rules of play


  • the real rules of play

    Best Ball Rules


    1. Teams may be two, three, or four players.
    2. Each player plays their own ball, the best score on the hole is the team score.
      Note: If you cannot be the low score on the hole you may pick up.
    3. This format follows on every hole.
    4. If the event is net scores, using the players handicap record the appropriate net score for each hole.
    5. A team captain should be designated. The team captain is responsible for keeping the score and making sure net scores are correct if applicable.


    Scramble Rules


    1. Teams are made up of four (4) players.
    2. Each player tees off from each hole. The team captain decides which drive is the best.
    3. After selecting the best drive, the other players must pick up their ball and proceed to the selected drive.
    4. From this point, each player plays a second shot.
    5. The team captain again selects the best shot and the remaining three (3) golfers pick up their balls.
    6. This proceeds, including putting, until the hole is completed.




    1. Putt out all holes – no “gimmies”.
    2. Each team must use at least three (3) tee shots from each team member. (optional rule)
    3. The team captain is responsible for keeping the score and making sure each player accounts for a minimum of three (3) tee shots. This should be marked on the score card using player’s initials.
    4. If playing a 3-some, a minimum of four (4) tee shots is required from each player.


    Dress Code


    Proper dress is required at all times. No track pants or sweat pants, jeans, cut-offs, halter tops, tennis or short shorts more than 4 inches above the knee are permitted. Only golf or soft-soled shoes may be worn on the course. Golfers in violation of this code will be denied access to, or removed from the course. In case of removal, no refunds will be given.


  • bunker play

    Bunkers are one of the major hazards on a golf course. There are certain rules of etiquette that apply to bunker play:


    • A player should always enter and leave a bunker at its lowest point (the face of a bunker takes years to develop and should be avoided).
    • According to the Rules of Golf, you may never ground your club (allowing your club to touch the ground, sand, water, or anything else, during a practice swing). Doing so will incur a two-stroke penalty.
    • You may not remove any loose impediments from the bunker. This includes stones, twigs or leaves.
    • You may not test the condition of the mud or sand in the bunker by touching it.
    • Be aware of the pace of play. For amateur golfers, after two or three failed attempts to get the ball out of the bunker, you should surrender to the hazard by picking up the ball and dropping it outside the bunker for further play. Obviously this is not allowed for tournament play, but for informal rounds, this is an acceptable way to move the game along.
    • Always rake the bunker after use — and not just your footprints, but anything else that needs raking, as well. Leave the rake outside the bunker after use
  • putting

    • Don’t step in the path of a ball lying on the green — your foot may make a depression and cause a ball to roll off path.
    • When marking your ball on a green, place a coin or marker behind your ball, on the opposite side of the ball as the hole. Rules of Golf also allow you to clean your ball at this time!
    • The Rules of Golf say that a ball can not strike a flagstick when it is hit from the green (though it’s okay if you’ve hit the flagstick from a shot off the green).
    • Players should remain on or close to the putting green until all other players in the group have holed out.
    • Players should not stand on another players putting line and when he is taking his stroke they should stand far enough away so as not to cast a shadow.
    • When tending the pin for another golfer stand at least an arms length away, ensuring that you don’t cast a shadow, and with your free hand, hold the flag so it doesn’t flap in the breeze.
  • honours

    Honours refers to the order in which players tee off at any given hole. When a player earns “honours” they earn the right to play their ball before the rest of the players in the group. Generally speaking, the person with the lowest score on the previous hole is the first to tee off at the next hole, followed by the player with the second best score, and so on.


    Etiquette dictates that no other golfer in the group should step up to the tee box before the person who holds the honours has shot (or has indicated that another golfer can go before them). In the event of a tie at any given hole, golfers maintain their place in the rotation until someone wins the next hole.


    The only exception to the honours rule is when the group has agreed to play “ready golf”, which means any player can “hit when ready”. This style of play is often chosen to speed up the pace of the round, and in itself is considered good golf etiquette when conditions are slow.

  • slow play

    While golfers love being out on the course, they don’t want their game to take all day! Slow play is often a bad habit that has been acquired over time, or perhaps simply the result of never having been taught the proper etiquette of maintaining a good pace. Ultimately it is your responsibility to keep up with the group of golfers in front you, not to simply stay in front of the golfers behind you! Pace of play is very important to your playing partners and to everyone else on the course whose play you may be impeding! There are a number of things you can do to speed up your play without rushing your game.


    Tips on Picking Up the Pace


    • Be ready to play: plan your shot before it’s your turn.
    • Have a pre-shot routine. Taking one practice swing before each shot (rather than multiple) will shave considerable time off your game.
    • Choose the correct set of tees from which to play.
    • High handicappers can play with low handicappers, as long as they keep up!
    • Put your conversation on hold when it’s your turn to hit the ball.
    • Try to keep an eye on everyone’s drives, so as not to lose sight of balls.
    • Don’t be too strict about order of play — let the short-hitter hit first off the tee if the group ahead hasn’t cleared the green yet.
    • Carry extra tees, an extra ball and ball markers in your pocket.
    • Don’t spend too much time looking for a lost ball. If you insist on looking for a ball, golf etiquette says to wave through the group behind you.
    • When chipping near the green, carry your putter with you so you don’t have to return to your bag.
    • Mark your score after reaching the next tee, not while lingering on the green
  • pitch marks on the green

    A ball hitting the green often leaves an indent or pitch mark where it makes contact with the ground. Golf rules (rule #16-1c) allow you to repair any pitch marks on the green before putting. Players may repair any hole plug or damage to the putting green caused by the impact of a ball, whether or not their ball lies on the putting green. If a ball is moved accidentally during the course of a repair, it can be replaced without penalty.


    It is accepted practice to repair any pitch marks you make, as well as common courtesy to fix one or two more while you are at it, to help keep your course in top condition. To repair a pitch mark, insert a turf repair tool into the ground on the high side of the pitch mark, press the tool forward to push the soil back up into place (be sure not to press backwards and pull the roots loose, as this destroys the grass). If required, repeat the process on the other side of the pitch mark. Finish by gently tapping the spot with your putter.


    Remember that virtually any shot that hits the green from a fly position will cause some damage, so be sure to find it and repair it.

  • proper attire

    Golf was originally developed as a “gentleman’s” game, and as such golf clothing reflects the civilized rules of this gentleman’s game. Each golf course may have its own rules and regulations regarding appropriate golf attire, so it’s always best to check first.


    In most cases, however, golfers and caddies usually abide by an industry standard that includes slacks, a collared shirt and golf shoes for men, and slacks or knee-length skirt or shorts, collared shirt and golf shoes for women. At virtually all courses, prohibited items of attire include short-shorts, swimwear, denim of any type, t-shirts and tank tops.

    Did you know…


    In the 1800 and early 1900s, tartan patterns were the style of the day on the course! Even in the 1970s tartan was held in high esteem (think Caddyshack…)

  • the tee box

    The tee box is considered the stage where every golfer has their turn to shine. It is important that golfers choose the correct tee for their skill level, no matter where the other golfers in their party are playing from. The different tee positions help even out the playing field for golfers of different playing abilities.


    Etiquette dictates that:


    • all other golfers remain quiet when a golfer is in the tee box
    • tee your ball evenly with or behind the two markers in the tee box
    • if you swing and miss, it counts as one stroke
    • if you knock the ball off the tee during a practice swing, you are allowed to re-tee without incurring a penalty
    • other golfers should stand out of the golfer’s line of vision (and that includes your shadow)
    • all golfers in the party should watch the shot as it leaves the tee-box (not all golfers like to watch their balls land, especially if it’s a bad shot).
  • the leaf rule

    When the leaves begin to fall in earnest (often starting in mid-September) many golfers consider invoking the “Leaf” Rule. Not an “official” rule under the Rules of Golf, the Leaf Rule was introduced in the United States and is widely considered acceptable in climates where trees lose their leaves and make finding balls difficult.


    When considering use of the Leaf Rule it is best that golfers agree to its use before the start of the round. Once agreed to, the Leaf Rule states that if a ball is lost in the leaves, it is not treated as a lost ball, with the subsequent stroke and distance penalty.


    The Leaf Rule allows someone who has lost their ball in the fallen leaves to drop a free ball at the approximate spot where the ball was lost rather than spending a lot of time looking for it and delaying the game. If your ball goes off the fairway into a leaf covered area, search the area for 5 minutes, and then drop and place a new ball into play with no penalty stroke.


    However, if you are scoring for handicap purposes, until October 31st, you can not invoke the “leaf rule” – you must count all your strokes. After October 31st, go ahead, since scores after this date are not included in handicapping.

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