Rule 1 - The Game, Player Conduct and the Rules

Purpose of Rule: Rule 1 introduces these central principles of the game:

1.1 The Game of Golf

Golf is played by striking your ball with a club, and each hole starts from the teeing areaTeeing Area: The area you must play from in starting the hole you are playing. The teeing area is a rectangle that is two club-lengths deep where: and ends when your ball is holedHoled: When your ball is at rest in the hole after your stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green. When the Rules refer to “holing out” or “hole out,” it means when your ball is holed. on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used)..

You should normally play the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee. The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground. as you find it and play your ball as it lies.

1.2 Standards of Player Conduct

All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by:

You should check to see whether the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. has adopted a Code of Conduct, as you could get a penalty if you do not follow it.

1.3 Playing by the Rules

You are expected to recognize when you have breached a Rule and to be honest in applying your own penalties.

You may ask for help with the Rules from a refereeReferee: An official named by the Committee to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules. or the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course., but if help is not available in a reasonable time you must play on and raise the issue later.

There are times when you must make estimates, such as the spot where to replace your ball, the point where your ball crossed the edge of a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. or when taking relief under the Rules.  You are expected to consider all available information and to make a reasonable judgment in the circumstances.  

A penalty applies when a breach of a Rule results from your own actions, the actions of your caddieCaddie: Someone who helps you during a round to carry, transport or handle your clubs and/or give you advice. A caddie may also help you in other ways allowed by the Rules (see Rule 10.3b)., or the actions of another person acting with your authority or knowledge.

Penalties are meant to cancel out any potential advantage. There are three main penalty levels:

 For more information on penalties, including how penalties are applied when multiple breaches have occurred.