, under penalty of one stroke, either:-
a. Play his next stroke in accordance with Clause 2b of this Rule,

or
b. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the margin of either side of the lateral water hazard, opposite the point where the ball last crossed the hazard margin. The ball must come to rest not nearer the hole.

4. Provisional Ball
A provisional ball may be played for a ball in a water hazard or lateral water hazard as provided for in Rule 30.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play - Loss of hole;  Stroke play - Two strokes.

Note 1: It is a question of fact whether a ball lost after having been struck toward a water hazard is lost inside or outside the hazard. In order to treat the ball as lost in the hazard, there must be reasonable evidence that the ball lodged therein. In the absence of such evidence, the ball must be treated as a lost ball and Rule 29-1 applies.
Note 2:
There is no limit to how far behind a water hazard a ball may be dropped.


SECTION X - THE FLAGSTICK

RULE 34     THE FLAGSTICK (Def. 12)

1. General
a. May be Attended or Held Up.

The flagstick may be attended or held up at any time to indicate the position of the hole.
b. Interfering with Play.
The player may have the flagstick removed at any time if he consider that it might interfere with his play.
c. Ball Resting Against Flagstick.
If the ball rest against the flagstick when it is in the hole, the player shall be entitled to have the flagstick removed, and if the ball fall into the hole the player shall be deemed to have holed out at his last stroke.
Note: A referee, observer, marker, steward or other outside agency should not attend the flagstick.

2. Match Play
a. Deemed to Attend Flagstick.

If a player, or a caddie attend or remove the flagstick when a stroke is being played, or stand near the hole for that purpose, he shall be deemed to attend the flagstick until the ball comes to rest.
b. Flagstick Unattended.
The player incurs no penalty if his ball strike the flagstick when it is not attended or has been removed.
c. Opponent May Have Flagstick Removed.
The opponent may have the flagstick removed if he consider that it might be of assistance to the player, but the player is always entitled to send his own caddie to stand at the hole and to hold the flagstick to indicate the position of the hole while he is playing his stroke. A player may not require an opponent, or an opponent's caddie to indicate the position of the hole.
d. Flagstick Attended by Player's Side
If the player's ball strike the flagstick when it is attended by or has been removed by himself, his partner or either of their caddies, the player's side shall lose the hole.
e. Flagstick Attended by Opponent
If the player's ball strike the flagstick when it is attended by or has been removed by an opponent or an opponent's caddie, the opponent's side shall lose the hole.

3. Stroke Play
a. Ball within Twenty Yards of Hole.

When a competitor's ball lying within twenty yards of the hole is played and strikes or is stopped by the flagstick, whether it is in the hole or not, or the person attending the flagstick, the competitor shall incur a penalty of two strokes and shall play the ball as it lies.
b. Ball more than Twenty Yards from Hole.
A competitor incurs no penalty if, in playing from farther than twenty yards from the hole, his ball strike the flagstick when it is not attended or has not been removed.
If the flagstick is attended or has been removed at the player's request and his ball strike the flagstick or the person attending it, the player shall incur a penalty of two strokes and shall play the ball as it lies.


SECTION XI - PUTTING GREEN AND WITHIN TWENTY YARDS OF HOLE

RULE 35     THE PUTTING GREEN (Def. 25)

1. General
a. Loose Impediments.

A player may move any loose impediment from the putting green either by picking it up or brushing it aside either with his hand or a club; nothing may be pressed down, and if a club is used it shall not be pressed with more than its own weight on the ground.
If the player's ball move after any loose impediment lying within six inches of it has been touched by the player, his partner, or either of their caddies, the player shall be deemed to have caused the ball to move and shall incur a penalty stroke. The ball shall be played as it lies.
b. Touching Line of Putt.
Except as provided for in Clause 1a of this Rule, the line of the putt must not be touched. The player shall, however, incur no penalty in placing the club in front of the ball in the act of addressing it, but nothing may be pressed down.
c. Direction for Putting.
When the player's ball is on the putting green, the player's caddie, his partner or his partner's caddie may, before the stroke is played, point out a line for putting, but the line of the putt shall not be touched in front of, to the side of, or behind the hole.
No mark shall be placed anywhere on the putting green to indicate a line for putting.
d. Testing Surface.
During the play of a hole, a player shall not test the surface of the putting green; he shall not roll a ball or roughen or scrape the surface.
e. Other Ball to be at Rest.
The player shall not play until his opponent's or fellow-competitor's ball is at rest.
f. Lifting Other Ball Prohibited.
While the player's ball is in motion, an opponent's or fellow-competitor's ball shall not be lifted or touched.
g. Exerting Influence on Ball.
Any player or caddie engaged in the match may stand at the hole, but no player or caddie shall take any action to influence the position or the movement of a ball.
h. Ball on a Wrong Putting Green.
A ball lying on a putting green other than that of the hole being played must be lifted and dropped off the putting green as near as possible to where the ball lay but not nearer the hole and not in a hazard, without penalty.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 35-1:
Match play - Loss of hole; Stroke play - Two strokes.

2. Match Play
a. Ball Influencing Play

When the ball nearer the hole lies on the putting green it may be lifted without penalty, at the option of the player, or the opponent, if either consider that it might interfere with or be of assistance to the player.
The lifted ball shall be replaced after the player has played his stroke. If the player's ball stop on the spot formerly occupied by the lifted ball, the player shall first play another stroke before the lifted ball is replaced.
b. Playing Out of Turn.
If a player play when his opponent should have done so, the opponent may immediately require the player to replay the stroke, in which case the player shall replace his ball and play in correct order, without penalty.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 35-2b: Loss of hole.

c. Opponent's Ball Displaced.
If the player's ball knock the opponent's ball into the hole, the opponent shall be deemed to have holed out at his last stroke.
If the player's ball move the opponent's ball, the opponent may replace it, but this must be done before another stroke is played by either side. If the player's ball stop on the spot formerly occupied by the opponent's ball, and the opponent declare his intention to replace his ball, the player shall first play another stroke, after which the opponent shall replace his ball.
d. Opponent's Ball Lying on Lip of Hole.
When the player has holed out and the opponent's ball has come to rest, the player may knock away the opponent's ball, claiming the hole or conceding the half, as the case may be.
If the player does not knock away the opponent's ball and it fall into the hole, the opponent shall be deemed to have holed out at his last stroke.
If the opponent's ball has not been knocked away, the opponent shall play his next stroke without delay.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 35-2d: Loss of hole.

Note: Whether a ball has come to rest is a question of fact. If there be reasonable doubt, the owner of the ball is not allowed more than a momentary delay to settle the doubt.

3. Stroke Play
a. Ball Nearer Hole.

When the ball nearer the hole lies on the putting green, if either the competitor or a fellow-competitor consider that it might interfere with or be of assistance to the competitor, the ball shall be lifted or played, at the option of its owner, without penalty.
If the owner of the ball refuse to comply with this Rule when requested to do so, the competitor making the request may lift the ball, and the owner of the ball shall be disqualified.
Note: It is recommended that the ball nearer the hole be played, rather than lifted, unless the subsequent play of a fellow-competitor is likely to be affected.
b. Ball Striking Fellow-Competitor's Ball.
When both balls lie within twenty yards of the hole and neither ball is in a hazard, if the competitor's ball strike the ball of a fellow-competitor, the competitor shall incur a penalty of two strokes and shall play his ball as it lies. The fellow-competitor's ball shall be at once replaced.
c. Ball Lifted Before Holed Out.
For ball lifted before holed out, see Rule 23-4.


SECTION XII - COMPETITIONS

RULE 36     THE COMMITTEE (Def. 9)

1. Conditions
The Committee shall lay down the conditions under which a competition is to be played.
Certain special rules governing stroke play are so substantially different from those governing match play that combining the two forms of play is not practicable and is not permitted. The results of matches played and the scores returned in these circumstances shall not be accepted.

2. Order and Times of Starting
a. General.

The Committee shall arrange the order and times of starting, which, when possible, shall be decided by lot.
b. Match Play.
When a competition is played over an extended period, the Committee shall lay down the limit of time within which each round shall be completed.
When players are allowed to arrange the date of their match within these limits, the Committee should announce that the match must be played at a stated hour on the last day of the period unless the players agree to a prior date.
c. Stroke Play.
Competitors shall play in couples unless the Committee authorises play by threes or fours. If there be a single competitor, the Committee shall provide him with a player who shall mark for him, or provide a marker and allow him to compete alone, or allow him to compete with another group.

3. Decision of Ties
The Committee shall announce the manner, day and time for the decision of a halved match or of a tie, whether played on level terms or under handicap.
A halved match shall not be decided by stroke play. A tie in stroke play shall not be decided by a match.

4. The Course
a. New Holes.

New holes should be made on the day on which a stroke competition begins, and at such other times as the Committee considers necessary.
b. Practice Ground.
Where there is no practice ground available outside the area of a competition course, the Committee shall lay down the area on which competitors may practise. On the day or days of a stroke competition, such areas shall not include any putting green on a competition course.
c. Course Unplayable.
If the Committee or its authorised representative consider that the course is not in a playable condition, or that insufficient light renders the proper playing of the game impossible, it shall have the power in match and stroke play to order a temporary suspension of play, or in stroke play to declare play null and void and to cancel all scores for the round in question.
When play has been temporarily suspended, it shall be resumed from where it was discontinued, even though resumption occur on a subsequent day.

5. Modification of Penalty
The Committee has no power to waive a Rule of Golf. A penalty of disqualification, however, may, in exceptional individual cases, be waived or be modified if the Committee consider such action warranted.

6. Defining Bounds and Margins
The Committee shall define accurately:-
a. The boundaries of the course.
b. The extent of hazards, water hazards, and lateral water hazards, where there is any doubt.
c. Ground under repair.

7. Local Rules
a. Policy.

The Committee shall make Local Rules for abnormal conditions, having regard to the policy of the Governing Authority of the country concerned as set forth in the Appendix attached to these Rules.
b. Waiving Penalty Prohibited.
A penalty imposed by a Rule of Golf shall not be waived by a Local Rule.


RULE 37     THE PLAYER

1. Conditions
The player shall be responsible for acquainting himself with the conditions under which the competition is to be played.

2. Caddie and Forecaddie
For any breach of a Rule or Local Rule by his caddie, the player incurs the relative penalty.
The player may not employ a forecaddie, under penalty of disqualification.
If a forecaddie be employed by the Committee, he is an outside agency (Definition 22 ).

3. Practice Prohibited: Stroke Play
On any day of a stroke competition, a competitor before starting shall not practise on the course except in the area defined by the Committee as practice ground or as the Committee may otherwise permit.

Note:- For practice during hole, Rule 8 applies.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 37-3: Disqualification.

4. Handicap
Before starting in a handicap competition, the player shall check his handicap from the official list, and in the case of match play or bogey competitions he shall inform himself of the holes at which strokes are given or taken.

5. Time and Order of Starting
Players shall start at the times and in the order arranged by the Committee.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 37-5: Disqualification.

6. Discontinuance of Play
Players shall not discontinue play on account of bad weather or for any other reason, unless:-
a. They consider that there be danger from lightning,

or
b. If there be some other reason, such as sudden illness, which the Committee considers satisfactory.
If the player discontinue play without specific permission from the Committee, he shall report to the Committee as soon as possible.

General Exception:- Players discontinuing match play by agreement are not subject to disqualification unless by so doing the competition is delayed.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 37-6: Disqualification.

7. Undue Delay
Players shall at all times play without undue delay. Between the completion of a hole and driving off the next tee, a player may not delay play by practising or in any other way.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 37-7:
*Match play - Loss of hole; Stroke play - Two strokes.
For repeated offence - Disqualification.

*Note: If the player delay play between holes, he is delaying the play of the next hole, and the penalty applies to that hole.


RULE 38     SCORING IN STROKE PLAY

1. Recording Scores
The Committee shall issue to each competitor's marker a score card containing the date and the competitor's name.
After each hole the marker shall check the score with the competitor. On completion of the round the marker shall sign the card and hand it to the competitor; should more than one marker record the scores, each shall sign the part for which he is responsible.

2. Checking Scores
The competitor shall check his score for each hole, settle any doubtful points with the Committee, ensure the marker has signed the card, countersign the card himself, and return it to the Committee as soon as possible.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 38-2: Disqualification.

The competitor is solely responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole. The Committee is responsible for the addition of scores and application of the correct handicap.

3. No Alteration of Scores
No alteration may be made on a card after the competitor has returned it to the Committee.
If the competitor return a score for any hole lower than actually played, he shall be disqualified.
A score higher than actually played must stand as returned.


RULE 39     BOGEY OR PAR COMPETITIONS

1. Conditions
a. A bogey or a par competition is a form of stroke competition in which play is against a fixed score at each hole of the stipulated round or rounds.
b. The reckoning is made as in match play.
c. The winner is the competitor who is most successful in the aggregate of holes.

2. Rules for Stroke Play Apply
The Rules for stroke play shall apply with the following exceptions:-
a. No return at any Hole.
Any hole for which a competitor makes no return shall be regarded as a loss.
b. Scoring Cards.
The holes at which strokes are to be given or taken shall be indicated on the card issued by the Committee.
c. Recording Scores.
The marker shall be responsible for marking only the gross number of strokes at each hole where a competitor makes a net score equal to or less than the fixed score.

3. Disqualification Penalties
a. From the Competition.

A competitor shall be disqualified from the competition for a breach of any of the following:-
Rule 2 - The Club and the Ball.
Rule 3 - Maximum of Fourteen Clubs.
Rule 4 - Agreement to Waive Rules Prohibited.
Rule 24-2 - Ball Interfering with Play - Stroke Play.
Rule 35-3a - Putting Green: Stroke Play, Ball Nearer Hole.
Rule 37-2 - Caddie and Forecaddie.
Rule 37-3 - Practice Prohibited: Stroke Play.
Rule 37-5 - Time and Order of Starting.
Rule 37-6 - Discontinuance of Play.
Rule 37-7 - Undue Delay (repeated offence).
Rule 38-2 - Checking Scores.
Rule 38-3 - No Alteration of Scores, except that the competitor shall not be disqualified when a breach of this Rule does not affect the result of the hole.
b. For a Hole.
In all other cases where a breach of a Rule would entail disqualification, the competitor shall be disqualified for only the hole at which the breach occurred.


SECTION XIII - THREE-BALL, BEST-BALL AND FOUR-BALL PLAY

RULE 40     THREE-BALL, BEST-BALL AND FOUR-BALL MATCH PLAY

1. General
a. Rules of Golf Apply.

The Rules of Golf, so far as they are not at variance with the following special Rules, shall apply to all three-ball, best-ball and four-ball matches.
b. Ball Influencing Play.
Any player may have any ball (except the ball about to be played) lifted or played at the option of the owner, if he consider that it might interfere with or be of assistance to a player or side, but this is only permissible before the player has played his stroke. The lifted ball shall be replaced after the player has played his stroke.
c. Ball Moved by Another Ball.
If a player's ball move any other ball in the match, the owner of the moved ball shall, through the green or in a hazard, drop his ball, or on the putting green place his ball, as near as possible to the spot from which the ball was moved, without penalty.
d. Playing out of Turn.
Through the green or in a hazard, a player shall incur no penalty if he play when an opponent should have done so. The stroke cannot be replayed; the ball shall be played as it lies.
On the putting green, if a player play when an opponent should have done so, the opponent may immediately require the player to replay the stroke, in which case the player shall replace his ball and play in correct order, without penalty.

2. Three-Ball Match Play
In a three-ball match, each player is playing two distinct matches.
a. Ball Stopped or Deflected by an Opponent.
If a player's ball be stopped or deflected by an opponent, his caddie, clubs or other equipment, that opponent shall lose the hole in his match with the player. The other opponent shall treat the occurrence as a rub of the green (Definition 27).
b. Ball at Rest Moved by an Opponent.
If the player's ball be moved by an opponent, his caddie, clubs or other equipment (except in searching for it - Rule 27-1b), Rule 27-2a applies. That opponent shall incur a penalty stroke in his match with the player, but not in his match with the other opponent.

3. Best-Ball and Four-Ball Match Play
a. Order of Play.

Balls belonging to the same side shall be played in the order the side considers best.
b. Ball Stopped by Player's Side.
If a player's ball be stopped or deflected by the player, his partner or either of their caddies, clubs or other equipment, the player is disqualified for the hole. His partner incurs no penalty.
c. Ball Stopped by Opponent's Side.
If a player's ball be stopped or deflected by an opponent, his caddie, clubs or other equipment, the opponent's side shall lose the hole.
d. Partner's Ball Moved by Player.
If a player, his partner, or either of their caddies move the partner's ball or by touching anything cause it to move (except as otherwise provided for in the Rules), the owner of the ball shall incur a penalty stroke, but the penalty shall not apply to his partner. The ball shall be played as it lies.
e. Ball Moved by Opponent's Side.
If a player's ball be touched or moved by an opponent, his caddie, clubs or other equipment (except as otherwise provided for in the Rules), that opponent shall incur a penalty stroke, but the penalty shall not apply to the other opponent. The player shall, though the green or in a hazard, drop the ball, or on the putting green place the ball, as near as possible to the spot from which the ball was moved.
f. Playing Wrong Ball.
If a player play a stroke with any wrong ball except in a hazard, the player shall be disqualified for that hole, but the penalty shall not apply to his partner. There is no penalty for a player playing a stroke or strokes with a wrong ball in a hazard provided he then play his own ball.
If the ball wrongly played be a ball in the match, its owner shall, though the green or in a hazard, drop a ball, or on the putting green place the ball, as near as possible to the spot from which the ball was wrongly played.
g. Penalty Applies to Player Only.
In all other cases where, by the Rules of Golf, a player would incur a penalty, the penalty shall not apply to his partner.


RULE 41     FOUR-BALL STROKE PLAY

1. Conditions
a. The Rules of Golf, so far as they are not at variance with the following special Rules, shall apply to four-ball stroke play.
b. In four-ball stroke play two players play as partners, each playing his own ball.
c. The lower score of the partners is the score of the hole. If one partner fail to complete the play of a hole, there is no penalty.

2. Lifting Ball
a. Lifting Permitted.

Any competitor may have any ball (except the ball about to be played) lifted or played, at the option of the owner, if he consider that it might interfere with or be of assistance to a competitor or side, but this is only permissible before the next stroke is played by the competitor whose turn it is. If the owner of the ball refuses to comply with this Rule when requested to do so, the competitor making the request may lift the ball, and the owner of the ball shall be disqualified.
b. Lifting Prohibited
On the putting green, while the competitor's ball is in motion, his partner's or a fellow-competitor's ball shall not be lifted or touched.

3. Balls to be at Rest
On the putting green, the competitor shall not play until his partner's and the fellow-competitors' balls are at rest.

4. Balls Struck by Another Ball
When the balls concerned lie within 20 yards of the hole and neither ball is in a hazard, if a competitor's ball strike any other ball, the competitor shall incur a penalty of two strokes and shall play his ball as it lies. The other ball shall be at once replaced.
In all other cases, if a competitor's ball strike any other ball, the competitor shall play his ball as it lies; the owner of the moved ball shall, though the green or in a hazard, drop his ball, or on the putting green place his ball as near as possible to the spot where it originally lay, without penalty.

5. Order of Play
Balls belonging to the same side may be played in the order the side considers best.

6. Playing Wrong Ball
If a competitor play a stroke or strokes with any wrong ball except in a hazard, he shall add two penalty strokes to his score for the hole and shall then play his own ball. (Rule 21-3 governs.)
If the ball wrongly played be a ball in the competition, its owner shall though the green or in a hazard, drop a ball, or on the putting green place the ball, as near as possible to the spot where the ball originally lay.

7. Disqualification Penalties
a. From the Competition.

A competitor shall be disqualified from the competition for a breach of any of the following, but the penalty shall not apply to his partner:-
Rule 2 - The Club and the Ball.
Rule 3 - Maximum of Fourteen Clubs.
Rule 24-2 - Ball Interfering with Play - Stroke Play.
Rule 35-3a - Putting Green: Stroke Play, Ball Nearer Hole.
Rule 37-2 - Caddie and Forecaddie.
Rule 37-3 - Practice Prohibited: Stroke Play.
Rule 37-5 - Time and Order of Starting.
Rule 37-6 - Discontinuance of Play.
Rule 37-7 - Undue Delay (repeated offence).
Rule 38-2 - Checking Scores.
Rule 38-3 - No Alteration of Scores, except that the competitor shall not be disqualified when a breach of this Rule does not affect the result of the hole.
A side shall be disqualified from the competition for:
A breach of Rule 4- Agreement to waive Rules prohibited.
A breach by both partners, at the same hole, of a Rule or Rules the penalty for which is disqualification either from the competition or for a hole.
b. For a Hole.
In all other cases where a breach of a Rule would entail disqualification, the competitor shall be disqualified only for the hole at which the breach occurred.

8. Penalty Applies to Competitor Only
In all other cases where, by the Rules of Golf, a competitor would incur a penalty, the penalty shall not apply to his partner.


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Appendix
Rules of Amateur Status